Welcome to the Wes V for 35B Campaign Home Page!


Unfortunately, We Came Up Well Short.


Republican                         Peggy Scott        14705 -  64.74%
Democratic-Farmer-Labor    Wes Volkenant 7990  -   35.17%
   WRITE-IN   20  -  0.09%


Thank You to All Who Did Vote for the Wes V for 35B Campaign!


And With the Election of Donald Trump as President, May God Save America.




Election Day Photos
































From Top:  At the YMCA Community Center, Wes standing outside the polling location for Andover Precincts 7 and 8;  copy of Sample Ballot - bottom left corner - State Representative Race, District 35B; Middle - at Home, photos by my sister-in-law Judy Linde - Wes solo with 2x4' campaign sign, Wes and Cheryl together;  Bottom - Wes holding his blank ballot before voting; Wes by the Precinct 7 map after having voted.



As the Election draws to a close this Monday evening, and our District 35B voters (who haven't voted early) head to the polls on Tuesday, I would be remiss if I didn't take time to thank all of our volunteers, especially our sign team of Rufus, Bob and Paul; to thank my campaign manager Noah; to thank our friends and family who came out to our "launch party" in January and our "fundraiser" in October; to thank our many, many, many individual contributors to the Wes V for 35B campaign; to the organizations who gave their endorsement - and in many cases their financial support as well; to thank the core group of friends and supporters in SD 35 who've been with us - and encouraging me and supporting me all the way; and most importantly to thank Cheryl, my wife, my "handywoman" (and every campaign needs a handywoman to put together the signs and help get them in the ground)... the woman who organized the launch party.. the woman who got way out of her comfort zone to help by door-knocking when we needed her this last month, and the woman who has supported me and helped me plan, strategize and prepare for these last two months of the campaign! Dear, I could not have finished this as excited, encouraged or determined, without you in my corner!

I'd like to thank my opponent, Peggy Scott, for a really well-conducted contest in the northern suburbs. I read what the more-targeted races are like elsewhere around the State, and I'm glad Peggy and I have been able to wage something much more traditional and slower-paced.

I hope to win on Tuesday, so I make this last pitch to my friends and supporters who have yet to vote - please go out and vote on Tuesday!





We Have Been Following this Campaign from the Beginning - from the Launch Party in January, through the Parades, and the Candidate Forums.   Along the way, Wes Volkenant shared his thoughts and experiences from this Campaign!


NEW:  Link to St. Paul Pioneer Press Voter Guide (35B)




Are you Looking for Good Resources as You Make Your Decision Who to Vote for in 2016? 

Wes Volkenant or Peggy Scott?

Below, You'll Find Links to Both Candidate Forums/Debates that Wes Volkenant and Peggy Scott Engaged In.
You Will Also Find a Link and Coverage from the local UnionHerald Newspaper - Its Voter Guide to the Race!


Above:  Wes Volkenant and supporter surrounded by the next generation of voters, as they walk along the Andover Family Fest Fest parade, July 9, 2016....

Below:  At Anoka City Hall, Wes Volkenant and Peggy Scott engage in their first "Candidate Forum" for the North Metro Mayors Association, with former Andover Mayor, Commissioner Mike Gamache moderating.


Messaging Reminder:   VOTE!

Early, No Excuses Absentee Ballots: 


Voting on Election Day, November 8th!:


What's On Your Ballot (Sample Ballot)?:


StarTribune's My Vote Page for Polling Site, Sample Ballot, Voter Guide



NEW:  StarTribune's 35B Voter Guide Page


 Just Type in your house number and zip code, then select your street.  It will create a 'sample ballot' for you.   Click on each candidate's name for their profile.


2016 Anoka UnionHerald Voter Guide - dated October 14 - Has Been Published

You can read the Volkenant-Scott responses to the UnionHerald questions here!


DFL House Leader Paul Thissen on Why Democrats are the Best Choice to Lead the Next Minnesota House


Vote for Wes Volkenant in 35B



Messaging Reminder:
Your Donations Still Matter to this Campaign - If You Can Help, Please Give Using the DONATE button at This Site!   
Thank You!!!



Monday Night, November 7, 2016

Cheryl and I finished our targeted door-knocking in Coon Rapids on Saturday afternoon.  We spent much of Sunday and late Monday afternoon putting up our final signs.  I made more GOTV phone calls today, as well.

As you head to the 11 poll sites for our 13 precincts across Andover, northern Coon Rapids and the northest corner of Ramsey, we hope our name and campaign is visible to our voters!



At our house this misty, dreary evening....

171 trick-or-treaters stopped by.....



Late-October - Two New Endorsements Received - Thank You!

See the Endorsements Tab for More Information



Thank You to Noel LaBine of Andover for His Warm and Gracious Letter-to-the-Editor in the October 28th Issue of the Anoka UnionHerald in Support of the Wes V for 35B Campaign

Link to the Letters section is Here

Link to the News Section of this Website, to read the Text of the Letter, is Here



Honored to Receive the Attention of the MN Progressive Project Website as a Possible Pick-Up Seat in the 2016 Election!

Dan Burns writes of our campaign:

MN lege: DFL pickup opportunities hither and yon, Part 1

by Dan Burns on October 20, 2016

 Wes Volkenant is running in 35B, in the north metro. It’s R+9, but certainly doable this year.

"If elected, Wes Volkenant will work to strengthen the public employee union process in Minnesota, fight for a stronger PERA and TRA, and vigorously oppose any Republican efforts to diminish teacher rights in the classroom and through the seniority process."

 I wrote about this one late last year, when Volkenant declared. You can click to find out more about why Bachmannite Rep. Peggy Scott (R-Andover) doesn’t belong in political office.

Click on this one, from Developers are Crabgrass, also.


Our Candidate Forums are Complete!

Tuesday night, I had the pleasure of appearing at a large table with all of the District 35 candidates - Jim Abeler, Roger Johnson, Abigail Whelan, Andy Hillebregt and Peggy Scott, as well as District 37 candidate Brad Sanford, at a forum at Mary T. in Coon Rapids, created by the consortium organization, ARRM. Thank you to Mary T. Inc. and Jessica Andrist, and to Sara Grafstrom of ARRM for organizing the opportunity to address questions before providers for disabled and senior citizens in this area - and to a number of the residents who joined us. It can be awkward to hear seven individuals giving answers to the same three questions, as well as seven opening and closing statements, but the audience was much appreciated!



Thank you to my fellow candidates who complimented my preparation and research on the topics, which ranged from the lack of workforce resources in light of the ever-growing needs in this industry; the demographic changes we face as a State - and the implications; and, moving sheltered workshop employees into a broader community, and how we get them there.



On Monday night, the League of Women Voters conducted five candidate forums at Andover City Hall. Peggy Scott and I met in the final exchange of the evening. We had a good range of audience questions following our prepared for, opening questions. Again, thank you to the League for this opportunity.



For me, the prepared question on the issue(s) we're most passionate about is my most important answer.  Here is my prepared text for that evening:


"In the last question, I asked “who does the bill benefit.”  My favorite Paul Wellstone quote is “we all do better, when we all do better.”  So, I want to address which of us can do better in 2017.


First, I’m a proud union member – of AFSCME.  I will fight against any efforts to make Minnesota an anti-union, Right to Work State.  I will stand up for collective bargaining rights and prevailing wage contracts, and I will not try to micromanage our state employee contracts.  Peggy Scott has tried to change prevailing wage overtime pay provisions.  And just last spring, she joined 24 Republicans voting against the state contract in order to implement right to work provisions and reduce a 2% pay increase.


Next, our area faces, as Sheriff Stuart has labeled it, “an evil epidemic” of human trafficking of girls aged 11-14, those at their most vulnerable and susceptible ages.  I am pledging to help the Anoka County Sheriff’s office and the Minnesota Sheriff’s Association receive the increased funding necessary to fight this scourge.  Last week, we saw a major bust of an international Thailand-US sex slave ring, from the Twin Cities.  But the fight continues every week in our communities.  We also need to appropriate funds to those who counsel the victims and their families, like MN Girls Are Not for Sale and Minnesota Teen Challenge.


And finally, when we address families, let’s not limit it to the traditional Mom, Dad and two kids’ households – like the family I grew up in and Peggy Scott has raised.  Let’s recognize that same-sex marriage and interracial couples face many of their own challenges, and that, as Christians, we need to respect and embrace the values – and the difficulties - faced by our GLBT community.   So, rather than support anti-transgender measures in other states, as Peggy Scott has, I would work with our Department of Human Rights to ensure everyone’s rights."


QCTV televised this second forum, and like the previous one, has it posted on its Elections page. Here is a link to that page; simply find the League of Women Voters Forum for District 35B, and click "Watch."





An October Campaign Update on a Crisp, Gorgeous Fall Morning

  • Monday Night, October 10 - 2nd Candidate Forum - 6:30PM - Andover City Hall - League if Women Voters
  • Tuesday Evening, October 11 - Disabilities Forum at Mary T. in Coon Rapids - 6:00PM
  • Roger Johnson, Andy Hillebregt and I met with Sheriff Jim Stuart and Commander Bryon Fuerst last week to learn more about the serious issue of human trafficking in our communities
  • We've concluded our SD 35 DFL Door-Knocking of Coon Rapids Ward 2-Precinct 1 on Saturday - several of us, including my wife and I and Senate candidate Roger Johnson and his wife Vicky, took both Saturdays - October 1st and 8th - to visit homes across this precinct, in the southeast corner of our District (east of Hanson, south of the Sheriff's Office)

  • I have finished door-knocking my sole Ramsey precinct - in Ward 1-Precinct 2, along the Rum River, east of St. Francis Blvd.
  • I've moved on to Andover Precinct 10 - the area south of Target and Festival - and it's also the neighborhood by Super America and Fairview clinic, off of Hanson Blvd.  Thank you to campaign manager Noah Hansen, for coming out to door-knock for me today (Sunday, the 9th).


