Star Tribune: 5th District DFL primary features experience, symbolism

The suddenly-open slot has sparked a debate over how much and what kind of experience matters in a politically volatile era in which many party activists are looking, most of all, for a fighter. 

By Maya Rao Star Tribune

JULY 1, 2018 — 11:01AM

Key Passages

Margaret Anderson Kelliher, a former state House speaker, was once among the state’s most powerful Democrats, battling former Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty on health care, transportation and his efforts to cut state budgets. 

Margaret has the unique capability of being somebody who’s a fighter and who can also get results — that was the hallmark of her time when she was in the Legislature, going up against the Pawlenty administration who wanted to take away health care and who wanted to slash the budget.
— Former Rep. Tony Sertich

One of her most notable accomplishments: working with the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce and a half-dozen GOP lawmakers to orchestrate a legislative override when Pawlenty in 2008 vetoed a $6 billion transportation bill that included a gas tax.

During the Great Recession, Kelliher led the DFL’s fight against Pawlenty’s steep budget cuts. DFLers wanted to raise taxes to help close the massive budget deficit and offset spending reductions. People involved in a program that Pawlenty cut filed a lawsuit against the governor that contested his authority to make unilateral spending reductions, and the House filed an amicus brief in support of the plaintiffs.

“It is rare for a legislative body to join in suing a governor over anything, and that separation of powers is actually one of the reasons I am running right now, because I think Congress has lost its way on this issue,” Kelliher said.