Published 5:02 pm Saturday, November 9, 2013
All residents of the North Star State can take great pride in the emphasis our state places on education. Referendum levies for operations passed in 88 percent of the districts, the highest percentage since 1980, when the Minnesota School Boards Association began to track the results. As for levy requests for building projects, 90 percent of those ballot measures passed. All this transfers to better education for Minnesotan children and reasons to keep talented workers with families in the Minnesota workforce, rather letting them flee to other states with good schools.
We are pleased with seeing City Council member Betsy Hodges win the race for mayor of Minnesota’s largest city, but voters found the long list of 35 candidates on the ballot rather cumbersome. Some called it “absurd,” “ridiculous” and “silly,” according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune. While we appreciate the city’s leanings toward populism, this is going a bit far. The bar for municipal candidates ought to be raised. Perhaps there ought to be a filing fee in the neighborhood of $200 to $1,000 — something that a modest campaign fund can raise, rather than the $20 anyone can pull out of their wallet. This shows a serious intent. In addition, candidates ought to be required to show a petition of at least 200 signatures. It’s great that voters have more than two candidates, but five or even a dozen would be much more voter-friendly than 35.
If there was one takeaway from the Tuesday elections nationwide, it is that voters want pragmatism, not idealism. They voted not based on Democratic or Republican trends. They voted based on who was the best man or woman for the job — the job of getting work done. It’s clear the partial federal government shutdown had an effect on the election, and we were glad to see moderates win governor races in New Jersey and Virginia. Republican Chris Christie, known for his bipartisan approach despite what party bosses want, won a second term in New Jersey, a rather blue state, and Democrat Terry McAuliffe beat out a staunch conservative to capture Virginia, usually a red state. Most telling was a special GOP primary in Republican-friendly Alabama, where lawyer Bradley Byrne, a favorite of the business establishment, defeated Tea Party-backed candidate Dean Young in a congressional race. Byrne is likely to defeat his Democratic opponent in December. Any political scientist or historian can tell you that moderates on both sides generally are the ones who find the middle ground and get the work of legislating accomplished.