Campaigning recently in Ramsey, I had several deer crossing my path on Germanium Street, near the Rum River.  This is the time of year for deer in our neighborhoods.  Just a few years ago, on a foggy October morning, on my way to work, I drove right into a large buck standing on Hanson Blvd., less than a quarter mile from my home.  I had minor injuries, but our car was totalled that morning.  I still look both directions in that area north of 156th, as we leave or return home - especially early in the morning and near dusk.  It's a good reminder to all of us to keep our eyes open as we travel through our communities.


I met a couple on Ute St. at the very edge of our District, where Ramsey meets Nowthen.  They live on Rogers Lake - which is in Ramsey, Nowthen and Oak Grove.   Their lake is dying.  And per the residents, it seemingly hasn't been getting any help from anywhere - those communities, the County, the DNR, the Rum River Watershed District...

Rogers Lake was found to be impaired in 2008, eight years ago.  It suffers from nutrients and eutrophication.

Here's a link to a City of Nowthen Water Management Plan:  http://www.knowtheflow.us/wp-content/uploads/.../Nowthen090300-WaterMgmtPlan.pdf

See Page 3-7 for reference to Rogers Lake.  (Note that TMDL refers to Total Maximum Daily Load... from Wikipedia: A Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) is a regulatory term in the U.S. Clean Water Act, describing a value of the maximum amount of a pollutant that a body of water can receive while still meeting water quality standards.

This report makes clear however, that the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has it on its clean-up plans by 2019.

I believe that the responsibility of your 2017-2018 legislators in 35B and 31A will be to make sure that this is on course for clean-up by the MPCA, and to intervene on behalf of those residents and communities, if it is not.


Another Ramsey resident asked me about Anoka County being a Sanctuary County.  I was not familiar with the term, but after she filled me in, we discussed illegal immigrants and their presence in our communities.  I do not have an issue with our law enforcement personnel not going after illegal immigrants as a matter of their work agenda.  Nor do I think our jails should be used as indefinite holding cells for illegal immigrants arrested for other offenses, and being held past the normal release point, waiting on Federal officials to take these immigrants into custody.

I don't advocate open borders - our current efforts on the Mexican border satisfy me.  I realize others are offended by the numbers of Hispanics coming into this country, and support the extremism of Donald Trump to deport millions back to the countries of origin and erect a wall to separate our nations.

Most of us are the children of immigrants.  Some escaping poverty, some escaping famine, some escaping religious persecution...  Why are so many Mexicans coming here?  The face an over-populated nation (over 122 million people), with about 1/5 of them in the Greater Mexico City area alone.  The northern states bordering the US, are violent, drug-cartel-controlled havens, with the Americans their best customers.  Fleeing here, finding jobs, finding income, is one of the few survival alternatives.  And our current immigration system, set in the mid-1920s, is not designed to take in all these people legally. 

We have to do something about the illegal immigration problem, but I do not object to the concept of Sanctuary for otherwise law-abiding, income-earning peoples from Mexico and other Latin American nations.

That said, an anti-illegal imigration website has not identified Anoka County as a Sanctuary locale in Minnesota (Hennepin and Ramsey Counties, Bloomington and Brooklyn Park are listed).   http://cis.org/Sanctuary-Cities-Map


Peggy Scott and I have one more local, taped and televised by QCTV, candidate forum, tomorrow night.  The League of Women Voters is hosting candidates for office in the City of Andover, our race, and possibly 31B on Monday night.  The forum is scheduled for 30 minutes, with audience questions invited.  We each do just closing statements of one minute.  We also know the first three and last questions. 

  • Describe your background and community involvement (one minute)
  • What are your qualifications for serving- and why are you seeking this office? (one minute)
  • What issue are you most passionate about, and what are your plans to address it? (two minutes)


And, the final question will ask us to tell what we enjoy doing aside from politics.  Stop over on Monday night, or tune in for the broadcast/re-broadcast.  I hope each of you determines which of us is the best fit for you this election year!





Debate 1: Wes Volkenant Challenges Peggy Scott in North Metro Mayors Association Forum

David Hoff, CD 6 Chair attended the debate on Thursday night, providing the picture above, and writing of it on Facebook, "District 35B debate in Anoka this evening. Very proud of Wes Volkenant's strong performance against a surprisingly nervous Peggy Scott. Also, congratulations to Roger Johnson and Andy Hillebregt for their fine debate performances earlier in the evening."

QCTV has begun airing the debate on its Community Channel 15.  (As of Sunday morning, the 2nd) it airs next on Monday, October 3rd at about 9:10am.

Here is a link to the QCTV Elections page.  Find the 9/29 Forum for House District 35B.  If you click on the "Watch" link, you can watch from the luxury of your own computer!



Following the debates, the three SD 35 DFL candidates posed for photos (from L-R: Wes Volkenant, 35B;  Roger Johnson, SD 35;  Andy Hillebregt, 35A)



September 29th - Our First Candidate Forum for 2016 is Tonight!

North Metro Mayors Association

Anoka City Hall, Beginning at 6:30 PM (to 9:00 PM)

  • Senate District 35 - Johnson vs. Abeler is first
  • House District 35 A - Hillebregt vs. Whelan is second
  • House District 35B - Volkenant vs. Scott is last


My intended Opening Statement: 

"Thank you to the North Metro Mayors Association for inviting me to this Candidate’s Forum, to your President, Kathi Hemken of New Hope, and to your Political Director, Bob Benke of Comcast for putting this all together.  

To my opponent, Representative Peggy Scott, I wish you the best in these last 40 days of the campaign. 

Thank you to those of you here in person this evening, especially those who are on your third debate, and I welcome those of you watching this on your local cable channel.

As of today, I’ve knocked on about 3300 of your doors, with a goal of 5000 by November 8th.  I delight in meeting – and often visiting with - you.  I usually ask what issues or concerns you have, and we’ve had some interesting discussions.  I am providing you an alternative to Peggy Scott – only you, the voters, can decide which of us is the best fit for you on Election Day, November 8th.

I would like your vote!"






Peggy Scott - Not a Familiar Sight for Ramsey Ward 1-Precinct 2 Voters

I was surprised tonight, while door-knocking, to hear from Tracy and Sarah, two different homeowners, that they didn't even know who their Representative is.  Their Representative is Peggy Scott, who has never visited them in their neighborhood.   Peggy Scott has run for office five times now, but where has she been since her first campaign in 2008?  This has been in her District since 2012.

I am proud that I am getting to all the neighborhoods in our District - from northeastern Ramsey, across the City of Andover, with the precincts of northern Coon Rapids to come in October - and that I am getting to hear from and share with voters of all ages, of different lengths of time living in our community, and of different political persuasion.




AFSCME Council 5's 2016 Convention

Proudly Attending My Union's Annual Statewide Convention in Bloomington, MN, September 22-24, 2016

There were many memorable moments at this year's AFSCME Council 5 Convention:  speeches by Governor Mark Dayton, Lt. Governor Tina Smith, Council 5 Executive Director Eliot Seide and AFSCME International President Lee Saunders;  a tribute to - and welcome by - retiring Hennepin County Commissioner Randy Johnson; a moving Labor History performance - with the words of such figures as Sojourner Truth and Mother Jones, Jerry Wurf and Bayard Ruskin, and my hero Eugene Debs - interspersed with wonderful musical performances....  Council 5 members marched with their brothers and sisters of the Minnesota Nursing Association in pouring rain at Abbott-Northwestern Hospital!


Among the important issues addressed at this year's Convention:  the Bonding bill that did not get through the 2016 Legislative session left an important $20 million on the table, intended to provide security enhancements and Safe Staffing at Minnesota's institutions - from its regional treatment centers to its correctional facilities.  Opposition from the House Republicans made this worthwhile project fail. 

Another key issue was our strong and determined opposition to Private Prisons for Profit.  AFSCME Council 5 finds it immoral to make a profit off of prisoners - treating them poorly, failing to provide adequate food and resources...

And, public employee pensions were at issue.  The current defined-benefit pension system continues to be vigorously opposed by the Republicans, which sought to take away $73 million - an action vetoed by Governor Dayton.


Back to one of the recurring issues in this Convention, which was themed "Never Quit" this year... the need for Safe Staffing at our public employee worksites across Minnesota - from hospitals to Regional Treatment Centers, to workhouses and state correctional facilities.   The 2016 Rick Scott Organizing Award went to Kyle McGinn, a Health East Security Guard, for his 2015-2016 efforts to bring safe staffing to those eastern metro hospitals.  I was moved by the story AFSCME Council 5 Organizing Director Ryan Hanson shared with us about Kyle's efforts.  I was so moved, that I am sharing an AFSCME Local 4001 article about Kyle's work to bring safe staffing to Health East, which represents all that I find good and valued in my 26 years of AFSCME membership....


 Kyle McGinn, holding the blowhorn...

Demanding Safe Hospitals

Security officers at four HealthEast hospitals in the Twin Cities want to unionize with AFSCME, saying a union is the best way for them to fix staffing and safety issues.

The security officers work at Bethesda and St. Joseph’s hospitals in St. Paul, St. John’s Hospital in Maplewood, and Woodwinds Health Campus in Woodbury. Safety issues they face are similar to those that AFSCME members deal with in DHS group homes and other public and private mental-health facilities.

Every hospital is different, says security officer Kyle McGinn. Emergency rooms, psychiatric units, and traumatic brain injury programs all pose different security challenges. “What’s the same across the board is that staffing is way too low,” he says.

At most HealthEast hospitals, workers say, there are only two officers on duty at any time – one in the emergency room and another on patrol outside. But at Bethesda, the overnight shifts typically have only one officer on duty.

The short staffing means that, when every second counts, backup may be several minutes away, says security officer Joe Misensic. At Bethesda, help may be more than half a mile away at St. Joseph’s. Or it may need to come from St. Paul police.

“It doesn’t take that long to get beat up pretty bad,” Misensic says. “It only takes 30 seconds.” Referring to the July beating of a security counselor at the Minnesota Security Hospital in St. Peter, he says, “We have some of those same kinds of patients here.”

“Security officers want to be able to provide as safe an environment as possible for patients, families, visitors, and other staff members,” McGinn says. “We feel that with the current staffing and the training we’re given at this moment, we’re not able to do that.”


No Strangers to Assaults

Last November, a patient at St. John’s severely beat a nurse, a case that brought widespread media attention to gaps in hospital security. But in the past year, Bethesda itself has had more than 30 assaults by violent patients, records show.

