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State Issues Dominate Local DFL Caucuses

Opposition to proposed state constitutional amendments was a major theme.

In a year when the DFL presidential nominee is uncontested, Minnesota issues took center stage at the Senate District 44 DFL caucuses Monday night.

Betsy Baker, the Senate District 44 DFL chairwoman, said this meant a lot of people taking passionate stands against proposed changes to the Minnesota constitution. A proposed amendment that would is already on the 2012 ballot, while Republican legislative leaders are pushing additional amendment proposals this session, including one that would at the polls.

A few St. Louis Park precincts also presented resolutions against a proposed freight rail reroute through the city (see attached PDF at right), though Baker said such a local issue probably wouldn't carry much steam at the senate district or congressional conventions, which are coming up later this year.

In Hopkins, similar discussions over proposed constitutional amendments were had. Eric Margolis, the state DFL affirmative action officer and Hopkins caucus organizer, said while turnout wasn't as high as it was in 2008—when Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton were jockeying for the DFL nomination—there was still plenty of excitement and energy.

“I saw people excited about re-electing the president and (U.S.) Sen. (Amy) Klobuchar,” he said.

Some of that excitement arose from new citizens participating in the caucuses for their first time—a product of the DFL’s . 

Precinct 2 offered a good example of the mix. The precinct is home to former state senator and DFL gubernatorial candidate Steve Kelley, who attended Tuesday’s caucuses.

But it is also home to Fartun Weli, an executive director of a Somali women’s health program who received her citizenship in August and was selected as a delegate for the district convention.

“(Kelley) had a lot of new faces in his precinct,” Margolis said.

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