Otter Tail County DFL

Indivisible Up-Date

Otter Tail County DFL Party encourages individuals to join a group or form their own group using this guide.  I would ask that you let me know so I can keep everyone informed


We don’t usually start our weekly updates by quoting Paul Ryan, but this time he said it best: “Obamacare is the law of the land.”

On Friday, you achieved something no one imagined was possible: you stopped Trump and Paul Ryan from taking health care away from millions of Americans. They thought it would be easy—but then you showed up.

An insider’s account of how you defeated Trump’s top legislative priority. As former congressional staff, we can tell you exactly how this went down. Trump and Ryan were in a bind. With no Democratic support, they needed to pass a bill that would satisfy both the extreme right and the purple-state Republicans. Your constituent power, asserted week after week over the last few months, ultimately made this political calculus impossible.

Your relentless constituent pressure ensured that TrumpCare was deeply unpopular before it was even introduced. That unpopularity made it easy for the far-right Republicans to oppose the bill. Ryan and Trump needed those far-right votes, so they tried to offer more extreme concessions to win them over. Those extreme concessions spooked the purple-state Republicans, who started to bolt. Why? Because of intense pressure from their constituents (i.e. YOU). Suddenly, the bill was losing votes from both the far-right and the purple-state Republicans. In a matter of days, the congressional coalition behind Trump’s top legislative priority simply collapsed. TrumpCare was toast.

TrumpCare was terrible, but terrible legislation passes all the time. The difference this time was that you were organized and determined. You mounted a sustained, nationwide resistance that broke the will of the Republican caucus and derailed Trump’s agenda. Politics is the art of the possible, and you changed what was possible. You stood indivisible and it worked—and people will literally live longer, healthier lives as a result.

So What’s Next?

The Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) survival is a big blow to Trump, but, unfortunately, he isn’t done yet—he’s still got a long list of atrocious policy priorities that he’s trying to get through Congress next. So we’ve still got work to do. Here’s what’s coming up next:

·   Keep your Members of Congress (MoCs) accountable on health care. Got some time today? Just because there was no vote doesn’t mean your MoC doesn’t need constituent feedback. Visit your MoC’s local office and let them know how you feel about their stance (or lack thereof) on TrumpCare. And let them know that you’re going to keep watching out for any new attacks on the ACA down the road. While Trump and Ryan have retreated “for the foreseeable future” (to quote Ryan again), this fight may not be over—stay tuned for more resources you can use to keep defending the ACA over the next congressional recess and beyond.

·   Protect the Supreme Court for decades to come: no cloture on #SupremelyExtreme Gorsuch. Last week’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearings on Neil Gorsuch were more of the same for the Trump administration: an extreme nominee attempting to defend his record of standing with corporate power instead of the American people. To ensure Gorsuch doesn’t roll back civil rights, women’s rights, labor rights, and many other rights for years to come, we need the Senate to show some serious spine.

o The important vote for Gorsuch is the “cloture” vote. Voting for “cloture” means voting to cut off debate and end a filibuster. This vote requires 60 votes to succeed, which means Senate Republicans CAN’T win this on their own—they don’t have enough votes. Ask your Senator (regardless of party) to vote “NO on cloture” for Gorsuch—check out our newly updated script on this here.

·   Keep the pressure on Congress to force the release of Trump’s tax returns. On Tuesday at 4 p.m., the House Ways and Means Committee will hold a markup on H.Res. 186, a Resolution of Inquiry directing the Secretary of the Treasury to provide the House of Representatives with Trump’s tax returns. Tell your MoC to cosponsor this resolution: here’s the script.

·   Shed some sunlight on Trump’s Russia ties. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) thinks he can get away with moving hearings behind closed doors. It’s clear that he can’t be trusted to lead an unbiased investigation. Tell your MoCs that it’s time to take Nunes off the case and put the investigation in the hands of a nonpartisan, independent commission, in full view of the American people.

o Tell your Representative to cosponsor H.R. 356, the Protecting our Democracy Act, which would create a special commission to investigate Russian interference into our elections.

o Tell your Senator to cosponsor S. 27, which would similarly create an independent commission to investigate Russian interference in our democratic institutions.

