When Bluestem last checked in on Senator Mike Parry, in the post Tales of Hoffman: Scenes from the ideological struggle in Fergus Fall, Minnesota, the financially struggling pol had joined a rally organized by Gretchen Hoffman or the local Republican Party, depending upon which day you read about it.
Once in Fergus, Parry tweeted that he was listening to a former lawman speaking at a Tea Party rally.
This followed Parry's announcement, documented in Suddenly socialist Mike Parry demands pay according to his needs, in which Parry noted that his needs required that he get paid more as a state senator. The pizza place owner and marketing consultant revealed no shame in echoing Marx's maxim of "to each according to their needs..." though we didn't hear much about that ability part.
Now, in his emotional hardcore desperation, Parry has called for the resignation of Governor Mark Dayton. In Parry's view, Dayton is disqualified for office because he doesn't have feelings but does have a trust fund.
Parry shared his feelings with veteran Mankato Free Press political reporter Mark Fischenich for the report, GOP rhetoric on Dayton varies. Fischenich writes:
“The guy should resign,” said Parry, a Republican business-owner serving his second year in the Senate. “He should resign as governor and let (Lt. Gov.) Yvonne Prettner Solon finish out his term because he’s shown to me that he doesn’t care about the state of Minnesota.”
Parry said Dayton is willing to use state workers as political pawns in budget negotiations because he simply doesn’t care about them.
“Let me tell you, the governor has no feelings,” Parry said. “If he did, he would not put 22,000 people out of work on July 1. He has no feelings. ... The shutdown doesn’t bother him at all. He gets his trust fund.” . . .
Fischenich didn't fact check the situation to determine whether or not Governor Dayton does, in fact, possess feelings, but the reporter can hardly be faulted for that. Working independently, Bluestem was unable to determine if Lt. Gov. Yvonne Prettner Solon would show more emotion if she replaced him in office.
Income during the shutdown? Dayton is refusing his paycheck, the Free Press reported in earlier in June. Parry? Good question, but not one Bluestem can answer via online sources or databases like Nexis. At the St. Cloud Times, Mark Sommerhauser notes that 14 of 66 members of the Minnesota senate have "opted not to receive their July paychecks" in Despite shutdown, many lawmakers take checks; the paper only mentions the decisions by local representatives in the Granite City.
Class envy, local sympathy
Dayton's "trust fund" provokes an enormous amount of class envy in the bosom of the sophomore state senator for Parry to want to force Dayton to join the ranks of the unemployed as a consequence of Not Being Emotional Enough.
Back in June, Parry's public bewailing of his own reduced financial straits drew ginormous sympathy from his constituents, if the letters that appeared in area newspapers are an adequate index of their sentiment. Robert D. Hunter wrote to the editors of the Waseca County News that Parry wrong to take per diem:
Senator Mike Parry has chosen to take the maximum per diem of $12,040 in addition to his salary of 31,140, for a total compensation of $43,180. He said, “This is for the session, my job. I have no other job at this point in time.” He also said , “I would suggest that the per diem go away, but that we come with a salary that would match the needs of the person coming up here.”
The best that can be said for Senator Parry’s comments is that his timing is abysmal. While many Minnesotans are wondering how to survive the cuts and increased property taxes that will come if the Republican budget becomes law and the thousands more who are wondering how to deal with a government shutdown which could last months, Mr. Parry wants to talk about his part time salary and expense allowance of $43,000 and his needs. This certainly raises questions about the sincerity of his talk about the state living within its means, distinguishing between “needs” and “wants” not to mention “shared sacrifice.” . . .
And in Owatonna, Dale Faribanks sent An open letter to Sen. Mike Parry, via the editors of the People's Press:
Sen. Parry, I recently read in the paper that you drew your full per diem since you are being underpaid for your services. I am confused. Did you not know what you were getting involved in when you started your initial election campaign?
I find it particularly interesting that your original platform stated that you wanted to cut everything in the budget 15 percent across the board. Seems that everything did not include legislative salaries and benefits. You state that you were otherwise unemployed. If memory serves me, you own a restaurant in Waseca. I am not sure as an owner of a food chain enterprise that you would be considered unemployed in the eyes of the Minnesota Unemployment Office.
I would have to ask how long you would keep an employee who indicated that he was only being paid 80 percent of what he was worth, so he was going to make up the difference by taking packages of food home. . . .
And it wasn't just constituents piling on with the hugs. In the Mankato Free Press, Nancy M. Fitzsimons writes that Public pay appears to be fine for GOP legislators:
. . .Sen. Mike Parry, R-Waseca, must think he is of great value as he has no qualms in taking the maximum amount of per diem. After all, he is “doing the work of the people.”
Republican senators advocate cutting the salary and benefits of public sector employees, yet Parry suggests that the salary of legislators should “match the needs of the person coming up here. You can get too low (and) people can’t afford to come up here unless they have deep pockets.” Does the same not apply to the salary and benefits for public university faculty such as me and other public employees?
If compensation is not competitive, the state will not be able to attract and retain high quality faculty and other public servants. Does this resonate with Republican legislators? They seem most concerned about the wealthiest Minnesotans, with a myopic focus on the needs of the private, for-profit sector. This should come as no surprise.
Using state legislators’ public profiles on the legislative website, roughly 43 percent of senators and 53 percent of representatives are self-employed/business owners/consultants, with an overwhelming majority working in the private for-profit sector. Conflict of interest? You be the judge.
Images: Parry tweeting from Senator Hoffman's rally or whatever (above); Parry getting a grip on things (middle); The Strib's Kyndell Harkness caught this image (below) which totally proves Parry's contention that Dayton has no feelings, and doubtless Parry thought the statement Dayton was giving proved it too .