Outside Bethesda, there have been at least three shootings in the past year. Misensic, who works overnights exclusively, says people routinely drink in the hospital’s outdoor gazebo and pass out in the parking ramp.

“I will admit I don’t feel safe here on the overnights because of the neighborhood. And with the attitude now toward people wearing a badge, it can be very dangerous.”


Getting Things Done With a Union

McGinn says he and his HealthEast co-workers have been asking hospital management for years to add security officers, with minimal results. Officers have gone through the proper chain of command and provided detailed logs of incidents and response times to back up their requests.

“We’re just not feeling that they understand the concerns to the degree that is necessary,” McGinn says. “It’s a serious issue that needs to be addressed quickly and effectively.

“My guess is, we just haven’t had that incident yet where an officer is in peril and the other officer is not there to help them out. We haven’t had that incident where a guy is out of work for a long, long time.”

Forming a union, McGinn says, seems to be the best route to get the changes security officers need. “We’ve realized that organizing this way is the most effective way.”

To prove his point, a few days after security officers took their case public, a HealthEast administrator set up “listening sessions” with any security officer who was interested. “Nobody has ever set up listening sessions for us,” McGinn says. “We have an officer who has been here over 15 years. That’s never happened.


“What That Tells Us Is: Union Activity is What’s Going to Make us be Heard.”

Other hospital employees are represented by unions, including the Minnesota Nurses Association, SEIU Healthcare Minnesota, and the International Union of Operating Engineers. “MNA, SEIU, and IUOE have a voice,” McGinn said. “Security officers deserve a voice.”


Management Turns Cold Shoulder

Security officers revealed their request Aug. 13 with a news conference and a brief hallway meeting with Cathy Barr, the president of Bethesda Hospital, and Mark Sorenson, director of labor relations for HealthEast. But the administrators rejected the workers’ demand to bargain – and even refused to accept a petition signed by 90 percent of the 45 security officers.

One veteran security officer, Jeff Perry, says the outright rejection was a typical response from hospital management. “They want us to be seen but not heard.”

Under national labor law, the security officers are considered “guards.” That means they are forbidden from holding a union election. Their only way to gain official union status is to persuade management to recognize their union.


That’s why more than 70 elected officials and representatives from a dozen unions rallied Aug. 24 outside Bethesda in support of the security officers. “The security officers are always there for us,” says Linda Hamilton, president of the Minnesota Nurses Association. “They deserve a place at the table with us.”

“I would just like the hospital to be proactive instead of reactive,” Misensic says. “I don’t want the hospital to say, ‘Well, now we’ll do something now that you got beat up pretty bad’.”



Photos from the AFSCME Council 5 Convention








Cheryl and I give to a large number of charitable and socially liberal organizations.

Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity

One of my longest-running choices has been the Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity.  Their quarterly newsletter Habitat Herald came out last week.  Inside, Habitat for Humanity tells its supporters to "Ask Candidates to Make Housing a Priority!"

Housing is a priority for me!

Habitat for Humanity suggests candidates be rem inded of these bullet points:

  • Over 600,000 Minnesota families pay more than they can afford for housing;


  • When we can afford housing, we can focus on families, jobs and education;


  • Local elections have big consequences when it comes to housing.



Food & Water Action Fund.org

One of my more recent choices is the Food & Water Action Fund.  I received one of their requests for money and activity last week.  Their website is: http://www.foodandwateractionfund.org.

Here are three of their key talking points when it comes to risks associated with fracking, and the reasons we should support a ban on fracking:

  • Fracking has been linked to cancer, birth defects, neurological disorders and other serious health issues;


  • Fracking produces massive amounts of toxic and radioactive waste that can taint local water drinking supplies;


  • America needs, and Americans demand a true clean energy revolution - not more reliance on dirty fossil fuel - to avoid the cataclysmic impact of climate change.




Thank You to My Brothers & Sisters of AFSCME Locals 66 and 2822 for Your Endorsements and Support!



City of Andover News:  Preliminary 2017 Tax Levy Adopted - A Small 2.97% Increase

For the full story that appears at the ABC Newspapers web site:




Legislative candidates were invited to a September 15th health forum at St. Thomas University which I was unable to attend due to work commitments.  About 30-some candidates did attend.  All candidates received information from MN HealthBasics afterwards, part of which I'm posting here.  Bear in mind this is an organization of mostly big medical players in our community, including Medica, with their own vested interest and viewpoint.  But information is knowledge, and knowledge is valuable.


Minnesota HealthBasics: 

Health Policy Questions

Q.  Why are health insurance premiums rising faster than overall inflation?

A.   Insurance premiums reflect the underlying cost of care and recent studies have shown that the cost of health care in Minnesota ranks among the nation’s highest. In fact, a study found that the average price of about 20 common services is at least twice the national average. The high costs in Minnesota come into sharper focus when looking at specific services. For example, a study found that the cost of a routine childbirth in the Twin Cities is the third highest in the country. The reports do underscore what University of Minnesota health policy professor Ezra Golberstein recently told the St. Paul Pioneer Press: “We’re starting to learn now that Minnesota is actually a pretty expensive place for private insurance to be purchasing health care services. Private insurers just pay more for health care than they do in other places in the country”.

Q. What explains the increases in health care costs?

A.  Different experts have different explanations. However, there seems to be consensus on some drivers, including the following:

The aging population. Per capita health spending for a Minnesotan over age 75 is more than 2 ½ times the amount spent by a 45-to-54-year-old. That’s a worrisome trend in a state with a population aging as rapidly as Minnesota’s.

New drugs and treatments. Miracles come at a high cost. For example, new drugs to treat Hepatitis C are both extremely effective and enormously expensive. The New York Times in an article on the hepatitis C drug Sovaldi cited an estimate that the treatment “could add $200 to $300 a year to every American insurance premium for the next five years”.

Unnecessary care. Ineffective and wasteful health spending amounted to 18 percent to 37 percent of all health spending, according to a 2012 study reported in HealthAffairs. Other experts have reached the same conclusion. Among the key challenges is overtreatment – “care that is rooted in outmoded habits, that is driven by providers' preferences rather than those of informed patients, that ignores scientific findings, or that is motivated by something other than provision of optimal care for a patient,” according to the HealthAffairs Policy Brief on unnecessary care.

Hidden subsidies and cost-shifting. Former Minnesota Management and Budget Commissioner and current head of the Minnesota Council of Health Plans, made a compelling point about how health care is priced. In 2013, Minnesotans with private health insurance paid $1.33 for every $1 of hospital services they received. Those enrolled in government-sponsored health programs paid 67 cents for a dollar’s worth of hospital services. These kind of hidden subsidies exist throughout health care. Those with private insurance don’t see a line item for public subsidies in their health bills, but the cost is there. As Schowalter wrote, “cost shifting blurs the issues. It changes our view of the challenges that need to be addressed…”. 

Q.  Some increases in insurance premiums seem to be higher than even the increases in health costs can explain. Why is that?

A. The biggest challenge in Minnesota and throughout much of the country faces people buying individual insurance policies. In Minnesota, people buy individual policies through MNSure (the state’s health insurance exchange) or directly from insurers or through brokers. The individual market is relatively small; only about 5 percent of all Minnesotans purchase individual policies. The simple fact is that because of policy changes, thousands of Minnesotans who need a lot of health care services now purchase individual policies. There aren’t enough healthy people paying premiums to offset the costs of those who need more care. Health plans have competed aggressively for business, trying to keep premiums as low as possible, but the losses in the individual marketplace have been staggering. Minnesota already has seen one health plan, Preferred One, being forced to substantially change its business plan, including dropping out of MNSure, because of financial losses in the individual market.
The facts behind this answer are these: 
First, since 1976, Minnesota’s non-profit health plans subsidized the Minnesota Comprehensive Health Association (MCHA), a program for individuals who have significant health conditions and require a lot of expensive care. MCHA allowed people to buy insurance in the marketplace. In 2014, MCHA effectively was ended and enrollees – about 30,000 Minnesotans – were left to purchase coverage on their own, often through MNSure. To give you an idea of the impact, the Minnesota Department of Health estimated earlier this year that every insured person with one or more chronic diseases (for example, diabetes, asthma or congestive heart failure) cost payers, insurers and individuals an average of $12,800 per year, or about eight times the average spending of an insured resident without a chronic condition."
Second, too few healthy people are buying individual insurance to compensate for the higher health costs of others. While some Minnesotans are eligible for tax subsidies that help underwrite a portion of the premium cost, fewer than one-in-four Minnesotans buying individual insurance either through MNSure or in the general marketplace received the subsidy.
Third, the premium increases are significant, but they also are measured against a very competitive baseline. According to a study by the highly-regarded Commonwealth Fund, for example, the 2016 premium for an individual bronze plan purchased through the Minnesota exchange is more than 20 percent below the national average.

Q. How much do profits and other health plan expenses contribute to increases in premiums?  

A. Minnesota’s mostly non-profit health plans do a particularly good job of managing administrative costs. According to the Minnesota Department of Health, administrative costs as a percent of total health plans’ spending was 7.2 percent in 2013 (the last year for which statewide data are available) and have declined steadily since 2001.
On a national level, the independent Kaiser Family Foundation analyzed the net cost of health plans – administrative costs, additions to reserves, rate credits and dividends, premium taxes and underwriting gains or losses. The conclusion was that between 2006 and 2014, the net cost of health insurance as a share of total national health spending remained constant. It was 6.4 percent of all health spending in 2006 and the same in 2014.


Q. What other critical health issues are emerging in Minnesota?

A. HealthBasics put that question to some of Minnesota’s leading health experts. Here are some of the responses (more complete discussions of these issues and other topics can be found at www.MnHealthBasics.com).
Sue Aberholden executive director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness-Minnesota (NAMI):
Ensuring that children and adults are able to access the right level of [mental health] treatment at the right time, which means early identification, early access to treatment (not waiting until it’s a crisis), creating an array of services (different intensity – not just acute care hospital beds) and ensuring that people have housing, complete their education, and have employment and in-home supports in order for Minnesota to benefit from the gifts and talents of all Minnesotans. As with other health care issues the workforce shortage is impacting the ability of the mental health system to expand. 

