Ortman, Hoppe and Leidiger have lots of time for hobnobbing with donors, no time for you [UPDATE]

We’ve spent a lot of time lately chronicling the Carver County GOP’s misadventures with their shooting clays fundraiser slash influence-peddling auction targeted at lobbyists.  But let’s not forget that Senator Julianne Ortman is prepping for a September 21 fundraiser in St. Paul with tickets starting at $100 a person.

Maybe Ortman and her House colleagues Joe Hoppe and Ernie Leidiger should grace the general public with a town hall meeting so they can hear what the public — and not their patrons — have to say.  By my calculations (and open to correction if I am wrong), our Carver County legislative delegation hasn’t held a town hall meeting since 2007.  If Hoppe were any more low-profile since the session ended, he would be underground.

[UPDATE]:  There’s been a good back-and-forth with Jim Sanborn in the comments below.  Sanborn is correct that Senator Ortman has been attending many local city council and school board meetings over the last month, and she had the highest level of visibility of the delegation at the various community parades and festivals this summer.  It should also be pointed out that the $100 donation for the Ortman fundraiser is the “recommended” donation, not a requirement.

To reflect that, I have changed the featured photo on the post.

As noted in my most recent comment below, however, I stand by pointing out that both the auction and the Ortman fundraiser target people outside of the district for fundraising purposes.

In the 2010 election cycle, 70% of Ortman’s itemized individual contributions came from outside the district, and she raised more money from Political Action Committees than her DFL State Senate opponent AND the DFL State House candidate in 34A combined.  Given the grief that DFL candidates receive for the funding they get from union PACs, it seems worthwhile to point out the other side of the coin.

And I will continue to call for our legislative delegation to hold a town hall meeting.


4 Responses to “Ortman, Hoppe and Leidiger have lots of time for hobnobbing with donors, no time for you [UPDATE]”

  1. I can’t speak for Reps Leidiger and Hoppe, but Sen Ortman has been very public and available all over the County recently (these are from her website http://www.julianneortman.com):

    September 6th:
    Waconia City Council
    New Germany City Council

    September 12th:
    Norwood-Young America City Council
    Waconia School Board
    Victoria City Council
    Chanhassen City Council

    September 13th:
    Watertown City Council Meeting
    Hamburg City Council Meeting

    September 16th:
    3:00-4:00PM – Address to Crown College Students

    September 19th:
    6:30PM – Carver City Council Meeting
    7:00PM – Chaska City Council Meeting

    September 26th:
    6:30PM – Mayer City Council Meeting

    While these aren’t the ‘townhall’ format, these are public meetings, open to the public, and (from my experience) mostly poorly attended. I know that these various local leaders and the Senator would appreciate public feedback.

    And yes, the Senator is having a fundraiser September 21 ~ actually the ‘suggested’ donation is $100, not the minimum.

    • Jim, I would certainly agree that Sen. Ortman is in a different league when it comes to communicating with her constituents compared to the county’s House delegation. She has been considerably more visible than her colleagues, Rep. Hoppe and Rep. Leidiger.

      I still think (at least) yearly town hall meetings would be useful.

  2. While I appreciate the backhanded compliment, you should probably not feature Senator Ortman’s photo, criticize her fundraiser (FYI campaigns cost money) and lump her in with the House members in a piece like this. It’s yellow journalism, and you’re better than that.

    Historically, Legislative Town Hall meetings in Carver County have been cheerfully ignored by the residents and very sparsely attended. While town halls are not a bad idea, they just don’t seem very popular in our area.

    • The problem I have with her fundraiser is that it’s in St. Paul, which falls in line with the auction scheme of targeting folks outside of the district for fundraising purposes. It’s certainly not illegal, but it’s worthy of pointing out. Just as folks in your party have done frequently to Democrats who fundraise outside of their district — I remember much complaining about Al Franken tapping into his connections in New York and Hollywood, for instance.

      As I pointed out above, the last town halls that I’m aware of were held in 2007. The legislative sessions since then have been hotly contested, and the town hall meeting has certainly gained additional prominence since the health care reform debate. Perhaps what was true then wouldn’t be true today. If they hold a town hall and only seven people show up, fine — don’t hold one next year. But why not give it a shot again?

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