·   Protect Americans’ privacy from corporate greed. Last week, while many of us were focused on defending health care, Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans passed S.J. Res. 34 on a narrow, party-line vote. This bill would block the Federal Communications Commission from regulating large internet service providers (think Comcast) in their efforts to sell the troves of information they gather about you without your consent. The House is poised to vote on this measure, H.J. Res. 86, this week. Call your MoC and tell them to protect your privacy and side with ordinary people over powerful corporate interests. Here’s the script.

Resist the Trump agenda—and sound smart at barbecues

Our latest explainer on the legislative process covers appropriations: the process by which Congress decides how the government spends money. If you’ve been wondering about Trump’s appalling budget proposal and whether he can really get away with cutting things like PBS, here’s a great place to start: Legislative Process 101—Appropriations (or “Keeping the Lights On”).

Get ready for recess

You did amazing work over February’s congressional recess, and we can’t wait to see what you’re going to do next! You’ll get a chance to show off your skills and creativity again from April 8–23. Now is the time to start asking your MoCs when they’re planning to hold town halls during the upcoming recess. If they refuse to tell you, check out our Missing Members of Congress Action Plan, which shows you how to take control of the situation. And we’re busy putting together exciting new recess resources that will be ready for you next week!

Last week’s victory was so important—and not only because you saved the ACA, but also because you proved without a doubt that standing indivisible works. Last week we stood indivisible, and we won. And we’re just getting started.

In solidarity,

The Indivisible Team

P.S. We want to amplify your group’s voice! Keep sharing your pictures, videos, and stories with us at

Ken Martin reelected Party’s Chairman

Martin reelected to serve fourth term as chairman of
Minnesota DFL Party
Members of the Minnesota Democratic Farmer Labor (DFL) Party have reelected Ken Martin to be the Party’s chairman and Marge Hoffa to be the Party’s Vice Chair. Martin, of Eagan, and Hoffa of Minnetonka were elected to their fourth term at the DFL Business Conference held Saturday, March 4 in Hinckley.
“I am honored to serve the best Democratic Party in the United States,” Martin said. “Minnesota has a strong reputation for engaged Democrats who volunteer their time and resources to elect leaders committed to our progressive values. We can be proud that the DFL Party is committed to electing candidates dedicated to creating opportunities for success for all Minnesotans.”
Under Martin and Hoffa’s leadership, the Party rebounded from a crippling debt and now has a solid financial foundation; a DFL governor was elected to a second term for the first time in 28 years; all of Minnesota’s congressional leaders have won reelection; and all state constitutional officers are DFLers. The DFL was proud to be part of the “Raise the Wage Coalition,” which was successful in seeing an increase in the minimum wage and the “Freedom to Marry” campaign which made it legal for people to marry the person they love two years before it was a national law.
“I am honored to continue serving our DFLers alongside my good friend Ken. We’ve had many victories over the last six years, but we’ve had defeats, too,” Hoffa said. “Thankfully DFLes are not afraid of hard work. If anything, taking back DFL majorities in the Minnesota legislature and Democratic control of the U.S. Congress and being a voice for people who do not always have a voice unites us.”
As chairman and vice chair of the Minnesota DFL, Martin and Hoffa have worked under a “Build to Win, Build to Last,” program. The Party needs to be about more than just the next election or the next leader; the Party needs to be about raising the resources, engaging DFLers across the state and bringing together progressive groups with the same vision – to elect candidates who share DFLers values. Through the Build to Win, Build to Last program, Martin and Hoffa have lead a Party that has become more inclusive, provides training opportunities and supports infrastructure at the local level.
“Working closely with DFLers from across the state, we’ve accomplished a great deal, but as long as we have a society where everyone doesn’t have opportunities to success, our work is not done,” Martin said. “I can speak for Marge, Shivanthi, Jacob and Tyler when I say that we appreciate the opportunity to lead this great Party for the next two years and are excited for what’s ahead.”
Also elected at the Business Conference were Shivanthi Sathanandan, re-elected as the Outreach Officer, Jacob Grippen re-elected as the Secretary Tyler Moroles as the Treasurer.