Patti Cullen, president/CEO of Care Providers of Minnesota:
Given the demographics and general lack of savings for long-term care expenses I think the most important question is how Minnesota will be able to invest in older adult services at the level needed to provide access to quality care for those who have not adequately saved.  We [aging services] will need to become a top tier state investment to address both the demographic wave and the lack of personal savings. 
Jim Schowalter, president of the Minnesota Council of Health Plans:
“Medicine is remarkable. Cancer is often now a chronic disease. Kids with cystic fibrosis are living longer, healthier lives. People with rheumatoid arthritis move without pain. Children with autism get the treatment families want. How should we, as a society, pay for really expensive care people need? While more people have insurance than ever before and there seems to be no limit to the wonders of medicine, is there a limit to what employers, individuals and taxpayers can afford for care?”



Health Insurance and MNSure

I came across a Peggy Scott statement of September 6th in the Anoka County Record, which is probably something most Republican legislators did the first week of September - they lashed out at MNSure for the huge insurance premium increases announced for 2017 by the insurance companies.


One of my favorite bloggers, Dave Mindeman at mnpACT.org, anticipated this on September 2nd, and wrote one terrific column that identified the real problems with blaming MNSure for these increases (an exerpt or two):

"But insurance premium increases? That is a problem that is still rampant within the insurance system itself.

What did we want the ACA to do? What was its original purpose? It was to reduce the number of people that did not have access to health insurance. To relieve the burden on hospitals to deal with costs of helping those who did not have insurance. To provide government help with affordability.

The ACA is doing those things.


But let's get back to MNSure for a minute. The Minnesota Republicans are blaming all the foibles of the insurance market on MNSure. And if we are realistic, that is a stretch. MNSure is not the ACA - it only implements the requirements of the ACA. MNSure does not control the pricing structure - the insurance companies control that. MNSure does not write the policies - they only act as a go between for comparison.

Don't get me wrong - there are plenty of things about MNSure that need fixing, but the MN GOP is not talking about any of those. No, they are pretending that MNSure is to blame for all of our current health care problems - and that is simply not true.


If you want to read the full Mindeman column, please go to my News Link at the top of the page, or click here: 





Campaign News:  Coming Up - Two Local "Candidate Forums"/Debates and Two Local Fundraisers

Candidate Forums/Debates:   On Thursday, September 29th, I will be appearing with Rep. Peggy Scott at the North Metro Mayors' Association Candidate Forum, at Anoka City Hall, which begins at 6:30pm.

Then, on Monday, October 10th, the League of Women Voters will be conducting their candidate forum, beginning about 7:00pm, with Andover City candidates going first.  This will be live - and broadcast on Cable-TV - from Andover City Hall.


Two Fundraising Events:  On Friday evening, DFL friends, supporters and activists are gathering at the Koskinen home in Coon Rapids from 5:30 - 7:30pm.  This Senate District 35 DFL gathering will benefits the District's party coffers, as we approach the end-run of this campaign.

A week later, on Sunday afternoon, October 2nd, this campaign will be holding a Wes V for 35B-specific fundraiser, also at the Koskinen home in Coon Rapids.  Rochester Rep. Tina Liebling will be coming to Coon Rapids as the guest speaker. 

If you would like to join us for either or both fundraisers, use the Contact link on this website, or the Wes V for 35B Facebook page, and let Wes know!  We'll get you connected - and we'll see you in Coon Rapids!



Additional Note:  I'm in the midst of door-knocking through Andover Precinct 3, having covered much of the area just south of Bunker Lake Blvd.  I've had some really good encounters, ranging from voters who've embraced my campaign - and agreed to put up lawn signs on my behalf - to interesting conversations. 

One of my most memorable was with a 39-year teacher, who had just finished week 1 of another school year at one of our local elementary schools.  Somehow, we ended up talking about generations and patterns of history - two of my passions of study.  I recommended to him two books written in the 1990s by William Strauss and Neil Howe:  "Generations" in 1991 and "The Fourth Turning" in 1997.   It is amazing to see how prescient their work was in looking at trends that would touch our lives a quarter century - and one turning - and a full generational group - later.




Ramsey Happy Days - Our Final Parade for 2016

September 10, 2016 - Sunwood Drive, Ramsey






Thank You, Ramsey!




Wrapping Up Andover Precinct 2 - On to the Very Large, Precinct 3

With only a few blocks left to door-knock in Precinct 2, the coming week brings the campaign to Andover Precinct 3, which covers much of the southwestern part of the City, bounded by Round Lake Blvd. and Crosstown Blvd.  Included in this precinct, which is dissected by Bunker Lake Blvd., we find the Round Barn, Grace Lutheran Church and the northern portion of Crooked Lake - and Crooked Lake Elementary School.  This will be a large precinct geographically - with a large number of doors to knock.


My wife Cheryl got out door-knocking with me on Saturday morning and Sunday afternoon.  Together, we knocked at over 100 doors, while I added about another 60 on Saturday afternoon - for about 165 doors this weekend - about 9 hours of knocking on a Labor Day weekend that saw a lot of folks away for the holiday.


By the way... Happy Anniversary, Cheryl!  We were married 18 years ago, as of Labor Day, September 5th!   Here's a photo of us from our 17th Anniversary circle tour trip around Lake Superior - when we decided to embark on this political journey!


But this past week has had some memorable moments.  I met one of my heroes, Coach Stan Nelson, who's retired and living in Andover.  Stan Nelson and his family lived about a block from my family in Anoka - they were near 9th and Jefferson, we were near 9th and Madison.  His son Dave, himself a famed Minnesota high school football coach, was a classmate of mine.  I interviewed Coach Nelson as Sports Editor of the Anokahi student newspaper, my senior year.  Well, at 95, Coach Nelson is a legend, and beloved by all that know him.  Frankly, I walked away from his home, feeling like I was walking on air, a bit. 



I met a man named Dennis, who told me flat out, in the first 10 seconds of our conversation, that he will be voting for me this fall.  On the other hand, a gentleman named Bob, taking offense that anyone would be voting for Hillary Clinton for President, told me flat out, "I hope you lose."  That was a tough way to wrap up and head head home the other night.  But the very next afternoon, I met a young Mom named Katie, who just gave me such warmth as she positively embraced my campaign, to the point of putting this stranger's campaign lawn sign in her yard.


About Hillary Clinton.  Yes, I am voting for Hillary Clinton for President.  Outside of George HW Bush and probably James Buchanan, of all people, she's one of the most well-prepared (with a considerably varied portfolio of experience) candidates ever to run for President - probably, since the days of the Founding Fathers and giants of the second generation like Henry Clay and John Quincy Adams.  Yes folks, I am equating her 'resume' to that of Clay, Adams, Bush I...  


I have my reservations about her, though it hardly has anything to do with the "trumped up" baloney of those e-mails. 



I would have easily supported Vice President Joe Biden, had he run, even at age 77.  I was not in the Bernie Sanders camp - not because I differed with his great record and progressivism, but frankly, because he was an outsider trying to use the Democratic Party as a platform to win the White House.  Here, Clinton was an easier choice for me, because she has worked on behalf of Democrats and our Party her full adult life.


Donald Trump will never receive the votes in my home.  We disagree fundamentally with him on most issues.  We are disgusted by his history of make-believe when it came to the Obama 'birther' experience.  We hated him on "The Apprentice" and his demeaning way of "firing" people, without him ever understanding how demeaning and demoralizing this experience is for thousands of workers across the nation, every day. We can never vote for a bully, a loud-mouthed narcissist, a mean,ugly American nativist, an inexperienced demagogue, or a crass, foolish old man - all of which describes the Donald Trump I see in this campaign.


Hillary Clinton, no matter her flaws, is the only adult in the room, the only one with the gravitas to be President of the United States.



How many of you had an employer take away your health benefits under the Affordable Care Act, by reducing your work hours to less than 30 per week?  Cheryl and I met a man today who had this happen to him with Cub Foods.  He retains health insurance through his wife, but lost it through his own employer.   Cost savings.  I'll remember how Cub treats its employees next time I'm driving past it to another alternative grocery.


Speaking of labor issues... Solidarity to my fellow union members with the Minnesota Nurses Association as they begin striking against Allina tomorrow, Labor Day, Monday!  Cheryl and I were on the picket line with you at Mercy earlier in the year.  We will join you again in this strike action!  Our union, AFSCME Council 5, pledges its support to you.



It IS Labor Day Weekend.  I thank Ray Zeran for his Letter-to-the-Editor in the Anoka UnionHerald showcasing the importance of Labor Day and the union support I have in this election.  Protecting our union rights to collectively bargain and collect union dues is one of my foremost reasons for seeking this office against Peggy Scott specifically.


And finally, lest we forget, tonight our outside light is on as a simple way of remembering young Jacob Wetterling, whose kidnapping, and the impact it had on his family, his community, across this State, across the nation, and in all our hearts, should never be forgotten.

R.I. P. Jacob Wetterling!  Prayers and loving thoughts to Patty, Jerry and their entire family.




Door-Knocking - At the Halfway Point -  10 Weeks In, 10 Weeks to Go

Sunday, August 28, marked the completion of 10 weeks of the door-knocking, which I began in mid-June.  And with Election Day coming on November 8th this year, it appears we have 10 weeks remaining, to meet voters throughout House District 35B.


I met a young small businessman on Sunday.  He employs a lot of teenagers, he said - who are usually part-timers, as he has a large number who circulate through his operations each week.  When I asked him what issues or concerns he has, he said it's getting difficult to run his business profitably, with all the rules and changes the State keeps making.  So, I asked him what would be one thing that I could address as a Legislator that would help him.  He said it would be the $15 an hour Minimum Wage.  For him to pay that to his employees, would mean large price hikes, and frankly, he thinks he would lose customers and go out of business.


He understands the issue, and was even willing to consider gradual increases that eventually brings the Minimum Wage to that level in the next 7-8 years, but not that jump right now, right away.   At least not for his type of employees.  He actually thinks there's merit to the idea for people who are working full-time (35+ hours a week), but not for his teenage employees who work 15-25 hours a week.


