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Jun 18, 2013

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Debra Hogenson

I have always maintained that there were, in reality, only five override GOP heroes. Certianly, only five were punished. Rep. Hamilton was rewarded. I also believe his vote was preapproved by Rep. Seifert.

Why do I believe this?
1. Rep. Hamilton was the 6th of 5 votes needed.
2. He was the only one who chose which committee chair position he would lose / give up.
3. He was not subjected to any further challenges or discipline. In fact, he was promoted by his caucus in the next legislative session.

It is important to know that Hamilton knew of the pending promotion when the legislative session ended. Anticipating labor support after the override vote, Rep. Hamilton screened for endorsement by the SW Labor Council a few weeks after the end of the session. In his interview he told the council that he was being promoted to a leadership position within his caucus. Dale Moerke, the labor council chair, later wrote a letter to Daily Globe referring to Hamilton’s comments to the council.

I strongly believe that Rep. Hamilton had Leader Seifert’s permission to vote for the override. Rep. Hamiton had a very close election in 2004. His 2006 election was even closer. He was clearly not safe. After the override vote, and the Hwy 60 deal cut with Speaker Kelliher, he was clearly safe. Seifert could not afford to lose Hamilton’s district if the GOP wanted to gain a majority of seats in the house.

I strongly suspect that if one of the other five GOP legislators who voted their conscience had changed their vote, Rep. Hamilton would not have voted to override.

There were five brave Republicans who stood up and did what was right for Minnesota in 2007. There was also one opportunist.

Deb Hogenson

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    Sorensen, editor and proprietor of Bluestem Prairie, serves clients in the business and nonprofit sectors. While progressive in outlook, she does not caucus with any political party.

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