Let your Representatives know how you feel

An old Nigerian Proverb says, “In times of crises, the foolish man builds walls; the wise man builds bridges.” This is a time when bridge building is more important than ever. If you want to communicate with leaders who have power over policy issues which will affect us, building a bridge with comments and conversation may be effective. You might want to phone the RNC 202-863-8500.

Following is a resource to facilitate reaching out to legislators. You may want to expand to legislators of both parties.

This list is a start:

Congressman COLLIN PETERSON  DC  202-225-2165

DETROIT LAKES   218-847-5056

Senator AL FRANKEN   DC 202-224-5641

ROCHESTER 507-288-2003     DULUTH 218-722-2390

MOORHEAD 218-284-8721   ST. PAUL  651-221-1016

Senator AMY KLOBUCHAR  DC 202-224-3244

MOORHEAD 218-287-2219     ROCHESTER  507-288-5321

ST.PAUL 612-727-5220        VIRGINIA MN  218-7419690

Senator CHUCK SCHUMER    DC  202-224-6542

NEW YORK  212-486-4430

Congresswoman NANCY PELOSI   DC 202-225-4965

SAN FRANCISCO 415-556-4862

You may want to contact:

Senator Lisa Murkowski  (202-224-6665) and Senator Susan Collins (202-224-2523)

THANK THEM for not supporting Betsy DeVos for Education Secretary.

What to do? What to do?

Post Election: What do we do now?

with Jack Fussell

Episode 55


Regardless of who you voted for, no one can deny that this election has been emotional.  This election, and many others around the world, have revealed some deep cracks in our humanity.  Many of us are afraid of anyone who doesn’t look and act just like we do. It’s easy to feel disappointed and hopeless when we see all that is broken.  So what do we do now?

We can wait for another election…hope for another candidate to say the right things…wish that things turn out ok….or…..there is another option.  What if we started solving problems?

Government can be good at a lot of things such as collecting taxes, providing infrastructure, administering laws and protecting through police and military, but one thing they don’t do well….and honestly can’t do well is love humanity.  The issues that this election has brought up…our fears, hatreds,frustrations and hurts can’t be solved by laws or policies but they can be solved by us.

What do we do now?

Find the problem that bothers you the most.  Out of all the news coverage and dialogue that you’ve watching what hurts the most.

Find (be) the solution.  What can you do to fix it?  How can you become the remedy to the issues you see?

Invite others.  Instead of blaming, complaining, pointing fingers…what if we simply invited others to help us love, heal, serve, lead, support the humanity all around us?

We can’t wait until the Inauguration for these problems to be solved.  We definitely can’t wait until 2020 for them to be solved.  We can do it today.  What do we do now?  We do what we do best…we see problems and we solve them.

Rural Voters


Why rural voters no longer vote Democratic in Minnesota and elsewhere


PUBLISHED: November 24, 2016 at 9:00 am | UPDATED: November 25, 2016 at 10:27 am

U.S. Rep. Collin C. Peterson of Minnesota is one of the last members of a dying breed: the rural conservative Democrat. He has represented Minnesota’s 7th Congressional District for a quarter-century, since 1991. The district encompasses most of the western half of the state. It’s farm country, a broad swath of fields and open prairie running from the South Dakota border all the way up to Canada.

The people Peterson represents are overwhelmingly white and moderately conservative. According to the Cook Political Report, Peterson was one of nine Democrats sent to Congress from a district that voted for Romney in 2012.

Most counties in Peterson’s district swung hard toward Trump this year, by margins of 20, 30, 40 percentage points or more. But Peterson himself still earned 52.5 percent of the vote, enough to head to Congress for a 14th term.