In our last round of Negotiations with Hennepin County, AFSCME took a $15 minimum wage stand.  There were still classifications in the Clerical and Social Services units that had starting wages as low as about $11 an hour in 2015.  The AFSCME Locals stuck together in Hennepin County and got that concession - so, in 2016, no AFSCME-covered job class begins below $15 an hour.  I helped and supported that effort, and am very proud of our negotiators who fought for that change in 2015.



Many of those same individuals are fighting for the $15 an hour wage in the City of Minneapolis this Election season.



Men and women who work full time, making a living at jobs that often are seen as entry-level, menial, aimed at the un-trained or un-educated... they still need to live and survive in this society.  They need to make a livable wage.  In 2016, we've set the mark at $15 per hour.   I strongly support paying men and women who work hard and put in full time and full effort for their employer, that $15 an hour wage.  



But, I think the young businessman in Andover, addressed a very important issue, too.  So I did some checking again, to see where we're at now.  And, I think we're doing the right thing in Minnesota, and even as we raise minimum wage, we should apply the tier's increase to each type of employee accordingly.


Here's an analysis from the Minnesota Budget Project:  http://www.mnbudgetproject.org/research-analysis/economic-security/poverty-income/about-the-minimum-wage

Minnesota's Minimum Wage, remember, will be indexed to inflation, beginning in 2018 - with a 2.5% cap.  And, as of August 1st, for large employers, the minimum wage went up to $9.50/hour - a 50 cent increase.  For small employers, and for a first 90 days Training wage, there was also a 50 cent increase to $7.75/hour.  There's also a Youth Wage, created in 2014, for workers under age 18, which also rose 50 cents to $7.75/hour.

The issue for the next Legislature - how and when do we move MinimumWage to $15 an hour in the State, and what are the implications for small employers and the Youth Wage, if we keep these tiering? 


There are many other implications around Minimum Wage.  I recall meeting a woman several weeks ago, who had been working at a convenience store as a cashier for three years, and was earning wages that had were more than the then-minimum wage, due to raises, but was less than the new minimum wage amount.   Did her employer put her at a higher wage than the newer employees, hired in the past year?  No.  That employer simply put everyone at the new minimum wage.  She has nothing in her wages to reflect that she's more experienced, and more skilled at the job than the newer employees - shame on that employer for treating her so shabbily, and dismissing the value she brings to that store's operations.



One of the insights I've drawn in my door-knocking is that Andover has an explosion of dogs in the community.  Mind you, we're a cat family (yes, our cat, Princess Sasha, rules the roost), and I have little experience with dogs.  But it seems like 85-90% of the homes in Andover have one or more dogs.  Many of them start barking like mad, when I knock or ring the bell - sometimes, just as I walk up the sidewalk.  But I seem to have developed some affinity for many of the dogs who are out in the yard, or come bounding out the doors to sniff out the newcomer.  Yesterday, on Potawatomi St., for example, I got accosted by three German shorthairs, with the most gorgeous dappling color, at one house, then down the block, "Earl", who I think was a greyhound, came out and sniffed all around me, and then finally down the street, here came "Barney" out the door, a big huge gentle giant of a dog, with a golden-colored coat, and a big tongue, who licked at me, before he started loudly slurping from his water bowl.  

I hope my dog meetings continue to go well.  At one house, about a month ago, the dog was chained to a long leash in the front yard, and did its barking business at me, as I walked up.  What was surprising was the human's reaction.  Her bark was almost worse, as she yelled at me for walking past the dog to knock on her door.  She said her dog bites at people, and she doesn't want to have me suing her for a dogbite - so I should have just stayed away. 

Now, note, there was no fence, there was a dog who bites at people simply chained in the front yard (not the back yard, after all), and no sign warning people away from walking up to the front door because of that dog in the front yard.  This was a good case for better communications!


Daniel, on Sunday, made my day - made my weekend!  Daniel's a 60-something homeowner on Andover's west side.  I don't even know if I got his vote.  But he gave me the warmest fuzzy on Sunday, one that really touched my heart.  First, he had recognized my name, because he's seen my signs - and complimented them - he likes the look!  But, then he said, he really appreciates what I'm doing out there - going around to doors, meeting people, talking and listening to them, and putting in the effort to give people a choice of who to vote for this year.  Thank you, Daniel!




On to Andover Precinct 2... as Signs Go Up All Over Andover, Coon Rapids, and Even Ramsey!

We celebrated my wife Cheryl's birthday this Noon (Happy Birthday, dear!), then I headed out door-knocking on a wet, sprinkly, drizzly Saturday afternoon, finishing up Andover Precinct 8 for the most part, and moving on to Andover Precinct 2 on the west side of the city.

Since last weekend, my Sign Team has put up nearly 100 signs throughout mostly Andover and Coon Rapids, with at least one up in Ramsey.  We have three sizes - a regular 18" x 24", a medium-sized 2' x 4' and a fairly big 3' x 5'.  I've been gratified by those of you have contacvted the campaign asking for signs.  I'm equally appreciative when a homeowner I've met by door-knocking gives me the go-ahead to place a sign in their yard, myself!


Here's a couple of pictures taken by campaign volunteer Rufus Campbell this morning, after he got these signs up in the morning drizzle....


That's one of our 3' x 5' signs, which went up on Hanson Blvd., south of Andover Elementary School, at the owner's request.


This pair is located where Crosstown Blvd. meets both 157th Ave. and Prairie Road.  It's on the Northeast corner of the intersection, at the owner's request - and I'm sorry to say these signs have apparently already been tampered with.  Both were found lying on the ground this morning.  These are the 2' x 4' and 18" x 24" signs.


Campaign Sign Locations

You can find Wes V for 35B campaign signs on the following streets:

  • In Andover Precinct 1 on 181st Ave, 157th Ave, S Enchanted Drive, N Enchanted Drive, Dakota St, 166th Lane, Makah St, 160th Lane
  • In Andover Precinct 2 on 7th Ave, Round Lake Blvd, Aztec St, 145th Ave, Inca St, 147th Lane
  • In Andover Precinct 3 on 133rd Lane, on Xavis St, on Jonquil St, on Gladiola St, on Crooked Lake Blvd, on 137th Ave, on Lily St
  • In Andover Precinct 4 on Quay St and 134th Lane
  • In Andover Precinct 5 on Verdin St, on Uplander St, on Kerry St, on Thrush St, on 161st Ave, on 159th Lane, on Nightingale St, on Round Lake Blvd
  • In Andover Precinct 7 on 158th Lane, on 161st Ave, on Drake St, on 155th Ave, on Eagle St, on 157th Ave, on Avocet St
  • In Andover Precinct 8 on Grouse St, on Avocet St, on Ibis St, on Zilla St, on 148th Ave, on 146th Lane, on 145th Lane, on Butternut St, on Andover Blvd
  • In Andover Precinct 9 on 139th Lane, on 142nd Ave, on 143rd Ave, on 140th Lane, on Butternut St, on Quince St
  • In Andover Precinct 10 on 140th Lane and on 139th Lane
  • In Ramsey Ward 1, Precinct 2 on 178th Lane
  • In Coon Rapids Ward 1, Precinct 1 on 130th Lane, on 130th Circle on 128th Ave
  • In Coon Rapids Ward 1, Precinct 2 on Shenandoah Blvd, on Osage St, on Grouse St, on 121st Ave, on 131st Ave
  • In Coon Rapids Ward 2, Precinct 1 on Drake St and on Bluebird Circle



Following Through on Promises

Back in July, when I was door-knocking in Andover Precinct 1, I was challenged by Bob, a small-business owner living in a corner house, to talk to the Sheriff's Department about the rash of thefts - in his case two cars stolen - in the neighborhood, and whether the Department played favorites in not warning or arresting a troublesome neighbor, whose father has been a big deal in Anoka County.

Later in that area, I encountered another man, John, who lived on a street without adequate nighttime lighting - to the point that the neighbors have all added flood lights to illuminate their area - after they too suffered from a series of thefts.

Two different neighbors in Precinct 1 both complained about the speeding in their neighborhoods, especially on roads like Rpund Lake Blvd. and 181st Ave.

One woman in Precinct 8, a neighbor of my opponent Peggy Scott, really did not like my politics, but what I grabbed onto from our challenges to each other, was her growing fears living near Oak Bluff Park, because of what she considers a rowdy, drug-consuming crowd, that used to hide stashes of drugs in the trees just behind the park.

On the other hand, a neighbor of that woman, compliments the current Sheriff, James Stuart, on how much more "on patrol" the Department seems to be in Andover - far less stationing themselves at the area fire stations.


So, this morning, I had a chance to visit with Sheriff Stuart, a warm, soft-spoken, passionate man, a few years younger than myself.

And we had an opportunity to talk about many topics over about 40 minutes - from my introducing myself, to the body cameras legislation that came through Peggy Scott's Committee, to policing philosophies in Andover and the other seven communities they are the contracted police for, to dealing with budget issues here in Anoka County, to Black Lives Matter and the protests that we've seen since last November, to the reports I shared above, to the current organization of his Dep[artment - with his new Chief Deputy, and even to a bit of campaign strategy in reaching out to voters.


I'm not ashamed to say I came away impressed with our Anoka County Sheriff.  I noted he's passionate.  We spent several minutes discussing Anoka County's drug problems - both heroin and meth - and the relationship of Mexican drug cartels on the drug trafficking in Minnesota - in Anoka County.  We have a reputation for meth labs in Anoka County, but part of that is that the labs aren't just hiding here anymore  they get busted, and the business gets displaced elsewhere.  I think Sheriff Stuart is even more passionate about a different type of trafficking - that of young 12-14 year olds girls forced into a thriving sex industry.  In our communities!


Here's a link to the Sheriff's Office's Facebook page.  "Like" them if you can.






Serious Topics

When I knock on doors in my District, I often ask the persons I’m seeing, what issue or concern is on their mind as a voter.  By far, the one theme I hear five, six or more times an evening is the national election.  It doesn’t matter if they lean Republican or lean Democrat – this Presidential election frustrates people – they just don’t like choosing between these two people.

