Buried in Star Tribune political columnist Lori Sturdevant's Friday evening online lament, Minnesota's legislative session opens on an urban-rural divide; In this battle, symbolism is as important as the policies being produced, we paused at this passage:
Rural resentments are easily stoked for political purposes these days, it seems. Environmental protection policies have become a rural-urban wedge issue as sharp as social issues have been in previous years. I asked Sen. Julie Rosen, R-Fairmont, to explain why.
“There’s been a lack of understanding about agriculture here. There [have] been some radical decisions made — buffer strips are a prime example,” Rosen said. . . .
“The gap keeps getting wider between metro and rural,” Rosen said. She vowed to be a fighter for her district’s dominant industry, agriculture. The times require as much, she said.
But the four-termer added a wistful note about the rising regionalism at the Legislature. “We never talk about what’s best for the whole state anymore,” she sighed.
First, there's a factual error in the first paragraph we cite: Rosen's official place of residence isn't Fairmont, but rather Vernon Center. As we reported in our March 11, 2014 post, Senator Julie Rosen joins tiny house movement:
Small towns being what they are, the curious constituents soon learned that Rosen had not moved into urban Vernon Center, where a bad smelling CAFO hog barn might have made her feel right at home, but to the sylvan lawns of Firefly Lane, east of town.
What's remarkable to her faithful constituents is that the six term legislator, who spends the session living in a modest 5,784 square foot pied-à-terre on the banks of the Mississippi River in Mendota, has joined the small house movement.
Her new home is a lovely 816 square foot four-room cottage on the William and Michele Negaard homestead. While the photo in the Beacon Blue Earth County database looks very rustic, the home is described as comfortable and beautifully furnished by the legislative architect of the Viking stadium.
Martin County property records available via Beacon reveal that Senator Rosen sold her home in Fairmont in January 2014 to her ex-husband, businessman Tom Rosen. Here's one of photos of the Fairmont property that's viewable to the public:
in February 2014, Mr. Rosen sold the property to a third party, no doubt prompting the Senator's move to the sylvan fields of rural Vernon Center
A source in the area confirms that local residents continue to believe that the rental property pictured below is the official Rosen residence:
As we noted in Can Julie Rosen save CD2 for the Republicans? back in September, Rosen:
. . . .built a second home in Mendota in 2011 when she still lived in Fairmont. In 2014, we reported in Senator Julie Rosen joins tiny house movement that the senator had rented a lovely 816 square foot four-room cottage near Vernon Center.
This official residence is a sharp contrast with the modest 5,784 square foot pied-à-terre on the banks of the Mississippi River in Mendota (pictured at the top of the post).
Although divorced from Rosen Diversified ag and meat mogul Tom Rosen, the senator and her wealthy ex remain on cordial terms. More importantly for fundraising, Rosen's aggressive questioning of the value of the now-defunct Citizens Board of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency in a senate rural task force meeting last fall helped set in motion the gutting of one piece of environmental oversight that Big Ag had only dreamt of. Surely, money (and votes in some of the conservative rural parts of the district) could be her reward to collect.
We've also taken a look at records for a Wabasha County property listed on Senator Rosen's EIS. Rosen purchased the 44-acre property for $145,000; the electronic certificate of real estate value records that the planned use for the parcel was for a residential/single family house on the heretofore vacant land. Subsequent records show that the house has yet to be built. the Wabasha County property is the B side in Senate District 21, represented in the legislature by Senator Matt Schmit, DFL-Red Wing and State Representative Steve Drazkowski, R-Mazeppa, in the House.
We're puzzled why Rosen chose to invest in a building site far outside of her district after selling her home in Fairmont. Perhaps she's since bought a place in the Vernon City area.
Whatever the logic of her real estate decisions, we think that Rosen has situated herself in a unique position to "talk about what’s best for the whole state." We can only wonder why she doesn't step up--those balconies in the Mendota micro-mansion have potential for some great Evita moments.
Photos: Rosen's Mendota non-residence in Senate District 52, above; the former official residence until early 2014 in Fairmont (middle); Rosen's alleged residence in District 23 (bottom). All of the photos are from respect county GIS/property
We hope the DFL finds a candidate to run against her and keep her home in Vernon Center and vicinity this summer and fall rather than lollygagging in Dakota County or camping in her woods in Wabasha County.
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