In a conversation with the Washington Post, Peterson said that Donald Trump owes his victory to rural voters who feel they’ve been abandoned by a Democratic Party that has become increasingly urban and liberal. That abandonment has happened in part because of Republican efforts to gerrymander Democratic voters into tightly packed urban districts, he said. Few Democratic lawmakers now represent rural districts such as Peterson’s, where voters care more about agricultural policy and trade than they do about gun control, LGBT issues or questions about minority representation.

Unless Democrats are able to regain control of governorships and statehouses before the 2020 Census to “un-gerrymander” the districts, that dynamic’s not likely to change, no matter what policy proposals Democrats put on the table.

The following transcript has been edited for length and clarity.

The Washington Post: What kind of things had you been hearing from voters in this district in the run-up to the election? What issues and policies were people concerned about?

Collin Peterson: They talked to me about farm programs and farm prices. Different specific issues that deal with agriculture. But I could tell something was going on. Just the amount of Trump signs that were out there.

Post: More than usual?

Peterson: Way more. It was clear that (the number) just kept growing, and there were no Clinton signs. People were fed up. It was kind of interesting: They didn’t really want to talk about it too much. And then after the election, it’s kind of like they’ve been unleashed.

Post: What do you mean by “unleashed”?

Peterson: A lot of it is backlash against all this political correctness that’s going on. That’s what I hear from people, and I was hearing that before the election, too.

They don’t like the government telling them what to do or telling them how to live their lives. They think (the government is) coddling people, like when people’s feelings are hurt at the colleges and they send somebody in to make them feel better. Stuff like that drives (voters here) crazy.

I heard a lot about the Affordable Care Act, too. About how people in the individual market were getting clobbered with all these increases, which is a legitimate issue. You know what the economics are like in Red Lake County. There’s no way a family can pay $15,000, $20,000 a year for health insurance and make it work. You just can’t do it. It’s got to change.

I always run ahead of the ticket (compared to Democratic presidential candidates). But this time there were a lot of people that just voted party line, a lot more than usual.

There’s no question that Trump got elected because of rural America. And our party still is in denial. They don’t get it.

Post: So what does the Democratic Party need to do to ‘get it’? What do they need to start talking about to win these voters back?

Peterson: Well, I don’t know if they can. What’s happened is the Republicans have been smart. They’ve spent a lot of money redistricting and everything, getting control of these governorships and statehouses.

So they packed all the Democrats into districts, very Democratic districts. What that’s done is made our party urban, more liberal, and so those people are doing what their constituents want. But that’s not what my constituents want.

I don’t know how you change that. There’s hardly anybody left like me in the Democratic Party in Congress. These districts have been so gerrymandered that, in most of them, a Democrat can’t win. Somebody like me trying to start off today, he’d never get endorsed. Because I’m too conservative.

So it’s a problem. Pushing gun control drives people (in my district) crazy, gay marriage, abortion, deficit spending, you name it. All of that stuff adds up to be a problem for Democrats.

Post: Trade’s been a big issue in the campaign. Do you hear a lot about that from voters out here?

Peterson: Yeah, that was clearly a factor. That was a complete reversal of where things are normally at. Usually Republicans are all for free trade. Sanders tapped into that; that was part of his support. And then when he didn’t make it, some of those Sanders people went to Trump.

I agree with Trump: These trade agreements have not been good deals for America, and they need to be fixed. I fought NAFTA when it passed; it has been a big disaster for us, in my opinion. If we can renegotiate that, it would be wonderful.

Post: What have you heard from voters up here about how they’ve been affected by NAFTA or how they’d be affected by the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)?

Peterson: Well, the sugar guys have been dealing with NAFTA ever since it passed. Now we’ve got Mexico dumping sugar that’s subsidized by the Mexican government into our market in violation of the World Trade Organization, because NAFTA gave them open access to our sugar market. They claim they’re not subsidized, but the government owns half the industry in Mexico.

