According to 2011 American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) documents released by Common Cause, Representative Paul Torkelson (R-Hanska) was/is a member of the corporate bill factory's Energy, Environment and Agriculture Task Force.
In today's New Ulm Journal, Fritz Busch reports in Brown County Republicans endorse Torkelson:
Torkelson said he's baffled how long it is taking to decide the Polymet mining issue in northern Minnesota. "The permit process began in 2004. It's been 10 years and we still can't move it forward. Government should run at the speed of business. Instead, government gets in the way. I think it's time to take steps about this."
Bluestem thinks that ten years is a drop in the bucket for a company that was established in 1981 but which admits in its SEC FORM 20-F filing for 2013:
While we were incorporated in 1981, we have no history of producing minerals. We have not developed or operated any mines, and we have no operating history upon which an evaluation of our future success or failure can be made.
If Torkelson seeks legislative relief for the oppressed novices at Polymet, let's hope he doesn't make an easy for an ALEC model bill like the Performance Based Permitting Act, which provides "an expedited process for permit approval for a period of five years."
Indeed, given Polymet's lack of mining activity anywhere, its refusal to clarify its financial relationship with Glencore Xstrata (with its awful global record) and BP Gulf of Mexico disaster Tony Hayward's interim chairman role at Glencore, you'd think that Torkelsn might be asking for all due diligence given the standards laid out in the model bill. After all, a note at the bottom of the page at the ALEC web page for the model bill lists it as part of the portfolio of the Energy, Environment, and Agriculture Task Force.
Misquote or peculiar reason to support Seifert?
The New Ulm Journal also reports that Torkelson is supporting former Minnesota House Minority Leader Marty Seifert's bid for governor for a peculiar reason:
Torkelson earlier spoke in support of Clements native Marty Seifert for Minnesota governor. "He should have real strong, local support. He's a good, strong conservative. The smartest guy I know in Minnesota government," Torkelson said. "He's got lots of recent private sector experience, raising money for the Southwest State University Foundation the past few years."
We have to wonder if this is a misquote, if Torkelson mis-spoke in the heat of the moment or if he simply has no idea what he's talking about.
According to the bio on Seifert's campaign website:
In 2010, Seifert retired from the House of Representatives after fourteen years. He obtained his real estate license and has chiefly been a buyer's agent for Real Estate Retrievers in Marshall. Seifert was also hired in 2010 to be Executive Director of the Avera Marshall Foundation. In his role, he built a successful Grateful Patient Program for this regional hospital, a Grateful Family Program for the Morningside Heights Care Center, oversaw an employee giving campaign, increased attendance at events and successfully raised millions of dollars for the new Avera Cancer Institute Marshall, which conducted its groundbreaking in October 2013.
That's not the Southwest State University Foundation, or as it's commonly known, the Southwest Minnesota State University Foundation. Nor is Seifert on the board of the non-profit that raises money for the non-profit created solely to support the MNSCU public university.
The Avera Marshall Foundation is a private nonprofit whose work itself can not be disparaged. However, Bluestem finds it curious that Seifert and his followers can tout working for a non-profit as private sector experience, but conservative bloggers have been know to chastize DFLers like Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges, who worked for non-profits, as having no private sector experience.
Photo: Rep. Paul Torkelson (R-Hanska), his family, and their loyal dog, via Paul Torkelson for MN State Representative Facebook page.
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