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R.T. Rybak: A Great Leader for a Great City Volunteer Contribute

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Day in the Life: Feb 9

I've been thinking a lot about Mark Dayton today since he made his announcement that he wasn't going to run again. All the political speculation is interesting---whose going to run, who isn't, etc.---- but there is another part of this that I hope comes through as people assess his work.
Mark, in my mind, is one of the most sincere people I know in politics. What you see is pretty much what he is.....and I think he has an overwhelming desire to help people. I've also had the clear sense that one of the things that drives him is a desire to use his office to stand up especially for those who don't have a voice...He seems to get more energy when he's fighting for the little guy.
I first met him when he was running for the Senate and I was running a candidate forum for Residents Against Airport Racket(ROAR). At that time most politicans ran as far away from this issue as possible. He seemed to have no fear.....understood the issue and wasn't the least bit intimidated by the fact that getting involved with this could put him crosswise with some of the most power political and business interests in the state. He proved over the next six years that this wasn't just an act during election time....time and time again when we needed help on this issue he was there.....never once flinching in the face of serious challenges from very powerful people.
I saw this even more directly a few weeks back when I was in Washington getting him up to date on a few issues that face the city at a federal level, especially some of the budget cuts that have fallen hard on those most in need. The passion you see in his face when he talks about fighting for those who are getting forgotten these days is really moving.....it's clear this is about more than tactical politics to him; It's about creating fairness and equity for real people.
I also remember a breakfast he and I had shortly after Paul Wellstone died. It was clear this hit him extremely hard, and in a very personal way. He talked about how he needed to pick up some of the slack for Paul's work. It was a burden he seemed ready to carry, and he seemed energized that he could help complete some of Paul's work. Walking away from the breakfast, I remember thinking that as destroyed as I was about losing Paul, it was made just a little bit easier knowing that Mark would continue some of that fight.
I don't think Mark Dayton will go down as the slickest politican who ever graced the U.S. Senate. And on so many levels I find that refreshing.

2 Comments:

  • At February 10, 2005 at 9:59 AM, Blogger Clare Sorman said…

    R.T.,

    I completely agree with your assessment on Senator Dayton. He is a tremendous legislator with a voting record I agree with, and he will be missed by many. It was big of him to do this, and I mainly support his reasons for doing so.

    It was so comforting after the death of our beloved Wellstone to hear how he would work to continue the fight, and I still remember after that horrible day the picture of him in the capitol with his head down, looking sad and alone. This reflected the feelings we all had in our hearts.

    Now our charge in this wonderful and *STILL BLUE* state of MN is to find a progressive DFL candidate who will promote the issues we hold dear and who will work hard to engage the grassroots. This is a tremeondous responsibility and we are faced with a whole new set of circumstances - who knows what will happen? We can be sure, however, that we DFLers are not going to give up this seat, no way no how. We will do what it takes.

    Hang on - this will be an interesting ride, to be sure.

     
  • At February 15, 2005 at 12:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hi everyone. I'm really sad about Mark dayton dropping out of the race. I have been volunteering and was helping with mailings the day before his abouncement. I think he is a great person and he is a great candidate. Maybe if we could have helped him raise more money he would have stayed on?!!? I'm upset because I don't know who will be watching out for us little people anymore.

     

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