Friday, July 07, 2006

Johnson, Bonoff, pols mingle at Music in Plymouth

Uncle Sam (Photo: North Star Liberty)
With most of the "public spaces" these days actually under private ownership, it's nice to be able to gather for a truly public event like Music in Plymouth. The event, where people seem to reserve their spots on the lawn earlier in the day every year, is a quintessential community Fourth of July gathering, complete with roasted corn on the cob, fire engines, fireworks, the Minnesota Orchestra, and even a laser light show that at times eerily evoked a real-life game of the 1980 arcade game Tempest.

Although the citizen Plymouth Civic League keeps the event as "civic" and "non-political campaign" as possible, local politicians have made an appearance at Music in Plymouth de rigueur for years, to get some face time with constituents and voters in an informal setting. In 2006, statewide candidates Amy Klobuchar, Tim Pawlenty, and Jeff Johnson made appearances. I greeted Plymouth native Amy Klobuchar, who was cordial in spite of my Judy Johnson for Senate t-shirt. I also shook hands with the Governor as he arrived with his always affable staffer Paul Anderson. After proclaiming July 6th "Music in Plymouth Day" in Minnesota, Pawlenty sat in the grass with a Plymouth family and listened to the orchestra play Aaron Copeland's An Outdoor Overture. Attorney General candidate and three-term state rep for HD 43A Jeff Johnson was naturally at ease with his family at the event, sporting a Plymouth Soccer Association t-shirt with that ubiquitous PSA logo (or so it seems if you have kids in Plymouth).

Rep. Jim Ramstad and Jeff Johnson (Photo: North Star LibertyThird District Congressman Jim Ramstad walked through the crowd and shook hands before the main program began.

State Sen. Gen Olson (R-Minnetrista), who represents a small jigsaw-puzzle piece of western Plymouth in SD 33; and Rep. Steve Smith (R-Mound), who represents the same area in HD 33A, stopped by.

Rep. Steve Smith, Jeff Johnson, and Sen. Gen Olson (Photo: North Star Liberty)
The Republican endorsee for Jeff Johnson's HD 43A seat, Sarah Anderson was also present but apparently not campaigning. The DFL endorsee, Plymouth city council member Sandy Hewitt, was there with t-shirted volunteers and stickers ("Hewitt Can Do It"). House District 43B candidates from both parties were MIA, unless I just missed them in the throng.

SD 43 Sen. Terri Bonoff (DFL-Minnetonka) and her challenger, current Plymouth mayor Judy Johnson, were both present and campaigning with volunteers. It was clearly (almost literally) Mayor Johnson's backyard, but the presence of Bonoff's supporters was significant. Johnson put a creative spin on the ever-present campaign stickers with temporary tattoos, which were popular with the younger people.

At the end of the eveing, Music in Plymouth's world-class fireworks and laser light show (with a rock-concert sound system that astounds me every year with God's own subwoofers) marked the middle of summer and the end of the beginning of campaign season 2006.

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