Why aren’t the best and brightest flocking to the Minnesota Legislature?

MinnPost photo by Briana Bierschbach

Both political parties are busily approaching new candidates to seek seats in the Minnesota Legislature for the 2016-2018 legislative session. This is a noble cause. For those of us who care about good public policy, this is an opportunity to recruit Minnesota’s best and brightest to elevate the level of discourse, analysis and decision-making that will guide our great state forward. I’m thankful to all who do this work.

So if you know anyone who has the right stuff, encourage them to run!

HELP WANTED:

Become a member of our dynamic Minnesota House of Representatives team!  

We are seeking candidates with deep professional experience, strong educational background, extensive community ties, impeccable personal ethics and morals, outstanding interpersonal skills, uncommon diplomatic acumen, stellar leadership qualities, deep policy expertise in several different areas, and a highly photogenic family.  Come associate your good name with an organization that has the approval of  a historically low 17 percent of your friends and neighbors.

Candidates must be willing to work round the clock, seven days per week, surrounded by often manipulative, self-serving colleagues and associates, many masquerading as friends.  Even the most talented employees should be expected to remain largely silent and powerless for several years, due to seniority rules that ensure that major decisions are shaped by senior committee chairs and caucus leaders from gerrymandered-safe legislative seats.

Employees will be constantly criticized by news reporters, snarky bloggers and anonymous Tweeters, often based on inaccurate or incomplete information. Employees shouldn’t be surprised if they are audited, scrutinized and prosecuted for partisan purposes.

Even the most highly accomplished employees will be automatically fired every two years. However, employees willing to work round the clock may earn rehiring,  following thousands of job interviews conducted by hostile and lightly informed interrogators who are often basing their rehiring decision based on just one of the thousands of official decisions the employee has made over the course of their career.

To finance the rehirement attempt, employees will be expected to continually raise large sums of money from friends, relatives, neighbors, strangers and interest groups making shady demands.

The non-negotiable salary for this position is less than the average salary of a sewage worker, $31,141 per year.

I ask you, what thoughtful Minnesota citizesn wouldn’t jump at such an opportunity?

This post was written by Joe Loveland and originally published on Wry Wing Politics.

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Comments (5)

  1. Submitted by Beth-Ann Bloom on 07/16/2015 - 10:09 am.

    Lucky

    Given this perspective we are fortunate that we still get some bright shining stars willing to tackle the state’s challenges with little support from the rest of us. We can show our thanks to the stars by improving the system!

  2. Submitted by Matt Brillhart on 07/16/2015 - 10:51 am.

    Partial solution, or at least an idea – make Senators full-time

    So another, mostly separate issue with the legislature is that we have the largest State Senate body in the country. I have long favored shrinking the size of the Senate from 67 members to 45 (still among the largest in the country). The House would grow by one member, to 135, therefore having 3 house districts within each Senate district instead of the current two (Districts A/B/C instead of A/B).

    How does this have anything to do with the part-time/low pay issue? Well, with fewer Senators on hand, we could afford to pay them full time salaries. It is an option that should seriously be considered. The Senate is too big as it is, and it’s obviously controversial to give large pay increases to part-time members. If the answer is to make Senators full-time, then there has to be some “give” to gain public support.

    P.S. If you wanted to go even further you could shrink the Senate down to 34 full-time members, bumping the House up to 136 (4 House districts per Senate district in this scenario), but that’s obviously a lot more disruptive to the Senate.

  3. Submitted by Ken Wedding on 07/16/2015 - 04:20 pm.

    “best and brightest”?

    In the mid-’60s I spent a lot of time at the capitol as part of a seminar during my senior year in college. As a small town boy, I “recognized” nearly all of the guys in the legislature as those ambitious (rarely talented) small town guys who were successful in sales, Junior Chamber of Commerce, local churches, and community promotion. Some of the guys who had been around for a long time ran the show, and they were hardly the best or the brightest — just the most experienced in rounding up followers.

    The experience (and other political events of the ’60s) convinced me that I wanted no part of politics or governing beyond voting. It seems that little has changed.

    I’ll go Matthew Brillhart one better. Abolish the Senate. Add 67 seats to the House (so districts are much smaller and legislators know and are known to constituents), pay legislators adequately, have the legislature meet every other week, so constituents have more chances to get the ear of the people in office.

  4. Submitted by jason myron on 07/16/2015 - 07:31 pm.

    I think the one idea that Ventura had of merit

    was going unicameral.

  5. Submitted by THOMAS REYNOLDS on 07/17/2015 - 08:34 pm.

    Foolish argument

    First and foremost this is not an open ended employment opportunity. You must be either a Republican or Democrat Party member in good standing. You must also have a significant position on a popular political movement that is either left or right of the general populace. You must be able to garner significant financing with a great campaign chair. You must also have an independent income to support your lifestyle. Then you can apply for the job. All applications will be accepted, however, only those fitting this job description will be able to move forward for a final interview.

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