Otherwise, most folks answer that things are good for them, and that no, they just don’t have any issues concerning them at this time.   Frankly it’s refreshing that most voters aren’t quickly jumping on a laundry list of problems and concerns.  I’m glad life is good for many in my community.


But there are issues that are serious, whether they are hidden or not in our communities.


I door-knocked at the home of a friendly acquaintance recently.  She’s a successful woman – wife, mom, good job, nice home… but she’s also faced issues many women in our communities have dealt with too.  She had a job once – a job at which she was regularly sexually harassed… a job where she was denied a promotion because of her gender… a job she was fired from because she’s a woman… no it wasn’t fair, and while I’m glad she’s in a good place now, she should not have had to experience that.  

No woman should have to deal with that.  I’m a male challenging a female incumbent, but where has this legislator been on issues of standing up for women, and making sure that we fight the good fight on behalf of women whose lives have been upended by this continuing thread in our society?


This past winter, I was approached over the phone by a gentleman who wanted to contribute money and volunteer to help my campaign.  When we met, I found him to be a retired African-American fellow from my District.  He’s helping us this weekend with putting up campaign lawn signs.  But he had an interesting comment when we met last Saturday at Panera to discuss the logistics.  He didn’t think he could do it alone in our area; there’s just not enough trust in a single black man coming into our very-white neighborhoods, walking onto people’s yards putting up campaign signs. 

Of course, I asked him to elaborate.  And he shared some of the indignities that he and his family suffer right here in our wonderful communities – as blacks in an extremely white area.  [From city-data.com… in 2013, Andover was 91% white, 1.6% black, 2.3% Hispanic, 2.2% Asian and about 2% other… in 2013, Coon Rapids was 82.3% white, 6.4% black, 4% Hispanic, 3% Asian and about 4.25% other]  He and his family have had racial epitaphs hurled at them while merely standing in their own yard; or they’ve been regularly ‘overlooked’ at area restaurants and not seated by otherwise friendly hostesses.  This type of racism in our area is shameful. 


One of the older residents of Andover that I met while door-knocking told me he’s angry that the Met Council’s 2040 plan requires our area to put up considerable low-income housing in order to better spread our area’s minorities throughout the Metro area over the next 25 years.   He basically came out and said he “doesn’t want those kind of people” living out here – that’s what they moved out here to get away from.   Whoa – boy, was I taken aback.  And I challenged him somewhat.  But his comebacks to me were rooted less in what benefits might be found for others to live out here, and more along the lines of inaccessibility to things without a car, the distances to downtown, the lack of others of their own kind.

Interesting how we can find much to justify our own fears and ignorance.


I met an Andover man named Frank Kellogg while door-knocking in Precinct 8 this past week.   I think more of you should know Frank Kellogg.   He’s currently serving Andover as an At Large Representative on the YMCA Community Center Advisory Commission, and was one of those closely involved in bringing that partnership and that community center to our city.  Mr. Kellogg , through his work at DCI Environmental, is also closely involved in the future of Andover’s Waste Disposal Engineering (WDE) Landfill – that big hill in Andover between Hanson and Crosstown, south of the High School, north of Wal-Mart.  

The PCA is currently involved because of a leak from hazardous materials that were collected and stored at the landfill for a short period in the 1970s.  The now-failed bonding bill included $12million for the removal of the hazardous material waste pit.  This must be a priority for passage in the new 2017 Legislative session. 

Here’s an ABC Newspapers March 2016 link to Eric Hagen’s coverage of the leaking Andover waste pit:  https://abcnewspapers.com/2016/03/11/plans-to-remove-waste-pit-from-closed-andover-landfill/

I appreciate Frank Kellogg for bringing this to my attention, and explaining the back-story to me.  Thank Mr. Kellogg for working on our behalf with both State and Federal officials to resolve this important Andover problem. 

Interestingly, Frank and I both ran for Andover City Council – and both lost – back in 2010, when he and Tony Howard were running to better further the Community Center and related opportunities, and I was running – somewhat naively – on bringing businesses and restaurants and greater development to the City of Andover.



Door-knocking on Friday led me to meet a young father, who was brimming with issues, even as he took a break from mowing his lawn.  He’s looking at making the crossing by Hanson and Crosstown safer, especially with the 2018 plans to widen Hanson up to Crosstown.  Perhaps the County could look at a pedestrian bridge over the road, like was built down near Spring Lake Park High School. 

Another question he raised was why the Comcast cable-TV utility isn’t better price-regulated like our Center Point Energy and Connexus Energy monopolies are.  

Finally, we had a long discussion on the issue of landlords and tenant eviction processes.  He’s renting out a home they owned in Blaine before moving to Andover.  But the person they rented the house to, fell behind on payments, and now refuses to leave – squatting in the home until the Court evicts him from the property. 

Peggy Scott and her husband own about 100 rental properties, but when he sought assistance from Peggy at the Capitol on how to help single-property landlords like himself to alleviate the steps involved in removing people from their own property, he didn’t receive much assistance.  Instead, Peggy turned the conversation to politics, and blamed the Democrats for creating such a system in the first place, with the Tenants Right Act.   The homeowner here wants the squatter removed, but will need to proceed through the costly eviction process, after having given the tenant his legal 14-day notice of the lease termination.  I think Peggy missed a good opportunity to help this gentleman problem-solve the circumstances he was facing.

These are just some of the serious topics our communities need to heed and address.



Have you ever wondered what the other political party is saying – and making up – about your party, behind their own partisan closed doors.   Well, the wonderful progressive blogger, Sally Jo Sorensen at Bluestem Prairie.com got ahold of some footage of Rep. Peggy Bennett addressing a partisan group of Republicans sharing these ‘truths’ about Democrats:

“Among Republican friends, Bennett shares what she thinks of her Democratic constituents. Her remarks begin with the reading of the list, so we're not sure how she introduced this loving (but definitely not-Letterman) portrait of the loyal opposition:

  • Number 10, I vote Democrat because I love the fact that I can now marry whatever I want. I can even marry my German Shepherd.
  • Number 9, I vote Democrat because I believe oil companies profits are 4% on a gallon of gas are obscene, but the government taxing the same gallon 15% is not.
  • Number 8, I vote Democrat because I believe the government will do a better job of spending money I earned than I would. Let me tell you, I heard that over and over again when I was sitting on the floor last year. You're not spending enough, we have a surplus, they would spend it all over time
  • Number 7, I vote Democrat because freedom of speech is fine as long as nobody is offended by it.
  • Number 6, I vote Democrat because I'm way to irresponsible to own a gun and I know that my local police are all I need to protect me from murderers and thieves, I'm also thankful that I have a 9-1-1 service that gets the police to your home in order to identify your body after a home invasion.
  • Number 5, I vote Democrat because I'm not concerned about billions of babies being aborted, so long as we can keep Death Row inmates alive and comfy.
  • Number 4, I vote Democrat because I think illegal aliens have a right to free healthcare, education, and social security benefits and we should take away social security benefits from those who paid into it.
  • Number 3, I vote Democrat because businesses should not be allowed make profits for themselves, they need to break even and give the rest to away to the government for redistribution as the Democratic Party sees fit.
  • Number 2, I vote Democrat because I believe liberal judges need to re-write the constitution every few days to see the fringe groups who would never get their agenda's past the voters. And last but not least,
  • Number 1, I vote Democrat because I think it's better to take pay billions of dollars in oil to people who hate us, but not drill our own oil because it might upset some endangered beetle, gopher, or fish here in America. We don't care about beetles, gophers, or fish in the oil countries, just as long as they're in America. So there ya go, the top ten reasons to Vote Democrat.”



There’s a new PAC in Anoka County – the 763 PAC.   It told us candidates that it wanted us to sign a Prosperity Pledge – and if we don’t they’ll make sure that our voters know we oppose making Anoka County prosperous.   The funny thing is, I love the idea of economic development opportunities here in Anoka County to build on our prosperity.   I just don’t like equating that to the 763 PAC’s insistence on property tax ‘reform’ and doing away with our Fiscal Disparities law that has worked quite well in our metro area for over 40 years, often helping us in Anoka County communities.  

So when you hear or read that I oppose making Anoka County prosperous, treat that bold statement with a grain of salt.


And that is a summary of the serious topics on my mind in the middle of August.





August 19 - Thank You Teamsters Joint Council 32 DRIVE for Your Endorsement of the Wes V for 35B Campaign!

For more - click on the Endorsements Link at this Website!

Why is This Important?

As you no doubt realize, I recently screened with Teamsters Joint Council 32's DRIVE panel, seeking their endorsement. I proudly received their notification by mail, today. Thank you again, Teamsters Joint Council 32 DRIVE!

The Teamsters represent many fellow public employees across Minnesota, so their support is particularly gratifying on that account.


One of their issues for candidates, as I was to discover from Political Director Ed Reynoso, in my screening interview, is their firm opposition to Sunday Liquor sales. Not having worried about this issue personally (we're very occasional drinkers at our home), I assumed most opposition would be on moral grounds, especially from the more puritanical Christian influences.

The Teamsters' opposition is based on economic factors - yes, self- interest, as they frame it - with hundreds of Minnesota teamsters and their families facing eventual lost jobs, should Sunday liquor pass. The great worry is that such legislation opens liquor and wine sales up to the grocery store chains, the Costcos and the Sam's Clubs, and potentially forces smaller operations out of business, impacting the Teamsters who deliver to the smaller liquor store industry. So the Teamsters stand in solidarity with the small business owners and independent chains they work with.

While I recognize many HD 35B residents themselves are open to the Sunday liquor change, the Teamsters offer a compelling argument in favor of keeping one of our historical "Blue Laws" on the books.

There have been a number of items written since 2011 on this topic. I think the best was done at MinnPost in 2011 - which I'll link here (the comments section on this item is particularly insightful, as well!):


Note:  I previously posted much of these comments at the Wes V for 35B Facebook page, earlier today, August 19, 2016 (Happy 70th Birthday President Bill Clinton!)



Rain, Rain Go Away - Losing Too Many Evenings for Door-Knocking the Past Week!



