NEW ULM - The Brown County Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party held its convention Sunday in New Ulm.
The event selected the Brown County delegates to advance on to the DFL district convention and narrowed down the party platform suggestions to be submitted to the state party.
New Challenger for Senate
A challenger emerged for the new Senate District 16, which covers Brown, Redwood, Yellow Medicine and Lac Qui Parle counties. Republican Sen. Gary Dahms, of Redwood Falls, is the incumbent of the district.
The challenger is former state representative Ted Suss, of rural Redwood County. He served in the Minnesota Legislature from 1975 to 1978. He is superintendent of the Wabasso Public Schools District ISD 640.
He said the key policy issues he will push are tax reform to make it fairer for middle-income families, affordability of post-secondary education and improving transportation infrastructure.
Staff photo by Josh Moniz
Former Minnesota Rep. Ted Suss spoke about his planned run for the Minnesota Senate District 16 on Sunday at the Brown County DFL Convention in New Ulm.
Suss also took the offensive against Dahms, charging him with damaging funding for Minnesota schools by supporting funding shifts to balance the budget.
"[The Legislature] borrowed money from schools like Jesse James borrowed from banks," said Suss.
Suss has not officially declared his candidacy, but he plans to announce it by Tuesday.
U.S. Rep. Walz was the other focus at the convention, stumping for his upcoming congressional relection campaign for Minnesota's 1st District.
Walz, who is completing his third term, told DFL supporters in attendance that he was optimistic about the upcoming election. He said that he believed people were beginning to recognize efforts by Democrats as beneficial, and he argued that extremist voices in Congress had worn themselves out.
After speaking, Walz answered some questions.
He talked about the STOCK Act bill, which he has been shepherding through Congress for years, and his frustration with the slow pace of reconciling the House an Senate versions of the bill. The bill bans insider trading by congressional and executive branch members by forbidding them from using non-public information they learn in committees in the stock market.
"We're trying to reach a compromise. I keep telling my colleagues, 'Lord help each of us, if we go back home without passing something as simple as holding us accountable,'" said Walz, "The hope is to get it passed this month."
He believes the House version of the bill, which excludes regulation of political intelligence firms, will be the final version to pass. Political intelligence firms are organizations that gather non-public information from lawmakers and sell the information to investment organizations. Walz's original bill carried measures regulating these firms.
Walz also spoke about his new boundaries of the 1st congressional district, which he said would likely have minimal impact on the November election. He said the campaign would just require him getting to know new constituents.
The convention whittled down the group of Brown County delegates to those who will participate in the district and state DFL conventions.
The delegates selected were Andrea Brummund of Sleepy Eye, Mary Lou Bonnifield,of New Ulm, Darrell Hinsman of New Ulm and Doug Howard of New Ulm. Alternative delegates selected were Matt Berger of New Ulm, Charles Mitchell of New Ulm, Mary Kluge of New Ulm and Mary Jean Hinsman of New Ulm.
Besides delegates, the convention elected Sellner as Brown County Chair, Darrell Hinsman as associate chair, Kluge as secretary, May Polta was treasurer and Ellen Olson as affirmative action officer.
The delegates also voted on which platform proposal suggestions from the caucuses would be submitted to the state party. The final list to be submitted will be available later this month.
Brown County Republicans will host their convention next weekend.
(Josh Moniz can be e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org)