Why RogueOn Minnesota? This is the question I sought to answer for the nineteen people who showed up despite a sunny, sterling Saturday; an anomaly for March in Minnesota. The group appeared diverse upon first glance but I knew that whoever they were, we all shared the commonality of concern about our country. One does not easily give up such a splendid Saturday in Minnesota.
The purpose of the meeting was two-fold: to let people know who we are, what we represent, and hope to accomplish as a group. Secondly, to recruit additional Board members and committee leaders to organize our 185+ Facebook fans and join with other like-minded grassroots groups for effective action for the 2010 elections.
After opening remarks by Rick Brock and me, Norann Dillon spoke to the group. Norann was endorsed by RogueOn Minnesota prior to her endorsement by the GOP on February 27th for Minnesota State Senator in Senate District 43, to run against DFL incumbent Terri Bonoff. We asked her to talk about what we as citizens could do to progress our conservative agenda.
“We need to use the Republican Party, and I mean use,” Dillon emphasized. She warned that the binary mindset in this country must be acknowledged, so for the 2010 election, the strategic course is to avoid third party candidates and put conservative candidates into the Republican Party. “With the candidates we have a momentum; the Federal government makes it very easy. RogueOn can bring people in and turn fed-up energy into meaningful change.”
Dillon spoke about the importance of having a Plan B in case the Republicans do not prevail in the gubernatorial race. “If we win thirteen seats in the Senate, we will have control, “she said. “I am tired of people saying it’s not worth the energy because it’s a doable thing.” Another of her personal goals is to hand out pocket Constitutions to the 39,000 households in her district.
What can we do as individuals to help? In her campaign Dillon asks for three things from her supporters: money, time and networking, noting that no one has to do all three. “You will do more to help if you do what you like,” she said.
Dillon emphasized the importance of supporters hosting candidate “meet and greets.” She favors meet and greets over door knocking because it is less intrusive and gives people more time to learn about a candidate. “It can be simple with ice cream bars on the lawn or Chardonnay indoors. It’s about getting people together and putting the candidate in front of them, “ she said.
Bill Paulsen, a candidate for Minnesota Senate District 25 who unfortunately did not win the GOP endorsement, agreed. “It ultimately comes down to people, “he said. “My greatest success was when I went out and met them face-to-face. Find a candidate you can support and push them to success.”
When the floor was opened to the others, it was confirmed that this diverse group had much more in common than not. Passionate discourse about the impending destruction of America and the principles of the Founding Fathers ensued.
Recurrent themes voiced by participants included taking responsibility for where America is right now. “I was comatose for years and didn’t pay attention,” stated Board member Deane Millington. “In order to have a privilege, we sign away a right,” noted Dillon referring to the privilege of a driver’s license leaving us open to search and seizure. “It’s implied consent; you don’t even think about it.”
Joining forces with other conservatives was another priority to all. “Andrew Nelson was attending as a representative of the Minnesota Tea Party Patriots. “We are networking with like-minded organizations like Minnesota Majority to look at where we can work together toward the common goal,” he said. Minnesota Tea Party Patriots is a grassroots, non-partisan movement aimed at bringing fiscal responsibility, limited government, and free-market principles back to our government, Nelson explained. “We will have a greater impact if we focus on what we have in common,” he said.
Lee Swanson from Minnesota CD6 concurred. “Look at the people in this room,” he said. “We are conservatives. We don’t want to split our vote. A lot of the RINOs are on the run. That is why we can have some success here if we stick together. We have the best chance of success through the Republican Party. We have to make the best of what we have; we don’t have a perfect world.”
Josh “JD” Hendrickson, administrator of True Patriots Network agreed. “I generally classify myself as a recovering Republican,” he said. “Focus on what we have in common. Let’s look at where we are as Americans. Look at freedom. Freedom. Freedom and the Constitution.”
RogueOn Minnesota member Ruel Russell echoed the sentiment that the GOP endorsed candidate is imperative. “The endorsed Republican candidate has an advantage,” he said. “Would you rather have an idiot in there or one that you agree with 80 percent of the time?”
Dennis Holman, RogueOn Minnesota Board member and GOOOH (Get Out Of Our House) state administrator, said he came to RogueOn Minnesota to work at the state level because it was an active group. “GOOOH focuses on the U.S. House of Representatives but at RogueOn Minnesota I can help influence the state office,” he said.
Russian immigrant Val Scheglowski from 43B warned the group that what is happening in the United States now is what happened in Russia in the past. He is involved with political grassroots organizations to help prevent America from suffering the same fate. “I have no place to run,” he said referring to what would happen if we lost our freedom.
Focusing on the issues and avoiding negativity and personal attacks towards the other side was another priority for all. The need to help educate the public on the values and principles of the candidates was also agreed on and a new Education Committee was established with Ben Simon from CD3 as Director of Education. The group also gained another Board member, Director of Events Debbie Mudder from CD5.
The importance of becoming election judges, being active in one’s BPOU, and holding those elected, accountable, were also discussed. Scott Smith, administrator for Minnesota Nullification of Unconstitutional Federal Actions, said his priority would be to just focus on Minnesota and start at the bottom with the Brooklyn Center City Council and work his way up.
Brock said that he is looking at the 2010 elections as a dress rehearsal for the big one in 2012. “Everything we learn this year we are going to use as we move forward with an early start in 2011,” he said.
Vietnam veteran Russell offered an encouraging conclusion to the group, “This is no different than fighting a war overseas. All of us are fighting for our country. Give a round of applause for yourself for just being here.”
Why RogueOn Minnesota? I’ll let you answer that for yourself.
For more information about RogueOn Minnesota and our principles, check out the About RogueOn Minnesota page.