Three days from now St. Paul will elect a new Mayor.
In an unremarkable campaign there stands one remarkable candidate who should be our next Mayor.
I received a mailing last week from one of the candidates subtly attacking Pat Harris.
It was a boring, unsubstantial little piece and its “attack” was barely noticeable unless you looked closely.
- It belittled the corporate background and experience of Pat Harris by claiming it does not equate the leadership.
- Inconceivably it suggested that Pat Harris supports “band-aid” budget fixes that are not balanced.
- Ignorantly it implies that Harris’s bold proposal to provide a $100 million capital equity fund for minorities gives money to banks and somehow or another not resulting in business growth.
- Finally, it rejects Harris’s proposal for 50 more cops as doing nothing to make St. Paul neighborhoods safer.
The piece, by itself, was a bland attack on Harris.
Yet, it has been at the undercurrent of opposition by some “progressives” against Harris – accusing him, remarkably, of not being a “progressive” but some kind of Shadow Republican or Trojan Horse Norm Coleman.
I know Pat Harris.
I know a lot of Republicans and I know Norm Coleman.
Pat Harris is no Republican.
Pat Harris is no Norm Coleman.
Pat Harris is a leader who has built a lifetime of experience into a solid resume that St. Paul needs to lead our City forward into the next decade.
The United States just got done electing a person as our President who had no requisite skills to be the President.
Besides not having the temperament to be a leader, he lacked, and still lacks, the understanding that the role of the President is to be more than just a guy who tweets and makes promises and demands and stomps his feet when he doesn’t get what he wants.
An attack against Pat Harris because he has the background, the skills, the ideas and the experience and temperament to lead a City is, in a word: Dumb.
I think I’ve been clear that Pat and I are not close friends. We’ve known each other a long time. I have seen Pat work, both in and out of government.
He gets things done.
A trait that we find in fewer and fewer of our elected officials each and every day.
My political leanings, despite what many may claim, are far more complex and complicated today than they have ever been in my life.
I find myself at my own ideological and philosophical crossroads today.
I am neither Democrat or Republican.
Neither Conservative or Liberal.
I guess I just “am.”
I don’t think Barack Obama was America’s best or worst President.
I think George W. Bush and George H.W. Bush, in the rear window of history, will be treated far more kindly than when the left office.
Amy Klobuchar has done a good job for Minnesota as a United States Senator and Al Franken has done a good job for Al Franken.
I think our current Mayor, in his 12 years in office, must be judged, by any measure, as a successful Mayor who has done many good things for St. Paul.
I clearly don’t agree with everything that he did and have opposed his Administration on any number of occasions.
I think the current City Council lacks enough independent thinkers. I have enjoyed seeing Jane Prince emerge as one of those people on the City Council.
In the last few weeks Rebecca Noecker seems to have found the voice I know that many in the business community believed she might possess in being a counterweight to a governmental body that has become far too predictable in its opposition to business interests.
When I say I “am” I mean to say I am more interested in what a candidate for Office is capable of doing today than I am about what political party or ideology they hold – especially when it comes to being St. Paul’s next Mayor.
I respect new energy, fresh faces and different voices in government. I believe our government – from top to bottom – has become stale from far, far too many elected officials staying in office far, far too long.
I didn’t use to believe in term limits. I now support them completely and without distinction.
The direct mail piece reminded me again of why I support Pat Harris when I read this headline: “This election, we’ve heard a lot of ideas. And we know that ideas that are stuck in the past done work.”
Here’s an idea from the past that does work: Experience matters.
Given the choice between new, fresh and different lacking the necessary skills and temperament and any evidence of their ability to lead beyond the words they utter in public and on a piece of campaign literature – or — someone whose lifetime of experience, service to community and accomplishment has built him into a proven leader with a record to back it up — I will go with the latter every single time over the former.
Bringing people together is easy.
Bringing people together who don’t agree with one another – more often than not – is not.
Even more difficult and daunting is bringing people together who don’t agree with one another to actually get something done.
More and more today that is increasingly impossible.
Which is, more and more today, and tomorrow, we need someone who can do just that.
That person is Pat Harris.
I hope you will vote for him.