Editor’s note: Welcome back to Capitol Retort, our weekly review of issues in state and national news, with a rotating cast of local characters. Answers have been edited for length and clarity but not unity. Any instances of agreement are accidental.
Question 1: Michele Bachmann has joined an advisory group to the Trump campaign. What advice should she give Donald Trump?
Rep. Greg Davids, R-Preston: That he should calm down and stick to the issues. If he sticks to the conservative platform, he wins. If he goes off in various directions as he has recently, it’s gonna be a lot tougher. He’s got to get to the issues. I know his antics have gotten him this far, but now the game has changed.
Annette Meeks, founder and CEO, Freedom Foundation of Minnesota: When you’re in a hole, stop digging. This is the real deal. They still have, what, 70-some-odd employees, to Hillary’s 700? They have no money. This is beyond amateur hour. This is not even a congressional race. I bet [U.S. Rep.] Erik Paulsen has more money or cash-on-hand than Donald Trump right now.
Javier Morillo, president, SEIU Local 26, and Democratic Party superdelegate: It’s an existential dilemma. If I had to point to one person worse than Donald Trump to take advice from, it’s Michele Bachmann. She should advise him to do what would work for her, then only run in the 6th District of Minnesota. He is looking like such a disaster right now that it’s actually giving this talk about them finding a different candidate some legs.
Robyne Robinson, arts and culture director, Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport Foundation, former Fox 9 anchor: Is this an Onion headline? I think The Donald has a lock on racist misogyny and fascism. No help needed there. Maybe blinking reflexes?
Question 2: Valeria Silva is getting $787,000 to leave her job as St. Paul school superintendent. What would be your price to make an abrupt change?
Robinson: It depends if the change is for sanity, satisfaction or success. I don’t know if there is a price for any of those. A buyout just makes the transition easier, but there’s no price for a change if you have those three things.
Davids: If I was offered that sum of money to leave the Legislature, I wouldn’t. I enjoy what I do too much. If I were a taxpayer in St. Paul, I would be quite alarmed by this action of the school board. It seems quite outrageous, but it’s a local issue and they’ll have to figure it out.
Meeks: I’ve never had a government job where anybody would offer me that kind of money. That’s outrageous. It should be a crime. Sorry—that stuff makes me kind of sick. That’s all taxpayer money. It’s not a Republican issue. It’s not a Democrat issue. That’s just wrong.
Morillo: I find the whole episode incredibly depressing. The debate over education in St. Paul has been very high pitched, deeply problematic racially. The words people use to describe St. Paul kids — “unruly” and “wild.” There are wildly false assertions made, for example that the racial equity plan meant no kids of color were being suspended. The achievement gap is not an abstract concept. Those are our children. Adults can’t seem to get it together to address a booming crisis for the state. Because those kids are going to grow up and not be job-ready.
Question 3: Columbia Heights beat out Woodbury to be named a top 10 All America City. Which suburb or small city would you like to give an award to?
Davids: That is all wrong. The award should be given to cities in District 28B. They’re in God’s Country.
Meeks: I would give it to Walker, Minnesota — my favorite place to be, all summer long. No matter what the weather or time, all you need is a book or a chair, stare out at the lake, and your body starts to relax instantly.
Morillo: Mendota Heights — their liquor stores are open till 10. I don’t really know Columbia Heights, but given what I know about Woodbury, I’m confident they’re right.
Robinson: It won’t be small in the next five to 10 years, but I love Rochester. It’s always a treat to drive there on a sunny summer day, catch the street fairs on the Mayo Peace Plaza, the incredible Rochester Art Center, Max’s Diner, the city’s growing restaurant scene. A more relaxed pace.
Question 4: If you ignore the Lynx, some say, Cleveland’s NBA title gives Minnesota the longest championship-drought among places with teams in the four “major sports.” Can we cope?
Meeks: We’re finally Number One! That’s the only way we can possibly look at it. Otherwise, it’s so depressing. It’s like my “half-empty” husband on the solstice — “Well, that’s it, the days are getting shorter now.”
Davids: What they’re saying is totally false. Because we do have a major sports franchise, the Minnesota Lynx, that has won several world championships and are undefeated up to this point. We’ve been winning world championships right and left. And I do count them as a major sports franchise.
Morillo: WHY IN GOD’S NAME WOULD YOU IGNORE THE LYNX? We’re like, “Minnesota sucks at sports.” Yeah — except them. Screw those sports. This is the most awesome sport in the world — women’s basketball. That’s my Title IX rant.
Robinson: I’m going back to the way you phrased that — “Ignore the Lynx.” Yes, that’s what’s been happening for years. Champions, treated like non-testosterone oddities. Why is it that women’s sports aren’t given the same respect by governing sports bodies, sports organizations, or the media? Hasn’t women’s professional sports always been coping? Everyone, including the other four major-sports teams (i.e., male), can cope a little bit longer. In the meantime, support the champs you have.
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