Happy 60th Birthday, Mr. Candidate

Sunday dinner at Texas Roadhouse with my wife and mother-in-law; making time to start a new Dick Francis mystery (from Felix Francis) - love these English horse-racing-connected mysteries; Chocolate on chocolate cake, baked and decorated by my wife; a household of birthday decorations put up by my wife to celebrate; updating and replying to Facebook throughout the day; a birthday visit from the in-laws; a bit of Olympics coverage; and a couple of door-knocking hours right in my own neighborhood - on my own block...  that's a nice way to celebrate a milestone birthday.

And some photos, to boot!







Star Tribune Looks at the "Battle for the Minnesota House"

August 12 news story




Door-Knocking in Precinct 7 of Andover

Now, this is what I associate with Andover Precinct 7, which is my home precinct.  I'm in Chesterton Commons North, the one that the developer failed to give us the big sign announcing it in 2000... but whether you're in Chesterton Commons or Cambridge Estates, or one of the other neighborhoods in Andover 7, it's not unusual to see ponds and other water-related places near our homes.  This was the pond behind my house, back in April.

We've lost door-knocking days to the weather this summer; whether from the excessive heat or excessive rain, it's been tough to stay on schedule.  I don't do humidity well, and sweat rolls down my head.   Thank you to all the lovely folks who take notice, and show concern - whether it's advice to wear sunglasses, to offering glasses of water.  I must say - so many of you are so kind and polite as this stranger attempts to capture your vote this Fall!

So, after the 4-inch-plus rain deluge Wednesday night, here's what our pond looked like on Thursday...


We probably can't take too much more rain right now, without some potential backyard flooding.  Our neighbors, who have yards directly along the pond, already have water several feet into their backyards.

So, I know Andover eyes will be watching the skies today, Friday.  Unfortunately for other parts of the State - for example, out in the Willmar and Olivia areas, more rain is soaking them today.  And the southern areas near Winona and Plainview are watching and worrying today, too.

Legislators don't just represent their own ponds, but have concern for all parts of the State that face weather-related catastrophes.


Interesting conversations with folks... they range from:

  • the upgrade of Hanson Blvd. coming in a couple of years, which will alleviate some major traffic woes on Hanson Blvd. for residents in Precincts 7, 8 and 5 in particular, especially at Andover High School start time in the morning, and coming home from the downtowns and suburbs south of us, between 5 and 6pm... 
  • to questions about safety along Hanson Blvd. from the Middle School north to 161st - should there be guardrails put up to prevent any rollovers or slides onto the bike path or into the water conservation areas?...
  • to talk of the new Dunkin' Donuts franchise that opens in about three weeks in the new strip mall going up at the corner of Hanson and Bunker Lake Blvds, across from Super America...
  • to the impact of pre-K public school funding on the private child care centers - and staff - at places like KinderCare, Children's World, and New Horizons Academy...
  • to the need to protect union rights in Minnesota, and make sure we don't turn into a Right to Work state, or something ugly like our neighbors in Wisconsin have had to deal with under Scott Walker!


Heading into Andover Precinct 8 this coming week!




Campaign Lawn Signs Will be Here Next Week (week of August 15th)

We're planning to get around the area with signs the weekend of August 20-21 - and that following week... 

Thank you to everyone who has agreed to have a Wes V for 35B sign put up in your yard, or on your property!

We've ordered regular 18" x 24" lawn signs, but also some larger 2' x 4' signs and even some much larger 3' x 5' signs for certain locations.


If you want a sign, and we haven't talked to you yet, please use the Volunteer button on this website, and let Wes know!



Thank You SD 35 DFL Chair Patti Rysdam!

Patti and Vice Chair, Peter Miller (her husband) have done a great job all summer of touching base with the three SD 35 campaigns - making sure we're all set for Parades, getting organized for Andover Family Fun Fest - and the up-coming Ramsey Happy Days - and looking out for volunteers in the District to help the campaigns.  Your hard work on our behalf is appreciated Patti!



August 6th:  I've Added a New Blog Message

This first appeared at my Facebook page and the Wes V for 35B Facebook page this morning.  Check out the Blog - "In Support of Those Minnesota Somali-Americans That Donald Trump Attacked Yesterday"



Thank You SEIU-MN State Council for Your Endorsement of This Campaign!

As the campaign rolls into Andover Precinct 7 on President Obama's birthday, we also get to enjoy support from an important labor friend in this State.  My union AFSCME, and SEIU, recently announced they will engage in unity partnerships, emblamatic of their considerable overlap in representation and their close political alliances.   To read further on this, I recommend this recent article from the hard-working labor reporters at Workday Minnesota...




Andover 9:  "I'd Vote for You, If I Could"

One of my favorite door-knocks so far, came on Saturday the 30th.  A young boy of about 9 or 10, answered the door.  I introduced myself and asked if either of his parents were home.  He said they weren't, so I wrote "Sorry I missed you!  Wes" on the back of my campaign lit piece, and asked him to put it where his folks would find it.  I asked if that might be the kitchen table, and he agreed that would be a good spot.  Then he said, "I'd vote for you, if I could."  I smiled, thanked him, then teased - "Now, you're not going to say the same thing if the pretty lady I'm running against comes to your door, too, are you?"  And he emphatically shook his head "No" and said "I don't like girls!"  And I leaned over to him, and whispered to his shocked face, "that might change in 5 or 6 years."


One of the big things going on in southeastern Andover is the coming tearing-up of Bunker Blvd.  I've had a few seniors, in particular, this week, ask if I knew where they would vote for Precinct 9 this Fall.  They're quite concerned that they won't be able to get to the Bunker Park Activities Center to vote - where they have excellent disabilities access - if the road is under re-construction.  Well, Saturday, I came to the house of one of Andover's long-time Election Judges, who usually works the YMCA Community Center where I vote, and reminds me that my Mom, Charity Volkenant, was his fifth-grade teacher.  And he told me, he is moving to his home precinct this year, and that they WILL be voting again at the Bunker Park Activities Center, as they usually do.  Great news, and I'll be sure to confirm it with anyone who asks, as I begin wrapping up my Andover 9 door-knocks!


Some residents have been surprised that with summer two-thirds gone, the Bunker Blvd. project hasn't started yet.   I did some research, and found this information:

Bunker Lake Boulevard (CSAH 116) from Crane Street NW to 1000 feet east of Butternut Street NW in the Cities of Andover and Ham Lake  
Update - The current low bidder is under review by Mn/DOT Civil Rights office to ensure that the submitted bid included sufficient Disadvantaged Business Enterprises. Until such approval is given, the contract will not be approved by the County Board. 



At the Anoka County Fair

July 30th:  This week, I've been door-knocking in Andover Precinct 9 and I've been to the Fair - the Anoka County Fair, that is!  Our Anoka County DFL booth is right by the east entrance - across from the Anoka County Sheriff's display.  I've volunteered for four 3-hour shifts, hanging out with Anoka County Senior DFL Caucus Chair Mel Aanerud, Anoka County County Board Commissioner candidates Maris Schilling and Marsha Van den Burgh, District 35A candidate Andy Hillebregt, SD 35 DFL Senate candidate Roger Johnson and his wife Vicky, District 31 Senate candidate Ricky Englund and his lovely wife Char, House District 31B candidate Sue Larson - and her Mom, and CD 6 DFL candidate David Snyder.

Pictured here:  Wes Volkenant and Roger Johnson.  Photos by Mark Lopez, Anoka.



Wrapping Up Precinct 1 - Familiar Faces

My wife, Cheryl, went out with me Sunday afternoon, as we tackled some of the hard-to-reach homes on "no-parking" County roads in Andover Precinct 1 this afternoon. So she got these first "action photos" (below)of the 'meat-and-potatoes' portion of campaigning with the voters.

We had some interesting stops - an Andover City Council member, a former member of the Andover Planning & Zoning Commission, a long-ago acquaintance from the Methodist Church of Anoka, a former high school classmate, and the brother of a one-time star hockey player at Anoka, who I remember watching while I was an underclassman.

I had a fascinating discussion of the need for parity in farming - from a woman whose family will soon be retiring from a 65+-year family business.

And I talked with a woman who lost a 25-year job a few years ago, had a tough time getting in elsewhere, and three years ago got a $10+ per hour gas station job that paid less than half what she used to earn. What galls her now is that she has three years of experience and is now at the minimum wage @$11/per hour - but so are all the newly-hired people. Her three years means nothing to her employer. "Is it fair?" she asks. Of course, not. She also had some interesting things for me to research on inequities in the MNSure program.

  • Here's an update on 7/25... I researched the Round Lake Blvd. resident's issue with MNSure estate claims and liens on property.   I found two articles in Google News - one detailing the problem last winter, and one discussing the bill Sen. Tony Lourey got passed to deal with the issue - Governor Dayton signed the bill in June.  I printed that second article out, and am mailing it to her tomorrow.  I think she'll be relieved!




Cheryl is a real trooper! She's worked all week as Campaign Treasurer putting together our pre-primary report for the State's Campaign Finance Board, due Monday. She sent it off on Sunday afternoon.

Some highlights from that report: we have received campaign donations from 85 unique individuals (not counting ourselves)... we have received checks from six political action committees.... and we have received funding from two political committees (one a terminating former campaign committee, the other our own SD 35 DFL).

The DFL House Caucus has initiated a new reporting process about the campaign. One of the things they are asking us to track is the number of potential contacts and the number reached, for each two week period.  I've had three reports so far:

  • for the period from 6/17 to 6/28, I knocked at 320 doors, speaking to 144 voters;
  • from 6/29 to 7/10 (losing the 4th of July and two Saturdays for parades and other activities), I knocked at 362 doors, reaching 193 voters;
  • and now, from 7/11-7/24 (losing four days due to rain and excessive heat), I knocked at 378 doors, reaching 196 voters.

So, in about 5 1/2 weeks, so far, covering two wide-spread precincts - and the start of a third Andover area, I've recorded going to 1060 doors, meeting voters at 533 over them - just over 50%!

It's on to Andover Precinct 9 in the southeastern part of the City - between Bunker and Andover Blvds, and east of the track tracks - that I am headed this week!























