Wealth, disparity, taxes discussed at DFL caucuses

Baldwin Township DFLers were discussing issues during their Jan. 7 caucus meeting in the Princeton Middle School. From left to right are Robert Freese, Bruce McNickle, Marco Voce, Dylan Howard (in very back), Gerry Clark (next to Howard) and Cindy Dahlstedt. The girl in back is Howard’s daughter Cloey.

The attendance wasn’t large at the Democratic Farmer Labor (DFL) caucuses at the Princeton Middle School on Feb. 7 for precincts, city of Princeton and townships of Princeton, Baldwin, Blue Hill, Greenbush and Bogus Brook.

In fact, no one from Blue Hill showed, and seven DFLers attended from Baldwin. The other DFL precincts at the middle school had 19 attendees, not counting the two teens from the high school who were observing.

Jim Tomsky, the moderator at the Baldwin DFL caucus group, noted that there weren’t many young people at the DFL caucuses in Princeton.

But even though the attendance was small, the discussions were animated. One of the biggest topics was the disparity between the very wealthy and the middle and lower classes, as well as a move by some conservatives to break up unions.

DFL caucusgoer in Princeton Shawn Ulm, who belongs to the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers union Local 292, spoke out in support of unions. “Unions never forget the working class but sometimes the working class has forgotten us,” he said.

Another attendee, Joe Walsh, who said he plans to either run for a seat in the Minnesota House or Senate, said that the proposed Right to Work amendment should really be called “the right to work for less.”

Tomsky, commenting about the move by many Republicans to get rid of a prevailing wage, said after the caucus that without a living wage people aren’t able to own homes and contribute to the economy.

The casting of straw votes for candidates was low key for the DFL this time. The DFL caucus group that included the city and some adjacent townships, cast 13 straw votes for Rick Nolan, three for Tarryl Clark and one vote for Jeff Anderson to be the DFL candidate to run against Eighth District Republican Congressman Chip Cravaack. Cravaack is in his first term in the U.S. House after beating longtime Congressman Jim Oberstar, DFL, from the Iron Range.

The reasons for not much straw polling? The Democrats are behind President Obama as their candidate for the presidency and favor U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar to run for re-election in her spot, noted DFL caucus moderator Tomsky, of Baldwin Township.

Another reason, Tomsky said, is because everyone is waiting for the results of redistricting, which is the redrawing of the boundaries of the state’s congressional districts. Tomsky said a panel of judges is supposed to come out with that decision on Feb. 25.