To paraphrase Franklin Delano Roosevelt, we have nothing to be surprised about but surprise itself.
Bluestem refers to the conventional wisdom about about the support by House Republicans Rod Hamilton (R- Mountain Lake) and Pat Garofalo (R-Farmington) for Chisholm DFL Senator David Tomassoni, who's facing fierce criticism for wanting to represent Range communities and lobby (excuse us: be executive director of the lobby) for them too.
For instance, the ever-excellent Aaron Brown writes in a Minnesota Brown post, Ely pulls out of RAMS until Tomassoni matter resolved:
The only defense of Tomassoni that has been publicly uttered has come, quizzically, from a pair of Republican State House members — Hamilton and Garofalo — whose support appears to be more personal than related to best practices.
If that's a quiz question, it's a softball to those of us in agricultural rural Minnesota who have watched the coalition of Big Ag (Hamilton, who works in a white-collar position for #2 Pork Powerhouse Christensen Farms), Big Energy (Garofalo, one of Minnesota's state ALEC chairs) and Big Mining (Tomassoni) brand rural citizen's concern for clean water, fresh air, clean energy and habitat for pollinators and pheasants as evil, alien, and even worse "metro-centric" environmentalism.
It's a peculiar construct for citizens in places like North Branch and Winona County who have lately elected a mayor and a county commissioner who gained their political training pushing back on the notion that an unregulated frac sand industry is God's own gift to rural economic development. While some members of both parties have dithered on about these concerns as if they are a proxy war for the PolyMet, to local people, they are not.
It's an odd notion for those dirty hippies at Clean Up The River Environment (CURE), headquartered in Montevideo, as it is for the hundreds of local food growers and consumers organizing farmers markets and food hubs across Greater Minnesota--and for those life-long rural residents who treasure local control of zoning and who don't see the permitting process as their enemy when feedlot proposals with large numbers of animal units are put forth.
Friends who frequent the state capitol far more than Bluestem, esconched as we are in our little Alamut on the prairie, tell us that they have watched Tomassoni turn to industry lobbyists in the audience for directions, which is then mouthed to him or or conveyed through hand signals.
We have not witnessed that part of the process personally and so cannot testify to the veracity of the tales.
What we know, however, is that while relationships at the state capitol are so often spun in terms of personality, they are perhaps better judged in terms of the policy they produce.
Read the rest of Brown's Ely pulls out of RAMS until Tomassoni matter resolved at Minnesota Brown.
Photo: Senator David Tomassoni, DFL-Chisholm.
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