July Door-Knocking - Mighty Warm

Opportunity to Screen with Farm Bureau for Endorsement - Warm Opportunity


Hot, humid week - and it doesn't get any better Wednesday through Friday.

Should one door-knock in the midst of heat wave advisories, where the "real-effect temperature" will be 105 Wednesday and over 110 on Thursday?  {I chose to stay home Wednesday night.}

But, need to wrap up Andover Precinct 1 - had originally hoped to Tuesday night.


One interesting encounter tonight... got mauled by an overly-affectionate yellow lab - only 11 months old - still being trained... owner was friendly, then apologized and refused the campaign lit. when I introduced myself as the DFL-endorsed candidate. Although I expected him to be an Independent, he indicated he's a firm Republican.

We chatted about his dog and the heat for a few moments, then he commented about voting Republican because 'they care about everyone.'

I chuckled, and held that piece of literature back at him, and asked him to read what Noah Hansen and I had crafted on the bottom of the front side: "Because our legislative activity should focus on caring for ALL the people of Minnesota." - Wes Volkenant

He asked if he could hang onto that piece, as he wanted to read it over. Of course, I said yes.

Mind you, he probably will vote for Peggy Scott. But he sure earned my respect in that moment. And he told me I had earned his just by coming out and door-knocking and meeting folks like him.

I'm not getting to every door. And not everyone is home to meet me. But, this has been a very rewarding experience.

And tracking steps on Fitbit has been interesting too. Here it is nearly Midnight. Today, I was out about 3 hours 15 minutes - a little under my hoped for 4 hours. Am at 15,100 steps and 6.28 miles. Most days have been between 4.5 and 7.5 miles of step[s.

Andy Hillebregt and I were both at Minnco Credit Union in Andover this morning to screen for endorsement. I took vacation from work to meet with six members of the Anoka County chapter of the Farm Bureau. Thank you for meeting with me, Farm Bureau!

The Farm Bureau is a fairly conservative organization, more prone to endorse Republicans, historically. But Andy, a part-time farmer in Ramsey, and our 35A DFL candidate, and I are both looking to broaden our own support.

I'm not sure I earned their endorsement, but I hope I earned their respect. As many who know me, understand about me, I will try to educate myself when I don't know a subject well, or at all. I took time to study the Farm Bureau issues planks, which were the basis for their questions today - on water, on taxes, on transportation, on state regulations....

As I told them today, I don't know how much support they've received from Peggy Scott, Abigail Whelan or Jim Abeler in St. Paul, but with Andy Hillebregt, Roger Johnson and I they can be assured we will open to listening to them and educating ourselves on their issues, should we be elected in District 35 this year!



Andover Precinct 1:  Pension Talk

I continue to door-knock my way through Andover Precinct 1, with its large lots and longggg driveways! 


This week, I've encountered an EdMinn union leader from the Osseo district, and a national regional director for NARVRE - National Association of Retired and Veteran Railway Employees, Inc.   Their main job is to handle the annuity (pension) for thousands of retired rail employees - from engineers to rail clerks!   I was very impressed by Gary, who has also devoted much of his life to making the United Way as successful a program, as it is.   From a pension that is doing its job to one that isn't... 



I also ran into Joe, who's just a few years younger than me, and has worked his life in the trucking business.  He would be looking to retire in about 10 years, but by that point, his pension will probably be non-existent.  His pension was tied up with Central States Pension Fund, which is close to total collapse.  It's a pension for an industry top-heavy with retirees and not enough Joes working today to help keep the fund vibrant.  And it won't get a federal bailout either.



Retirement, and what to do for our retirees, our veterans, our disabled citizens - these folks are on my mind a lot as I walk up and down the streets on Northwestern Andover!




Andover Family Fun Fest, July 9, 2016!

Parade and SD 35 DFL Tent Photos

The SD 35 DFL, Roger Johnson for State Senate and Wes V for 35B campaigns took part in the Andover Fun Fest parade and met voters at our tent on the City Hall grounds.

Pictures by Peter Miller, SD 35 Vice Chair and Cheryl Volkenant, Campaign Treasurer and Candidate's Wife












































A Big Endorsement for the Campaign

Thank you to the Minnesota AFL-CIO!

(See the Endorsements link and side panels on this panel, for more)


Andover Precinct 1 Door-Knocking Experience

Thank you to Andover Precinct 1 DFL Chair Grant Warning for joining me Wednesday night in door-knocking in his home precinct.

Grant and I had some very interesting voter encounters; our first door was a pro-union, pro-DFL IBEW 292 member with enthusiasm for our campaign.

Later, we ran into a documentary filmaker, who's a gun user, but is opposed to the NRA and its support for 'assault weapons' in the general public's hands. Shortly after, we encountered two homeowners who are strongly pro-life. One of the two is a strong supporter of the "Religious Freeedom" movement that was very successful with the Hobby Lobby Supreme Court case. He's particularly upset by the recent 5-3 Supreme Court case that pre-empts many state restrictions on abortion. Grant and I respectfully disagreed, and we had civil discussions at both homes.  Needless to say, however, I don't expect to get their votes in the fall.

Then shortly after, Grant and I met with a lovely 70+ year-old lady, who with her husband, is the adoptive parent of currently five children with disabilities - the youngest of whom is eight. She and her husband are worried about those childrens' future if they can't be there for them. They're upset that the staff they employ to assist the kids have had their wages reduced from over $12 an hour to about $11 an hour. They're looking for some answers. I suggested contacting my friend, Sen. John Hoffman, one of our State's leaders working with the disabled. I also suggested to her, that her staffers, if they're working less than 40 hours a week, might look into applying for public assistance - they may qualify for SNAP and health care assistance.

We can do much if we can help problem solve for people like this couple, who are truly special, not only to those kids, but also to our community!


At the Coon Rapids Fourth of July Parade on July 2nd

... with volunteers - District 31A candidate Sarah Udvig, campaign manager Noah Hansen and his brother Aidan, Ray Zeran of the IBEW, Grant Warning Sr. - Andover Precinct 1 DFL Chair (and the owner and dtiver of a very sweeet 1973 Ford Mustang), Betsy O'Berry and her husband and son, Jeff and Nick Menth, and my wonderful wife, Cheryl!






Good-bye June (Precinct 5), Hello July (Precinct 1)!

As June comes to an end, my first two weeks of door-knocking finds me close to finishing Andover Precinct 5 - just one neighborhood left!  This weekend, we march in the Coon Rapids Fourth of July Parade on Saturday afternoon.  Next week, we move on to Andover Precinct 1, up in the northwest corner of the City!

I've really enjoyed meeting the independents, undecideds and leaning-Democrats of Precinct 5 this month.  From Liza, the pharmacist with some strong concerns about opioids, to Tony, the former union-worker who's probably a Trump voter this year, to Amber, the daughter of my former dentist, to Jerid, the newcomer to Andover who may help my campaign later this fall - I met a lot of good folks.  Even those who turned out to be Republicans, were respectful and polite in stating their support for my opponent.

Voters will have a definite choice this fall, between Peggy's Christian conservativism and my traditional Democratic progressivism!


Cheryl and I Walked the Picket Line in Support of the MNA (Nurses) Strike Against Allina!

June 19, 2016 - Mercy Hospital, Coon Rapids

for more, Check the "News" tab at the top of the page



Two Exciting Campaign Endorsements and Shows of Support This Week!

I am so pleased and honored.  Both of the major public employee unions in Minnesota  - AFSCME Council 5 (my Union) and MAPE - have endorsed my Wes V for 35B campaign and offered support.  See the list of Endorsements at the right and on the Endorsements tab, above.



We Begin Door-Knocking This Week -

June 17th!  

For more information, go to the "Campaign News" tab above!

Helping My Friend Sarah Udvig's Campaign Against Speaker Kurt Daudt - St. Francis Pioneer Days Parade



Saturday, June 3rd - Handing out Udvig stickers along the Parade route!




"The Field is Set"





Peggy Scott - Why?


Why did you vote against the properly-negotiated State Employee contract?

Let the State Administration - a highly skilled negotiations team - do their work, settle their labor union Contracts - and get your nose out of the business of looking over the Administation's shoulder, micro-managing a fair and proper labor settlement!  Meddlesome Republicans!  This should have all been ratified that first week of the Session in March!


Memorial Day Weekend 2016 - "In Remembrance" by the Anoka County Veterans Council at Morningside




Morningside Memorial Gardens is the resting place for Wes Volkenant's parents, Clyde (1929-1994) and Charity (1929-1991) Volkenant.





May 18, 2016 - Officially Filed Candidate for House District 35B!




I filed at the Anoka County Courthouse, as the DFL candidate for District 35B, to take on Republican Peggy Scott in November! 

I would appreciate your continued support and financial assistance in this campaign to take back a DFL House majority in 2017!




Stamp Out Hunger Day 2016

SD 35 DFL Candidates All Join 37B Candidate Susan Witt at Blaine Cub Foods to Help      Load Truck With Non-Perishable Food for        Second Harvest Heartland

Senate Candidate Roger Johnson and 35A Candidate Andy Hillebregt Join Wes Volkenant to Support Our Communities in Need








Meeting Governor Mark Dayton

and Lt. Governor Tina Smith

May 10, 2016


Joining Fellow SD 35 DFL Candidates Roger Johnson and Andy Hillebregt at DFL Headquarters in St. Paul

May 10, 2016



Help Stamp on Hunger on Saturday, May 14th - Leave Bags of Food at Your Mailbox - Wes Volkenant Will be at Blaine Cub Foods Helping Pack Up Your Efforts!



Thank You to the Volunteers Who Made "Wes V for 35B Cleans Up the Park" a Success on Saturday, May 7th at Sunshine Park in Andover!









WES V for 35B Invites You! 



Due to Expected Stormy Weather on the 24th, we Chose to Postpone - and Reschedule for SATURDAY, MAY 7th - 1PM!



Johnson, Hillebregt, Volkenant endorsed by SD 35 DFLers

Published April 19, 2016
ABC Newspapers

Senate District 35 DFLers met April 2 at Coon Rapids Middle School and unanimously


Political advertisement paid for and approved by the candidate.
Committee to Elect Wes Volkenant, 1482 158th Ln NW, Andover, MN 55304
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