Politicians are recovering from days of pressing the flesh in 4th of July parades. Here in Otter Tail County we saw a strong presence from the Republican Party and Tom Emmer surrogates. The GOP-endorsed candidate for governor hit parades in person in the metro and southern Minnesota including Forest Lake, Albert Lea, Delano and Chanhassen.
DFL-endorsed Margaret Anderson Kelliher’s campaign shared this photo of her with former fellow governor candidate Rep. Tom Rukavina (DFL-Virginia). “Ruk” is who you want by your side in the Iron Range and that’s where MAK focused her attention around the 4th hitting parades in Nashwauk, Keewatin, Biwabik, and Eveleth.
Like many Minnesotans, my big family hit the road for the holiday. We embarked on an RV trip to Yellowstone National Park. As soon as we crossed from Minnesota to South Dakota we noticed the roads quickly deteriorate. A lack of a shoulder and high winds following a flash flood and tornado helped to send us into the ditch. A kindly farmer pulled us out and refused to take anything for his help. Our packed politically diverse RV passengers noted Minnesota’s higher tax better roads versus South Dakota and Wyoming’s lower tax seemingly poorer roads.
We became very familiar with this image of a “pilot car” through the states to our west. Nearly every time we hit road construction a crew of half of dozen people was responsible for stopping one lane of traffic while a long line of cars pile up so one lane can pass through following the pilot car. It didn’t seem very efficient to us. I know we complain about the summer season of road construction in Minnesota, but I’ve never before had to wait a long time to finally follow a pilot car through one lane of open traffic.
We also noticed the oil pumping away in Wyoming and North Dakota. After years of surpluses the oil, gas and coal rich Wyoming is looking at what we’d consider a small budget shortfall of $32 million. North Dakota enjoyed a budget surplus over a billion dollars as the Williston Basin’s bounty brings in the dough (I started my career as a TV anchor in Williston and wrote about returning there last summer.)