Ten DFL candidates for governor are scheduled to discuss American Indian issues at a forum Thursday at Bemidji State University.
The forum is supposed to be nonpartisan, reports the Bemidji Pioneer, but the lack of Republican candidates has some wondering.
The paper says:
Billed as the first-ever, cross-tribal, pre-precinct caucus governor candidate forum on American Indian issues, the forum is sponsored by Native Vote Alliance of Minnesota, American Civil Liberties Union-Minnesota Greater Minnesota Racial Justice Project, Wellstone Action Fund’s Native American Leadership Program and Take Action Minnesota.
Confirmed candidates are Minnesota House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher, Sen. Tom Bakk, former U.S. Sen. Mark Dayton, former House Minority Leader Matt Entenza, Ramsey County Attorney Susan Gaertner, former Sen. Steve Kelley, Sen. John Marty, Rep. Tom Rukavina, Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak and Rep. Paul Thissen.
The lack of Republicans bothers John Carlson, Bemidji campaign coordinator for GOP candidate Rep. Marty Seifert. Calrson said: “It seems a bit disingenuous to claim that a program is non-partisan when only feeble (if any) attempts were made to get representation from all gubernatorial candidates.”
Audrey Thayer, director of the Greater Minnesota Racial Justice Project, a sponsor of the forum, wrote to Carlson:
“My concern is we have also four candidates (that I am aware of) who are Republican that may or may not of been sent letters. I do not have their contacts. Apparently, the Republican Party was sent a letter and was to contact their potential candidates.”
The paper said Thayer noted that some of the organizers of the event “are very young as community organizers and may of not known the process of community organizing for an event such as this.” Her organization “has pushed the issue of being nonpartisan with all those organizations who are working on planning this event.”
It’s easy to find information on candidates from the state Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board, Carlson responded.
“One doesn’t have to know much or look far to find the information if there is a true desire to be non-partisan,” he wrote. “Whomever claimed they didn’t have contact information is either lazy or ignorant and really didn’t want broad representation from the entire political spectrum.”