Remarkable in the Minnnesota Daily’s endorsement of Mike Griffin was the lack of discussion of any enacted policy, proposed legislation or candidate platform — the work of a legislator.
Mike Griffin has worked diligently for Democratic candidates and progressive causes as an organizer, but his campaign to replace Rep. Phyllis Kahn fails to put forth a compelling issue contrast. What exactly would constituents in 59B be getting if we voted for Griffin? It’s unclear what we would be getting, but we know what we’d be losing. The Daily, caucus attendees and voters should seriously consider what we would be sacrificing if we lost Kahn.
Kahn has represented the University of Minnesota and southeast Minneapolis in the Minnesota House for 40 years. In that time, she’s fought for equality for women, been on the cutting edge of technology and data privacy legislation and provided a uniquely informed voice on matters of science. Kahn has been a vocal and fearless supporter of gay rights and gay marriage for decades. Today, she is supporting legislation allowing Islamic banking for the district’s many Somali residents so they can use financial institutions in line with their faith.
It’s true: Kahn doesn’t look like a whole lot of people in the district; she’s a Jewish hockey-playing grandmother, fluent in French and has a doctorate in biophysics. The good news is Kahn is at her best when she’s representing people who aren’t exactly like her.
Good legislators represent the people who are like them, but more importantly they represent the people who aren’t like them. Good legislators add something to the body; they make it stronger through their expertise. Griffin hasn’t shown depth on any single issue.
Griffin also seems to be misinformed about the practical aspects of the job he’s applying for. According to the Jan. 30 column, “Grassroots for Griffin campaign lacks substance,” Griffin has stated he would vote the same way Kahn does 80 percent of the time. Which begs the question, which side would he be on for the other 20 percent of his votes? Would he vote for a more conservative position? And on what issues? Higher education funding? Gay rights? Taxes? Has Griffin even looked at Kahn’s voting record? I would be shocked if he could find disagreement with even 5 percent of her votes.
The best candidate to represent all of the residents of district 59B is Kahn. Caucus for her proven leadership today.
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