Bluestem spotted this item in the Morning Take,
MARRIAGE: Minnesotans for Marriage released a list of seven former DFL Senators that support the Marriage amendment. LIST: Joe Bertram, Paynesville; Mike Menning, Edgerton; Florian Chmielewski, Sturgeon Lake; Jim Vickerman, Tracy; Carl Kroening, Minneapolis; Gene Waldorf, St. Paul.
We have a great deal of respect for Jim Vickerman, an old school prairie populist, who retired after many years of honorable service. Like old-school Northeast Minneaspolis politician Carl Kroening, who retired in 1996, Vickerman opposed the inclusion of gay and lesbians under the state Human Rights Act in 1993 (Donna Halvorsen, "Legislature votes for gay-rights bill; Margin of approval wider than expected with help of some unanticipated IR votes," Star Tribune, March 19, 1993, Nexis All-News, accessed October 25, 2012).
But the rest of that crew? What is the archbishop paying for? And aren't conservatives against scouring cemeteries for votes? This is a political graveyard, and Bluestem isn't sure that some of them are buried in sacred ground.
Let's work down the list. Joe Bertram left the senate after a scandal. The Paynesville Press reported in Six biggest stories of 1996:
1) The Bertram brothers, Joe and Jeff, were both called before the ethics committee in the Minnesota House and Minnesota Senate.
Prior to Senate Ethic Committee hearings on Jan. 9, Senator Joe Bertram, 41, resigned his District 14 Senate seat. Local residents testified before the Senate Ethics Committee on Jan. 3 concerning shoplifting and alleged bribery charges against Senator Bertram. Senator Bertram pled guilty to reduced charges of shoplifting in Stearns County District Court on Sept. 29 but the Senate Ethics Committee wanted to learn more about the alleged bribe which he had made to Chuck Koshiol, owner of Zapf Leather and Western Wear, Paynesville.
Following his resignation, Governor Arne Carlson set Feb. 6 as a special election to fill Bertram’s seat. A primary election had to be held on Jan. 23 as 10 candidates filed for his seat. Lynn Schurman, DFL, Cold Spring, and Michelle Fischbach, R-Paynesville, emerged as the top two candidates in the primary. On Feb. 12, Fischbach was sworn in as the new District 14 Senator after defeating Schurman 5,800 to 5,457. In the fall general election, the special election was repeated, Schurman and Fischbach ran again with the same results. Fischbach won a full term to the Senate.
After almost a year out of the political scene, Bertram is now working for a California legislator. . . .
Like Vickerman and Kroening, Bertram voted against the inclusion of gay and lesbians under the state Human Rights Act in 1993.
Florian Chmielewski, who also voted against treating LGBTQ people as people? Wikipedia tells us:
In 1996, Chmielewski became embroiled in the "phonegate" scandal. It was revealed that Chmielewski had given family members state long-distance access codes, allowing them to make phone calls at state expense. Chmielewski was ultimately defeated for re-election in 1996, after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor.
Former state senator Becky Lourey defeated Chmielewski in the 1996 primary.
How about the rest? Although former Governor Carlson, a Republican, has taken to endorsing DFLers, he hasn't run under the banner of another party. Not so with this crew.
And Mike Menning? His Wikipedia entry notes that he left the ranks of Democrats in the mid-1980s:
After his service in the legislature concluded, Menning switched political parties, leaving the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party in 1983 to become a member of the Republican Party of Minnesota. In 1986, he campaigned for the Republican endorsement for governor. However, the party’s endorsement eventually went to fellow southwest Minnesota resident Cal Ludeman of Tracy. Menning subsequently threw his support to Ludeman, who lost the November general election to popular incumbent governor Rudy Perpich.
There also seems to be a change of address:
Waldorf? He, too, left the DFL and challenged Collin Peterson in 2010. MinnPost cited a St. Cloud Times report in Gene Waldorf to run as independent and challenge Peterson:
Putting politics aside, Menning eventually left Minnesota, moving to Salt Lake City, Utah with his family, where he served as pastor of the Mountain Springs Community Church for five years, also continuing his work with Friendship Ministries. He also heads Global Partners, Inc., an area charitable organization.
Gene Waldorf represented part of St. Paul in the Legislature from 1977 to 1993, before retiring to Grey Eagle.
Now Waldorf has shed his longtime DFL affiliation — a response, he said Sunday, to the recent actions of Democrats in Congress. . . .
Waldorf considers himself a conservative; he wants to end congressional earmarks and limit federal spending. But Waldorf says he never considered becoming a Republican because they also spent irresponsibly when they controlled Congress.
When former Congressman Tim Penny is brought up, his switch to the Independence Party is reported, as it is part of the record. Ditto with Senator Dean Johnson, who left the Republican Party after being censured by his local BPOU for supporting inclusion of LGBT people in Minnesota's human rights.
So keep digging, M4M, though Bluestem recommends keeping away from Magnus Johnson, who knew his farm implements when he stood on them.
Photo: The Swinging Senator. Okay Then.