A year ago, Tarryl Clark was a leader of the DFL-controlled state Senate. Only a few months ago, she was involved in one of the most expensive congressional races in the nation’s history.
Today, Clark announced that she will join the BlueGreen Alliance, spearheading a nine-state campaign called “Jobs21!”
“We need to focus on making Minnesota and America competitive in the 21st Century and rebuilding and revitalizing the middle class,” Clark said in a statement. ” ‘Jobs21!’ is about creating good jobs while protecting our environment for our children and grandchildren.”
In a telephone interview, Clark, who was a rising star in the DFL until running into Republican Michele Bachmann, was reluctant to talk about her future political plans.
“That’s a separate conversation,” Clark said frequently.
Are there campaign funds remaining from her unsuccessful bid to defeat Bachmann?
“A separate conversation,” she said.
Clark did say that in the wake of her loss to Bachmann, she took a deep breath and allowed herself to enjoy the holidays with her family.
And she did compare the days after her November loss to the feelings she had at the conclusion of long, hard-fought state legislative sessions where DFL goals typically were blocked by Gov. Tim Pawlenty.
“It was like a long, hard session,” she said of the campaign against Bachmann. “It’s like a high-speed train running into the side of a mountain. But you get up and walk away.”
This job, like the organization, is filled with big-picture stuff, but it’s difficult to pin down specifics. It will promote public and private investment in clean energy, manufacturing, transportation and high-speed Internet.
The BlueGreen Alliance, formed in 2006, is a coalition of labor unions and environmental organizations, initially begun by the Steelworkers and the Sierra Club. The organization, which is based in Minneapolis, now includes 10 unions and four environmental groups.
Unions and environmental groups, of course, make up a core base of the Democratic Party.
But again Clark refused to say that this position helps set the stage for any future political campaigns.
“There are many ways to do public service,” she said, adding that she sees this position as a public service job that uses her skills as “a coalition builder.”
Her job, she said, will be “to bring people together” around the creation of green jobs and “forward-looking” jobs.
“My focus will be on what we can do now. We’ve lost a lot of jobs,” she said. “We need to refocus our energies, no pun intended. Why on earth, for example, would our country want China moving ahead of us on things like good, clean energy.”
She said she’ll work with people in the private and public sectors about “doing business differently” when it comes to everything from job training to the use of energy.
The “Jobs21!” campaign will be unveiled in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Virginia and California.
Clark will work with former Michigan Democratic Congressman Mark Schauer in leading the campaign.
Doug Grow writes about public affairs, state politics and other topics. He can be reached at dgrow [at] minnpost [dot] com.