When politics is at its worst
When the DFL party took control of the state House, Senate and Governor’s office in November, we were interested to see if the politicians would remember what they learned in Kindergarten. But instead of sharing their toys and newfound power, the DFL has largely ignored the Republican Party and the people it represents.
This has been very clear in House District 3A with freshman Rep. Roger Skraba of Ely.
Skraba got in by the skin of his teeth, eking out a 15-vote win that withstood the test of a recount. And he won in the heart of the Iron Range, something once thought impossible.
Due to the recount, Skraba had a late start in St. Paul. But it wasn’t all his fault. The DFL party flexed its muscle before anyone in the House was sworn in. Skraba and fellow recount winner Natalie Zeleznikar, a Republican from Duluth who unseated forever-serving Mary Murphy, were both not allowed to participate in an orientation course for newly elected House officials.
This was Skraba’s first taste of partisan politics but it wouldn’t be his last. We’re not even to the end of the first month of session and the DFL party in power has played “Frozen” on repeat to the Republicans.
Let’s take a look at the second bill passed this session, an extension of unemployment benefits for the 400 laid off workers from Northshore Mining and five more at Dyno Nobel (which includes one from Ely).
For geography’s sake, those of us who learned from Bill Braun in junior high could tell you that Babbitt and Silver Bay, where Northshore has facilities, are in Skraba’s district. Yet on the first day of the session it was DFLer Dave Lislegard putting forth the bill in the House to extend the unemployment checks. Sure, he threw Skraba a crumb and let him be a co-sponsor, but that was the end of the bipartisanship.
When the bill came up in a House committee hearing, Skraba showed up to testify but was told by Lislegard that he wouldn’t be speaking. Nope, this was for DFLers only. Skraba sat behind Lislegard, who if you didn’t know anything about geography, you would’ve thought these were his constituents.
The bill passed the House as well as the Senate with little opposition. Even with the DFL grandstanding, the Republicans, by and large, set aside politics for the good of the unemployed.
We did like the comments from Rep. Pat Garofalo (R-Farmington) who pointed out if the DFL was truly concerned about mine workers they would stop blocking mine projects like Twin Metals and PolyMet. Alas, this was ruled to be out of order or at least out of the DFL’s wheelhouse. Unemployed miners they will help, creating mining jobs is something they’re basically against.
The third strike came in Wednesday afternoon when Gov. Tim Walz rolled out the pomp and circumstance to sign the bill. There was Lislegard and DFL Sen. Grant Hauschild but strangely missed from the photo opp was the State Representative who actually represents the unemployed miners, Roger Skraba. For some reason he wasn’t invited and when the Governor’s office found out Republican Andrea Zupancich was no longer mayor of Babbitt, she was uninvited. Apparently being mayor during a shutdown in the community impacted the most doesn’t hold water. Maybe her run against Hauschild has something to do with it.
So when you hear the calls of “bipartisanship” and “reaching across the aisle” in St. Paul, check the facts, this is ugly politics right now pure and simple.
For some reason we expected there to be civility in St. Paul. Apparently the Golden Rule doesn’t apply under the gold dome.