Not merely content with being the man who revived Allen Quist's political career, retiring state senator and failed congressional candidate Mike Parry remains at the center of attention in Senate District 24 newspapers.
Parry had bashed his hometown of Waseca in an earlier two-part retrospective in the Huckle Media chain--you would think that he'd served as long as former Senate Minority Leader Dick Day rather than a term and a half with that sort of send off--and so Mayor Roy Srp rises to defend the pleasant small town on Highway 14 with a head tap to the retiring lawmaker.
In Mayor refutes senator's comments about Waseca, Roy Srp writes:
In response to the Owatonna People’s Press article, “Parry proud of the work he did for Steele County,” I find it difficult to understand how Sen. Parry could hold, let alone express, such a poor opinion of his community.
As mayor of Waseca for nearly eight years, I must respond and defend our community. It is a pleasure to let folks know that Waseca City Staff and City Council work hard to address the needs of our community. When citizens wish to speak to a council member, many times they simply walk across the street or talk over the backyard fence. In Waseca, all seven of us live and work in Waseca. There is no need to travel to St. Paul or Washington, D.C., to see your local representative.
Despite the fact that the state of Minnesota has cut local government aid to Waseca by more than 1.7 million dollars since 2008, the staff and council have kept city taxes flat. Our levy has not increased in the last five years. This is because again, we too, live in this community and see citizens every day and know the daily struggles they endure. Waseca continues to learn to live within its means. We have evaluated city services and implemented service reductions that hopefully have the least negative impact on our citizens’ quality of life. The lights go on when the switch is flipped, the toilets flush, and the police and fire personnel continue to protect and serve, heroically, I might add.
In particular, Mayor Srp objects to Parry's proposal to eliminate the town's police department (and apparently, so do Waseca's citizens):
We have been told by our citizens that public safety is a top priority and that the Waseca Police Department is essential to the safety and wellbeing of our community.
This year the police will respond to over 8,000 calls for service, these will include public nuisances, assaults, traffic drug and alcohol enforcement, criminal damage, accident investigation, burglaries, thefts, and near drownings. So to answer Sen. Parry’s question, “Do we need a Police Department in Waseca?” Does he need a Police Department in Waseca? Absolutely!
The good citizens of Waseca will soon elect a new senator. Be she/he a Republican, Democrat, or independent, left right or middle, is not as important as a fair and impartial representative. Waseca will accept and work with the person the people choose just as we always have.
But in covering that race, the zombiemasters at Huckle Media can't resist keeping Parry in the barn and tossing him a few headlines, like chickens, to keep him going. In GOP senator, senate candidate talk about District 24's wide demographic, OPP staff writer Derek Sullivan reports:
OWATONNA — In his almost three years of representing Steele, Rice and Waseca counties, state Sen. Mike Parry has noticed some differences between the three counties.
Parry decided against running for re-election, and, instead, campaigned for the GOP nomination to take on incumbent U.S. Congressman Tim Walz (DFL-Minn.) in First Congressional District. Parry lost to Allen Quist (R-St. Peter) by 8 percentage points on Aug. 14.
Vicki Jensen (DFL-Owatonna) and Vern Swedin (R-Owatonna) are running for the open Senate seat for newly-created District 24. The district is very similar to the current District 26, which is represented by Parry (R-Waseca).
Parry was elected to the state Senate in January 2010, replacing the retired Dick Day (R-Owatonna) in District 26, which, at the time, covered Steele County and part of Rice County and Waseca County. Eleven months later, he won a general election against Alex DeMarco (54 percent to 46). While campaigning for office and representing the counties of Rice, Steele and Waseca, he noticed some district differences.
He said Owatonna has strong entrepreneurial leadership and a conservative base. Faribault, with state schools and the Minnesota Correctional Facility, is more of, “a union town,” Parry said.
When results of the special election to replace Day came in on Jan. 26, 2010, Rice County supported Faribault resident and DFL candidate Jason John Engbrecht (47 percent) over Parry (46 percent) and Independent candidate Roy Srp (7 percent). Parry (46 percent) easily defeated Engbrecht (35 percent) in Steele County.
Steele County also supported Parry in the 2010 general election and 2012 Minnesota GOP primary.
“Because of Owatonna’s location and businesses and larger tax base, it can go out and get businesses like Cabela’s,” Parry said. “Owatonna has a lot of movers and shakers. They have great people in great positions helping to keep the city involved.”
Finally, on the ninth paragraph of the story, Sullivan gets to the candidates actually running for office this year, one of whom presumably will actually serve a full four-year term, unlike Parry. Jensen gets eight of the sixteen remaining paragraphs, while Swedin rates six (two of which are about Mike Parry), with two general paragraphs thrown in the mix.
Perhaps this sort of reporting is why voters ask Jensen if she's running against Parry--and that she has their support.
It's hard to say what's animating this coverage, but Bluestem hopes none of the other area papers get bit by this--and reserve their coverage for actual live candidacies.
Photo: Zombie Mike Parry. Better hair.