While Republicans in Senate District 21 may have unanimously endorsed Steve Drazkowski for his 2012 reelection bid, the rest of the state is far less fawning over the Mazeppa legislator.
What new lurchings of the ALEC Drazombie Bunny brought rotten eggs for the North Star State's Easter basket?
The Star Tribune's lead outdoors writer Dennis Anderson cracked one open in In House, clueless lead clueless on outdoors issues:
Similarly, those who worry that Minnesota is fast becoming a "nanny state'' in which all problems are solved for residents and risks to their welfare eliminated can sleep well knowing that Rep. Steve Drazkowski, R-Mazeppa, has been ever ready this session to ward off any such sissy creep.
Come autumn, you might fancy a stroll with Ol' Fido amid the season's florid aspens and oaks. Or perhaps you ponder following your English setter or Labrador retriever in quest of the wondrous and wily ruffed grouse.
But instead you stay home, fearing the watered-down body-gripping trap regulations the House passed this week might ensnare your pooch in the torturous death grip of a Conibear 220.
Well, man up, you sissy, and head for the woods, your doggie in tow. It's not the Legislature's job to protect Minnesotans and their chicken-livered mutts from concealed killers -- even though Wisconsin, among other states, has managed such protections quite well.
Drazkowski also stands ever alert on behalf of citizens who worry they might have too much public land at their disposal on which to have fun.
There's hardly a public forest that couldn't easily be platted for homes, he seems to believe, or a state park whose trees shouldn't be whacked or a wildlife management area that wouldn't be better suited as a feedlot.
Anderson isn't alone in noticing Drazkowski's due diligence for dunderheads. Writing for the Session Weekly (reprinted in the Twin Cities Daily Planet), Erin Schmidtke reports in House passes Legacy funding:
The bill also includes almost $30 million to buy land, including $14 million for the Mississippi Northwoods Habitat Complex and $13.8 million to pay for Phase IV of the Reinvest in Minnesota/Wetlands Reserve.
All that spending to buy public land didn’t escape the eye of Rep. Steve Drazkowski(R-Mazeppa), who noted that governments already own nearly 8.5 million acres of land in the state.
“The definition of socialism is when the state owns the capital. And we continue to march continually toward putting this government into ownership,” Drazkowski said.
Spoken in the spirit that moved the Draz to attempt to permit logging of black walnut trees in state parks. But there's more: Dennis Lien reports in Minnesota House passes environmental package:
Republican Steve Drazkowski of Mazeppa also failed in an attempt to make all lakes under 40 acres that are surrounded by private land private instead of public waters.
"We are taxing people on this surface area and then telling them what they can't do with it,'' Drazkowski said.
But even many Republicans refused to go along with that approach. "This just screws up the situation terribly,'' said Rep. Tony Cornish, R-Good Thunder.
But Minnesota's great outdoors isn't the only target for ALEC zombie Drazkowski. Students attending MNSCU campuses can also look forward to dodging bricks at their campuses (and driving on rougher roads to get there) if Steve has his way. Rochester Post Bulletin reporter and Tea Party scribe Heather Carlson reports in Prospects for passage of a state bonding bill unclear:
State lawmakers left town Thursday night for a week-long Easter/Passover break without voting on bonding bills, raising questions of whether these public works packages will happen this session.
Rep. Steve Drazkowski, R-Mazeppa, is among lawmakers hoping such a bill won’t pass. While the Legislature traditionally passes bonding bills in the second year of the biennium, Drazkowski said there is no need this time around. He points to lawmakers’ approval of nearly $500 million for construction projects last summer as part of a final budget deal with DFL Gov. Mark Dayton to end the government shutdown. He says that should be enough.
“This isn’t money that just falls down (like) manna from heaven. This is money that is borrowed,” he said.
Others argue that if the Legislature does not pass a bonding bill, it will have failed in one of its key responsibilities — taking care of the state’s infrastructure.
The House bonding bill has been criticized for starving metro area project in favor of greater Minnesota MNSCU campuses, but Draz would shut them all out, as well as those pesky millions for bridge repairs.
Draz also grabs a piece of headlines like In Midwest, GOP shrinks from union battles:
Fifteen months after taking control of Minnesota's Legislature, Republicans have put a gay marriage ban on this November's ballot, moved to expand gun rights and cast dozens of votes to cut state spending. But there's one issue where they failed to get traction: watering down the strength of organized labor with a right-to-work law.
The problem isn't so much opposition from Democrats. And it isn't a lack of enthusiasm for the idea, which many conservatives consider essential for creating a business-friendly economic climate. The problem lies with Republicans who fear triggering a huge rebellion among opposition labor unions and sending a surge of sympathetic voters to the polls in November to vote Democratic.
In Minnesota and elsewhere across the Midwest, the question of what to do about the right-to-work issue is pitting Republican against Republican, straining relationships among longtime allies and weighing cherished ideals against political tactics....
The GOP's tea party flank also tends to favor action. Last weekend, Benson triumphed in a party endorsement battle with fellow Republican Sen. Mike Jungbauer, a right to work skeptic.
For many conservatives, it's a deeply felt goal. When Steve Drazkowski began serving in the Minnesota House in 2007, Democrats had controlled at least one chamber of the Legislature for a full generation. "Four decades, right there," in which they couldn't achieve their policy goals, Drazkowski said.
After Republicans finally won control in 2010, he put right-to-work state at the top of his to-do list.
Actually, Bluestem thinks that the rich west metro businessman's own tea party, The Freedom Club, told the ordinary Tea Partiers to get excited about this one. But that's us.
But nothing stops the Drazombie--and so there's more. In yesterday's Winona Daily News' oped section, Paul Hamernik notes in There’s fraud and there’s fraud ...:
Let me see if I’ve got this right: The Republicans are saying we need picture IDs — like a driver’s license — in order to eliminate the voter fraud that we have in Minnesota.
Yet, Rep Steve Drazkowski states in his April 4 column, “I was talking to a police officer who told me about his discovery of individuals in this state who owned and possessed multiple driver’s licenses in order to pad their pocketbook at the expense of Minnesota taxpayers.”
My question is this: If its that easy to obtain multiple driver’s licenses, why change a voting system that has been in use many years with negligible problems?
True, he wasn’t talking about voter fraud, but welfare fraud — but where does it say in the U.S. Constitution that I need to show a picture in order to vote?
As much as legislators like Steve Drazkowski are a gift to the blogging community, Bluestem finds itself pining for the days when Steve Sviggum filled that seat. Unfortunately, Sviggum has risen--to be the Peter Principle's poster boy in his current role as the Senate Majority's communications chief.
At least residents of Minnesota's First Congressional District can breathe easier. Redistricting placed both of these champions of contemporary conservative cluelessness in the Second. Draz is John Kline's problem now.
Image: White chocolate Draz Zombie bunny, by Tild.