First, he seems to be a fan of this blog. When questions about figures he was throwing on an expanded sales tax, the district resident claims in an email:
He said don't hold me to these numbers -- oh well whatever [he says] tonight will be on Bluestem Prairie tomorrow.
Why wait for morning?
The constituent found that entertaining, but was much more disturbed by Parry's desire for senate meetings to be conducted with the secrecy accorded the plan to take out Osama bin Laden:
He talked about how he like many leaders is getting lots of calls from press and others about what happened last night (raid and killing of [O]sama bin Laden). ... [He] wanted to caution his [W]aseca audience to stay vigilent [sic]. Then he alluded to the secrecy around that raid. He referenced the open meetings law and suggested the secrecy around the military raid should also apply to state government meetings. . . .
The reader was "stunned" by these remarks.
Whatever else one might say about the Government Reform and Veterans Committee that Parry chairs, it's not in the business of taking out terrorists in suburban compounds in Pakistan. Does the Waseca senator want the same level of security when he meets with his pals at Accenture for those independent fiscal notes?
The write-up on this town hall in the Waseca County News should be worth reading, and I'm curious if the reporter will interpret the remarks in the same way as the constituent did. Update 5/3: Here it is.
Update #2 5/3 early evening: Another reader writes:
I attended the town meeting last night. I am no fan of Mike Parry. I have talked with two other DFLers who attended last night. He doesn't like Bluestem Prairie (a great point in your favor). We three agree that the interpretation that your source put on Mike's comments about secrecy are probably a bit far fetched. His comments at that point were disjointed, like he lost his train of thought.
So, what was Mike Parry trying to tell his constitutents? Other than his clear dislike of Bluestem Prairie? [end update]
Update 5/3 8:30 a.m.: I'm willing to bet that Parry's remarks are related to a bill heard in his committee to provide bodyguards to state legislators. An AP item in the Winona Daily News, Bill could assign bodyguards to more Minnesota leaders:
The bill would direct state public safety officials to provide temporary security to Minnesota Supreme Court justices, legislators or statewide officeholders if credible threats arise. Currently, the State Patrol has a full-time security detail for the governor.
The bill was on Monday's agenda for the Senate Committee on State Government Innovation and Veterans.
The measure is part of a push for stepped-up awareness about Capitol security issues. The bill creates a task force that would provide an annual assessment about security and recommendations for upgrades. The task force would be permitted to meet in private, which has already drawn concern from those who promote government transparency. [emphasis added]
I share the transparency concerns. It's bad enough getting fiscal notes prepared off-turf by corporations; closing the doors of a government meeting isn't a step in the right direction.
The headline for this post was changed to reflect the probability that Parry was talking about the task force meetings rather than senate business.
Photo: Senator Mike Parry.