Participation in Special Elections, Caucuses is Crucial

1-16-2018

Control of the Minnesota Senate hangs in the balance with an upcoming special election – and another election being blocked by a state leader who is violating our Constitution.

State Senate president Michelle Fischbach immediately became lieutenant governor when Tina Smith took Al Franken’s seat. Now she’s trying to stay in the Minnesota Senate, too, to help her Republican Party maintain its narrow anti-worker majority.

But our state Constitution prohibits her from simultaneously holding both jobs: “No senator or representative shall hold any other office under the authority of the United States or the state of Minnesota, except that of postmaster or of notary public.”

Constituent Destiny Dusosky of Sauk Rapids has filed suit in Ramsey County, pointing out she’s being deprived of representation. The lawsuit asks a judge to declare Fischbach’s dual offices unconstitutional and to make her give up the Senate seat. That would lead to a special election, which could swing the Senate pro-worker.

A different special election that would help tip the balance toward workers is Feb. 12. AFSCME members have endorsed former state rep. Karla Bigham, a Washington County commissioner, for Senate District 54, the seat previously held by Dan Schoen. The district includes parts of southern Washington County and northeastern Dakota County. 

If voters elect Bigham, the Senate moves one vote closer to a pro-worker majority, from 34-32 to 34-33. Fischbach following the law and vacating her Senate seat would tie the vote, and it could tip the vote toward workers and their families depending on who replaces her.

In the House, another key special election Feb. 12 could elect AFSCME-endorsed Melissa Wagner to District 23B, replacing Tony Cornish.

Special elections and the Fischbach lawsuit aren’t the only things that will determine whether our lawmakers are pro-worker or not. The precinct caucuses on Tuesday, Feb. 6 at 7 p.m. will help decide our future in 2018 and beyond.

Find your polling place using the Secretary of State's Caucus Finder tool.