NAFTA’s been a big problem for sugar. And when it (NAFTA) was sold, we were supposed to get two or three times more exports to Canada or Mexico than they exported to us. It’s been the exact opposite.

Post: So there’s a big discussion happening within the Democratic coalition right now, about how the focus on issues of plurality and diversity and minority rights are essentially shutting rural voters out of the discussion. What do you make of that?

Peterson: I think that’s unfortunately true. We have become a party of assembling all these different groups, the women’s caucus and the black caucus and the Hispanic caucus and the lesbian-gay-transgender caucus and so forth, and that doesn’t relate to people out in rural America. The party’s become an urban party, and they don’t get rural America. They don’t get agriculture.

Post: From a purely practical standpoint, is there anything Democrats can do policy-wise to reach out to these rural voters, or do they essentially have to write them off?

Peterson: Well, they have written them off. Some of the people in my caucus, some of the people in the state party in Minnesota have basically said, “We don’t want to deal with these guys because they’re too conservative,” or “We don’t agree with them on social issues.”

But you can’t have a majority party in Minnesota or throughout the country without (support from) the people in these (rural) districts. Given the position (the Democratic Party) has taken, it’s very hard to see how you can do that.

The only thing I can think to do is if the Democratic Party can do what the Republicans have done, which is go in there and take control of these legislatures and governors’ areas. Try to un-gerrymander these districts so that you’re not packing all the Democrats into one district, so you’ve got districts that are competitive, so that you’ve got a shot at electing Democrats. But that’s more a long-term proposition, if it can even be done.

Post: So in your view, gerrymandering is the cause of the increasing urbanization of the Democratic Party?

Peterson: There’s no question about it. If you look at the map, there’s hardly any (Democrats representing rural districts). There’s me, (Rick) Nolan, (Tim) Walz, (Dave) Loebsack and Cheri Bustos. So that’s five. And all the rest of them are in urban cities. That’s a problem.

If everybody in our caucus had a 50/50 (Democrat/Republican) district, we’d have a lot different discussion. But if they have a 90 percent Democratic district, they don’t ever talk to a Republican, they don’t have to and they don’t want to.

Post: If you were to have readers in cities like D.C. understand one thing about voters in your district, what would it be?

Peterson: They have a different view of the world than people do in these urban centers. They have a different lifestyle, and they don’t want to change it. They’re happy with the way things are. It’s causing the party political problems.


Resolutions from 2016 Otter Tail Convention

2016 Otter Tail County Resolutions from 2016 Convention That was submitted to the MN DFL

 Agriculture & Food

Be it resolved that the Minnesota DFL support the labeling of products which use ingredients made from genetically modified crops (GMCs, GM crops, or biotech crops are plants used in agriculture, the DNA of which has been modified using genetic engineering techniques. In most cases, the aim is to introduce a new trait to the plant which does not occur naturally in the species.)

Civil, Human, & Constitutional Rights

Be it resolved that we defend democracy, a system of government in which power is vested in the people, and call for an amendment to the United States Constitution to establish that only human beings are endowed with constitutional rights, and money is not speech, and therefore regulating political contributions and spending is not equivalent to limiting political speech.

Be it resolved that the DFL party support measures such as early voting, automatic voter registration, and restoration of the Voting Act of 1964; and opposes requirements which prevent equal accessibility to all sectors of the voting population.

Be it resolved that the DFL Party supports creating a Paid Family Leave Program for all Minnesotans.

Be it resolved that the DFL will endorse and support the Minnesota Compassionate Care Act – legislation authorizing aid in dying for terminally ill, mentally competent individuals to ask for and receive a prescription for medication that they can self-administer for a peaceful death if and when their suffering becomes unbearable.

Be it resolved that the DFL supports legislation to prevent discrimination against LGBTQ individuals in the workplace and in public facilities.

Consumer Issues

Be it resolved that marijuana be removed as a schedule one narcotic so that medical research will be allowed.

Be it resolved that pharmaceutical industries should be regulated in a manner that allows fair and equal pricing.


Be it resolved that the DFL support legislation to reduce the cost of post-secondary school attendance.

