Friday, November 03, 2006

Contrasting Bonoff and Johnson, in their own words

Candidate statements from Sen. Terri Bonoff (DFL-Minnetonka) and her Republican challenger, Plymouth mayor Judy Johnson, were published in this week's Star Tribune West edition. These statements in the candidates' own words reveal everything that voters need to know about how the candidates would govern for the next four years.

Sen. Bonoff could not avoid injecting three wedge issues into her statement: abortion, intelligent design, and gay marriage. Uniting the middle? More like divide and conquer in "moderate" clothing. Bonoff plays to her base with partisan ideology and FUD, but this tactic is a double-edged sword: it should rile up the conservative base and many moderates as well.

Bonoff and the DFL have decided that the only way they can win this election is to go negative. They can't beat the popular mayor, community volunteer, and face of Plymouth without demonizing her. Look for Bonoff, the Dems, and 527s to spend big bucks on negative advertising this weekend and Monday and Tuesday. Their poison pen belies Bonoff's message of moderate views and consensus building.

In contrast, Mayor Johnson's positive statement in the Strib reinforces what the residents of Plymouth already know: that Johnson is an optimistic leader of integrity who knows how to move a growing community forward in a nonpartisan manner. Said Johnson:
Plymouth is an innovative and efficient city, well-known for its high quality of life and the lowest tax rate of cities over 25,000 in population. I have worked hard to keep our neighborhoods safe, partnered with our local schools in many collaborative efforts, promoted a solid business climate and worked to build a strong park system.

My commitment to leadership, statesmanship and hard work will continue at the Capitol. I have been an active voice at the Legislature for many years. I served at the League of Minnesota Cities as its president and currently serve on the Board of Directors of the Minnesota Transportation Alliance.

As your next state senator, I will focus on: providing an excellent education for our children with accountability and results; moving Minnesota forward by improving roads and better transit options; working to reduce health care costs without sacrificing health care quality; making sure our communities are safe and secure; improving our environment; growing jobs and our economy; and seeking innovation and greater efficiency within the state budget.
A veteran campaigner but a relative newcomer to the partisan game, Johnson has held her own during two Senate campaigns with optimism and tenacity, but politics aren't what really energize her. To Johnson, politics are the necessary crucible that she must survive in order to serve and lead her community forward, to the benefit of all constituents.

Next Tuesday, the DFL brand of negative attack ads, hit pieces, and FUD may carry Sen. Bonoff back to the state Senate until 2010. If that happens, SD 43 will have lost an opportunity to be represented by an executive with over a decade-long record of public service, who has worked with school districts, counties, and cities to solve problems statewide; a policy wonk who can go toe-to-toe with David Strom on TABOR or detail her strategies for environmental protection and affordable housing; an energetic citizen advocate whose deep and wide experiences have well-prepared her for a role of service and leadership in the Minnesota Senate.

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