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: Donald Trump invited Russian hackers to find missing Hillary Clinton emails. What would you like to get Russian help with?
Robyne Robinson, arts and culture director, Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport Foundation, former Fox 9 anchor: I wish I could think this was funny, but I don’t. Trump inviting a foreign country to commit espionage on a former secretary of state is disturbing. He is unworthy to lead our country.
Rep. Greg Davids, R-Preston: I’d like the Russians to help me with world peace. If they can find the emails, wonderful. They’re out there. Anybody can do it. She exposed top-secret emails to everybody. She put our national security at risk. And if Vladimir Putin can convince Gov. Dayton to call a special session, I’ll take any help I can get.
Abou Amara, public policy director, Neighborhoods Organizing for Change: Asking the Russian government hackers for help? No thanks.
Question 2: How will the historic nature of Hillary Clinton’s candidacy play with Minnesota voters?
Robinson: Minnesota isn’t monolithic. For some, it’s a historic, momentous occasion that we’ve gone from suffrage to a woman nominee for president from a major party in less than 100 years. For others, it’s a fight to stop her. And there are those who didn’t get the candidate of their choice and would surprisingly burn the house down rather than accept that democracy means loss, conciliation and unity. We’ll have to wait and see on Election Day.
Davids: Most people care more about where you stand on the issues rather than what your gender happens to be. She did not play well in Minnesota during the caucuses. Bernie Sanders won quite decisively. Trump will be very competitive in Minnesota. Because she is the candidate, Minnesota is in play for Republicans.
Amara: We are a state that values competence, humility and carrying oneself with dignity, despite setbacks. There are mistakes Hillary has made, undoubtedly. That comes with any 35-year career. But she is competent and carries herself with dignity. Minnesotans will find pride in [Clinton’s candidacy and she’ll carry] our 10 electoral votes in November.
Question 3: If you announced our delegation’s votes at a national convention, what about the Great State of Minnesota would you highlight?
Robinson: ”From the Great State of Minnesota … the Star of the North … home to Muriel Buck Humphrey, first spouse of a former vice president to serve in Congress and first woman to represent Minnesota in the U.S. Senate … Coya Knutson, first woman from Minnesota to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives … Nellie Stone Johnson, first African-American woman elected to citywide office in Minneapolis and founder of the great Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party … Sharon Sayles Belton, first woman mayor of Minneapolis … and our brightest star from Minnesota, Sen. Amy Klobuchar … Mr. Secretary, Minnesota casts its votes for the first woman president of the United States of America, Hillary Rodham Clinton.”
Davids: I would say, “Minnesota, the great state of 10,000 lakes and of more golf course holes per capita than any state in the nation, I cast all of my votes for the next president of the United States, Donald Trump.” [The golf course holes] are used less during the year because you can’t use them that often. And actually we have 15,000 lakes of an acre or more. But 10,000 sounds good. It’s a beautiful state and, you heard it here first, Donald Trump is going to win, and he takes Minnesota — the first time Minnesota’s been taken by Republicans since Richard Nixon in 1972.
Amara: I’d focus on the intersection of Hubert H. Humphrey’s 1948 speech to the Democratic National Convention and the role Minnesota leaders have played in pushing for equality. Then-Mayor Humphrey told delegates, “Yes, this is far more than a party matter. Every citizen in this country has a stake in the emergence of the United States as a leader in the free world. That world is being challenged by the world of slavery. For us to play our part effectively, we must be in a morally sound position.” This push was around civil rights for African-Americans. But more broadly, it was about removing barriers for all, including women. Nominating Hillary will allow Democrats to say we are closer to living up to our creed of equality by showing that gender is not a barrier to becoming our national leader.