Be it resolved that the DFL supports fully funded Early Childhood Family Education, Family Literacy, Early Childhood Special Education, and School Readiness to help children prepare for kindergarten and lifelong success.

Be it resolved that the MN DFL supports comprehensive sexual health education that equips Minnesota students with the knowledge to make best choices about their sexual health and reduce rates of unplanned pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.


Be it resolved that Minnesota must work toward 50% renewable energy by 2030.

Government Accountability

Be it resolved that the Minnesota Constitution (Article VII Sec. 9) should be amended to require the disclosure of ALL political  contributions and expenditures, including electioneering communications but excluding an organization’s communications with its membership, in order to eliminate ‘dark money’ from Minnesota elections.

Health & Human Services

Be it resolved that the MN DFL support universal health care (single payer), paid for by employer/employee withholdings.

Labor & Employment

Be it resolved that the Minnesota DFL support the Minimum Wage campaign to raise the minimum wage to $15.00 per hour, index it to inflation, conform with federal work rules, and preserve the prohibition on the tip penalty.

Be it resolved that the Minnesota DFL oppose any attempt by the Minnesota legislature to enact legislation or constitutional amendments to make Minnesota a “Right-to-Work” State.

Be it resolved that no government support should be given to, and severe tax penalties applied toward corporations that take their businesses out of the United States.

National Security & International Policy

Natural Resources & Environment

Be it resolved that the DFL party will support measures that will fight climate change on all levels and in all ways.

Retirement Security

Be it resolved that Social Security should be a sustainable and continuous program.

Tax & Budget Policy

Be it resolved that reduced high interest rates for college loans is necessary.

We The People

by Charlie Beacon

Yes indeed, I know you may not want to think about the malnourished world of politics. It can be very messy and even duplicitous at times. It can seem like a magnet that attracts scoundrels and others of nefarious character. Oh my you say. you have a headache. It can be enough to give a saintly person an aneurysm. Your response could be to just bury one’s head in the proverbial sands of dismay. Just hide in your own personal domestic sanctum and just let others be engaged. However, this great experiment called a “Democracy” is counting on your voice. Yes, it will pulsate with success, but a more laudable approach is for “We the People” to step up to the plate. This great experiment needs and wants your input and help. Share your knowledge and experiences with neighbors, family and friends. You are needed to take a share of responsibility for the future of Minnesota and our great country called “AMERICA”. You can help by not allowing cynicism to metastasize.

I know you are concerned about Minnesota and America. The question is what can I do? As a concerned citizen, motivate yourself to make a positive impact, join with family and friends at the grass roots effort of the upcoming Minnesota Precinct Caucuses on Tuesday, February 4, 2014. The caucuses are the beginning grass roots process that you can use to elect those individual who will represent you in your political party. This is an excellent opportunity for you to become involved at a local level which influences our state and national politics. Your Precinct Caucus can be the venue to meet others, like you, who are becoming involved. Maybe it is your first time attending a caucus. This is where you can discuss various issues and share ideas. Eventually, one can propose resolutions which are used to construct your political party’s platform. You will elect your representative who will attend the County Convention. They will cast their votes for party officers and delegates to the next convention.

Martin Luther King eloquently stated that “The arch of history bends in the direction of justice”. This may be true, however it doesn’t just happen on its own. It takes the involvement of “We the People”.
Otter Tail County Democratic Farmer Party believes that we are all in this together. Paul Wellstone said it best, “We all do better when we all do better.” We all at least should have a fair chance to succeed. If you agree that public education, social justice, a fair and equitable tax system that doesn’t unduly burden those least able to pay. Then we will move Minnesota and America forward. Take this opportunity to step up and be part of this great Democracy!

Mark your calendar, the date is Tuesday, February 4, 2014. There will be seven different location in Otter Tail County. Watch for the press release in January or go to: Otter Tail County DFL website at . Join with family, friends and neighbors a the grass roots meeting called Precinct Caucuses, see you there.