BUSINESS AS USUAL: MINNESOTA GOVERNOR SET TO PICK US SENATOR #NATIVEVOTE18

Mark Trahant*

Republished with author's permission  from Trahant Reports, December 13, 2017, https://trahantreports.com/2017/12/13/business-as-usual-minnesota-governor-set-to-pick-us-senator- nativevote18/.

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton has scheduled a news conference Wednesday to announce his pick for the U.S. Senate. The StarTribune reports it will be, as expected, his Lt. Gov. Tina Smith.

“In selecting Smith, the governor is choosing one of his most trusted advisers and someone who has worked for years traveling the state and building relationships with influential DFLers (Democrats) and business leaders,” the StarTribune said.

That’s all well and good. It’s business as usual. The safe bet. Then we in Indian Country know what could have been … and why Peggy Flanagan [White Earth Ojibwe] would have made history. Then, here is the good part, she’s still a candidate for Lt. Gov. in November 2018. And there is reason to think that down the road she could very well be the inside pick for such an office. And so we ought  to do all we can to see that Flanagan wins her race. There are six Democrats running in the Minnesota primary for governor. (Flanagan is running with U.S. Rep. Tim Walz and she is the only declared candidate for Lt. Gov.) At least seven Republicans are also seeking election to the Minnesota governor’s office.

Then November already looks to be interesting. There are now eleven Native  candidates running for Congress, Governor, and Lt. Gov. There are also new candidates running for state legislatures, county commissions, and to run cities. Give President Donald Trump credit: His actions  (or is that his craziness?) encourages people to run for office. We need more of that, not less. (I will  post a legislative preview of Native candidates in January.)

Voters in Virginia and Alabama are demonstrating that there is a growing wave; one that could reshape Congress, state houses, and legislatures.

* Mark Trahant is an independent journalist and a faculty member at the University of North Dakota as the Charles R. Johnson Endowed Professor of Journalism. He was recently elected as a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

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