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Veto Override - Six House Republicans

Page history last edited by jost0039@... 13 years ago

 

The pressures to follow the party line, and what happens when you don’t, became apparent after the late February veto override of the transportation funding bill.

 

Eight members of the Republican Party voted with the Democrats on 25 February 2008—six representatives and two senators; however, only the six representatives, not the two senators, have felt and experienced any repercussions. The two senators were Steve Dille (District 18, Dassel) and Dennis Frederickson (District 21, New Ulm). [2]

 

The six representatives that broke ranks with the Republicans are:

 

Rep. Bud Heidegerken (District 13A, Freeport) Rep. Rod Hamilton (District 22B, Mountain Lake)

Rep. Ron Erhardt

(District 41A, Edina)

Rep. Neil Peterson

(District 41B, Bloomington)

Rep. Jim Abeler

(District 48B, Mountain Lake)

Rep. Kathy Tingelstad (District 49B, Andover)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photos provided by the Minnesota House of Representatives

 

 

So what has happened to these six individuals? Some spoke to the media and some did not, but House Minority Leader Marty Seifert says that all knew there were consequences if they voted against the party.

 

Bud Heidegerken

 

Heidegerken said, in reference to Pawlenty’s no new tax pledge, “His hands are tied. Mine aren’t. And he can’t do because of that what’s perhaps right for the state of Minnesota.” [2]

 

After the vote, he says he was forcefully removed from his leadership role on the K-12 Finance Committee. "I was told that if I don't fall in line, this is what is going to happen. I had to weigh it. Is this a good bill? Yes it is. We sat for 20 years and did nothing." [3] He also said, “The message they are sending me is that ‘We don’t want any independent-minded people.’ I’ll always stand up for what’s right. If that means my election, then I don’t deserve to be here.” [4]

 

Rod Hamilton

 

After the veto override, Hamilton voluntarily resigned as the top Republican on the Agriculture, Rural Economies and Veterans Affairs Committee. [3]

 

Ron Erhardt

 

Erhardt was co-sponsor of the bill. He said before the first vote, “There’s so much behind the scenes and thumbscrews and everything else, arm-twisting, whatever you want to call it, going on now.” [2]

 

After the veto override, Erhardt said he told Seifert, “I am not going along with this foolishness. If you have to get rid of me, fire me.” As a result, he says he was forced to give up his leadership role in the Property Tax Relief and Local Sales Tax Committee. [4]

 

Erhardt also said, “This is the way we are treated if we vote our districts and vote our consciences and vote our feeling that we are doing the right thing for the state.” [4] He also lost the Republican endorsement for reelection, but is considering running in the primary or as an Independent. [5]

 

Neil Peterson

 

Before the first vote, Peterson said, “I want to get a transportation bill done. Somebody needs to step forward and take the lead. What I’m hoping is that the governor will just stand aside and let it happen.”

 

After the veto override, he was removed as an assistant minority whip [4] and lost the Republican endorsement for reelection. [6]

 

Jim Abeler

 

Abeler says he did consider Pawlenty’s position on the bill before the first vote, but he also said, “I do represent 40,000 people.” [2]

 

After the veto override, he gave up his leadership role in the Health Care and Human Services Committee. At his endorsing convention, he was two votes short of the number needed for the Republican endorsement for reelection endorsement. The party did not endorse him or anyone else. [6]

 

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Kathy Tingelstad

 

Before the first vote, Tingelstad said that although she was leaning towards a “yes” vote, Pawlenty might have been able to change her mind if he had “some secret formula that’s going to solve all the transportation problems.” [2]

 

After the veto override, Tingelstad said she gave up her leadership role in the Capital Investment Committee. She also said she believes she did what was right and that she would “sleep good tonight,” [3] but that she would also have competition for Republican nomination in her reelection bid this fall. After the party voted to postpone her endorsement, Tingelstad decided not to run for reelection. [7] 

 

During a MPR Midday interview, she said, "I was told going in that that (giving up her leadership role) would be the penalty of the vote ... I felt like I made the right decision and I have to stand up with the retribution of what happens with the vote I took." [8]

 

In addition to being disciplined by the Republican party, the six overriders were featured (as of 13 April) on the main page of the Taxpayers League of Minnesota website. [9] It shows a poster of the six Republican representatives along with the text:

 

“Hold onto your wallets, Minnesota!

The state legislature just passed a $6.6 BILLION TAX INCREASE.

WANTED: OUT OF OFFICE

These are the Republicans that joined all the House Democrats to raise YOUR taxes! (The poster shows photos of the six representatives, along with their last names and their cities)

Their vote to override Governor Pawlenty’s veto means you’ll be paying for one of the LARGEST TAX INCREASES IN MINNESOTA HISTORY”

 

References:

 

1. Minnesota Public Radio, Votetracker – Transportation Finance Bill. Retrieved 13 April 2008.

2. Winona Daily News, Not all votes are equal in Minnesota transportation debate. Retrieved 11 April 2008.

3. StarTribune.com, House, House, Senate override a Pawlenty veto for the first time. Retrieved 5 April 2008.

4. Minnesota Public Radio, House Republican who voted to override Pawlenty won't run again. Retrieved 13 April 2008.

5. Minnesota Public Radio, Pawlenty, Republican leaders circle the wagons after gas tax defeat. Retrieved 5 April 2008.

6. Minnesota Public Radio, Veto override vote costs two Republicans. Retrieved 5 April 2008.

7. Minnesota Public Radio, House Republican who voted to override Pawlenty won't run again. Retrieved 13 April 2008.

8. Minnesota Public Radio, GOP coming apart at the seams? Retrieved 11 April 2008.

9. Taxpayers League of Minnesota, http://www.taxpayersleague.org/. Retrieved 13 April 2008. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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