Saturday, August 30, 2008

SD 33 hosts gold coast soiree

Connie Doepke (photo: Doepke Volunteer Committee)Senate District 33 Republicans hosted a well-attended, lively fundraiser at the venerable Lafayette Club in Minnetonka Beach Thursday evening. Beyond local volunteers and candidates, the event attracted Minnesota GOP staff and activists from outside the district.

The event was also a coming-out party for Connie Doepke, the endorsed Republican for House District 33B, who will run against Republican John Hollander in the September 9 primary election. The primary winner will face the DFLer Kim Kang in the general election.

I served with Doepke (pronounced DEP-key), a former Wayzata School Board chair, on the district's Legislative Action Committee several years ago. I know her to be well-versed on education issues specifically, and the ins-and-outs of the legislative process in general. She is an active member of the TwinWest Chamber of Commerce, and currently sits on the Wayzata Citizens Financial Advisory Committee, a citizens committee that oversees district finances.

Naturally, if elected, Doepke hopes to be named to one of the House education committees, where she would be an outstanding contributor in the vein of former Rep. Barb Sykora, who served this district.

Nine-term HD 33A Rep. Steve Smith, who will have a rare DFL challenger this cycle, addressed the audience with the DFL-controlled Legislature's most significant achievements of "the worst session" of his career: spending a $2 billion surplus into a $1.1 billion deficit, and raising the gas tax.

Former state Representative and current candidate for Hennepin County Commissioner (District 7) Jeff Johnson gave a typically energetic update on his candidacy, asking supporters to vote for him in the September 9 non-partisan primary. The top two vote-getters from that election will face each other in the general election in November.

The significance of the event was underscored by the roster of Republicans from outside SD 33 in attendance: Rep. Jim Ramstad (MN-3), state Representative and Third District Congressional candidate Erik Paulsen, House Minority Leader Rep. Marty Seifert (R-Marshall), and Fourth District Congressional candidate Ed Matthews.

A well-dressed group from the Minnesota Young Republicans were also in attendance, which is an encouraging sign at the type of event that typically attracts just the "old guard" who can afford a Lafayette Club membership.

There was also a large screen TV monitor showing coverage of the Democratic National Convention, but more were occupied by the silent auction, the bar, and the outstanding soup-to-nuts hors d'oeuvres table (mea culpa) than by even Barack Obama's acceptance speech.


Shorewood said...

If Connie is so well-versed in education issues, why didn't she get the endorsement of Education Minnesota?

Scholar said...

Education Minnesota can provide the reasons behind their endorsement process, but don't confuse educational expertise with union endorsement.