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

 

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.

http://www.facebook.com/Anoka-County-Sheriffs-Office-207177445980522/?fref=ts

 

 

 

 

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.”

http://www.bluestemprairie.com/bluestemprairie/2016/08/lettermandate-rep-peggy-bennett-recites-fake-top-ten-list-to-freeborn-county-gop-picnic.html

 

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!):

https://www.minnpost.com/…/sunday-liquor-sales-who-fighting…

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

http://www.startribune.com/deep-look-at-the-battle-for-minnesota-house/388851762/

 

 

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"

http://wesvfor35b.org/blog/?viewDetailed=00017

 

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...

http://www.workdayminnesota.org/articles/afscme-seiu-announce-unity-partnership

 

 

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. 

http://www.anokacounty.us/1578/Construction-Weekly

 

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!

http://www.kare11.com/news/bill-helps-tens-of-thousands-plagued-with-mnsure-estate-claims/233614292

http://www.duluthnewstribune.com/news/health/3947771-some-shocked-estate-claims-after-signing-mnsure

 

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!

http://l.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.fbmn.org%2Fpriority-issues&h=oAQFZY28w

 

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... 

http://narvre.org/

 

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.

http://money.cnn.com/2016/05/20/retirement/central-states-pension-fund/

 

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"

http://abcnewspapers.com/2016/06/01/field-of-candidates-for-primary-races/

 

 

 

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!

http://www.kare11.com/news/community/stamp-out-hunger-from-your-mailbox-on-may-14/177870287

 

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!

Photos:

 

    

 

    

 

    

 

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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