Monday, November 15, 2010

Jeff Johnson for Governor

We haven't even concluded the 2010 Minnesota Gubernatorial race yet, so it may be presumptuous to be looking ahead to the next one in . . . 2014. (Ack! First time I've put together what seems to be that impossibly distant point in time and the duration of a Mark Dayton administration.) But every time I read something from Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson, I can't help thinking about what might be.

His latest editorial in the Star Tribune shows that combination of common sense and easy communication style that I have to believe would resonate across the state, especially during a time of economic distress. Excerpt:

Despite what one might frequently hear, most of us who consider ourselves fiscal conservatives don't have an interest in dismantling government. Hennepin County, for example, does many important and necessary things -- and does them well.

But it frustrates me to no end to have a combination of high taxes (which we have) and numerous spending programs that are questionable, silly or -- in some cases -- insane (which we have), and then hear elected officials cry poverty when it comes to basic functions of government.

Let me give you an example from just this week:

We heard a compelling argument on the county board that funding for certain health services for the mentally ill has been cut too deeply this year. And, of course, some opined that it is indicative of a county government that has cut "to the bone" and largely the fault of conservatives who are not even willing to fund the basics.

That's frustrating to hear when we in Hennepin County refuse to place a moratorium on library art spending or when we provide free, non-emergency health care to illegal immigrants or spend millions each year on "transit-oriented development" or add $14 million to the cost of a bridge to make it look more artistic or allocate $700,000 for landscaping at the county garbage burner. And on and on...

It's that kind of clear-eyed analysis for the voters that could save not only Hennepin County, not only Minnesota, but that other malfunctioning enterprise, the United States of America!

All right, let's get him into the Governor's mansion first before we focus on the White House.

If you'd like to read more about Jeff Johnson, bookmark his web site, the Tax Payer's Watchdog.