Bob Olson attended the reception event before the dinner before heading over to Minneapolis for the Human Rights event, where Congressman Tim Walz was a keynote speaker as well.
El Tinklenberg was surrounded by Janet Roberts and Bill Luther at the event. I never saw El in the reception area, but he was at the dinner.
Walz and Ellison delivered short speeches before the dinner and it was great to have spent a few minutes talking to the Congressman!
Senator Klobuchar introduced Senator Tester from Montana. The Senator rocked the house! Having ran in a primary in Montana, the Senator implored the Senate candidates and their supporters to unite behind the DFL candidate for US Senate in 08. If Tester can beat Burns in Montana, Ciresi or Franken can beat Coleman here!
Senator Tester repeated a quote from Senator Wellstone's famous 20o2 speech in opposition to military action in Iraq.
This debate must include all Americans, because our decisions finally must have the informed consent of the American people, who will be asked to bear the costs, in blood and treasure, of our decisions. When the lives of the sons and daughters of average Americans could be risked and lost, their voices must be heard by Congress before we make decisions about military action.
Senator Dayton was highly animated at this event. I must say, the last several dinners Senator Dayton has spoken at, the more animated he is getting. Dayton spoke of Senator Wellstone and his vote in opposition to the war in Iraq. He praised Wellstone as the only incumbent Senator to oppose the vote. He also praised the wisdom of Betty McCollum, Martin Sabo, and Jim Oberstar on their votes against the war as well.
I did ponder how that sat with Tinklenberg, as his position on Iraq has been "I would have supported the decision based on the information available at the time."
Seems like most of Minnesota's leaders in Washington knew 5 years ago this war was wrong.
Congressman Oberstar ended the night with a great speech on the GOP transportation obsructionists who have opposed him at every step of the way.
But...Congressman Oberstar is the chair now, those bills got hearings and were passed!
He did take a good shot at the Carlson, Ventura, and Pawlenty administrations for underfunding transportation. Who served as Ventura's Transportation Commissioner?
Finally, while on the subject of Minnesota transportation commissioners, one of the lowlights this past week was former Jesse Ventura Administration Commissioner of Transportation Elwyn Tinklenberg. Mere hours after the bridge went down, he was being interviewed on KARE-11 TV (our local NBC affiliate) standing in front of the dark Capitol building blathering (there is no better word) about MnDOT's "constant deterioration of the budget, constant layoffs, failure to replace people," etc. Most of what he said was not only not true, but it was crass in the immediate aftermath of the bridge falling down. And for the record, the collective opinion on Tinklenberg in the transportation job was much worse than Molnau's.
I must say, it was a really fun night. I was able to talk to a few Klobuchar staffers I had not seen since the last election, talked to Senator Klobuchar for a few minutes as well as Congressman Walz.
We'll be sure to attend the second annual Founders Day event as well!
BTW, it was great seeing liberal bloggers Beyond Sound Bites and Headlines and Bluestem Prairie there as well.