Tuesday’s primary election is once again drawing out the well-heeled hypocrites who call themselves the “Minnesota Jobs Coalition.” This past week, the group took a swing at a unanimously-endorsed conservative Republican, Rep. Jeremy Munson. They sent multiple postcards to Republican primary voters in Munson’s district, south of Mankato. The deceitful piece was filled with a pile of concocted false claims – the type of nakedly slanderous pieces that Republicans could only expect from left-wing zealots. But these people actually consider themselves to be Republicans.
Rep. Jeremy Munson is one of Minnesota’s most conservative and consistent legislators. Having served with him for the last two of my 13 years in the Minnesota House, I can tell you that he is among the best. He stands up for his constituents. He fights moneyed special interests to protect the everyday people whom he represents. He’s very smart. He works extraordinarily hard. And he doesn’t buckle to fear-filled threats delivered by bullies. He has fought against control of the health care marketplace by the huge, powerful pharmaceutical companies and the practice of a sitting legislator becoming the paid director of public affairs with a powerful multinational lobbying firm. His constituents love his work. The people paying for and receiving lobbying positions do not appreciate his work, however.
Being a legislator who shares his fervor for honest service of his constituents in the face of powerful special interests and the fear they package with threats, I know the level of focus and commitment to service that is required to take that difficult path. The special interests normally break down most legislators after a year or two in office. They didn’t break down Rep. Munson. For that, along with his constituents, I am very grateful.
So, what’s the deal with the “Minnesota Jobs Coalition,” anyway? Its founder and past executive director is Ben Golnik. He has also worked for the House Republican Caucus. Over the past two years, he has been lobbying for pharmaceutical industry and solar energy special interests. He appears to be once again influencing the spending of laundered corporate money to attack a legislator who has challenged those special interests and the power interests of his former boss, and fellow lobbyist, Rep. Kurt Daudt. Here’s a list of lobbying clients that Golnik, the “brains” behind these attacks, works for:
- Novo Nordisk, Inc. (big pharma)
- Astellas Pharma US, Inc. (big pharma)
- Clearway Energy (big green energy)
- Coalition for Community Solar Access (big green energy)
- Community Energy Solar LLC (big green energy)
- SunShare Community Solar (big green energy)
- Sunrise Energy Ventures LLC (big green energy)
Additionally, Golnik lobbied at the side of the public-employee unions in favor of St. Paul’s recent “Vote Yes” for the city’s collectivism in garbage services campaign. Hardly a conservative position.
Unfortunately, the history of the “Jobs Coalition” punching at GOP-endorsed conservative legislators and candidates is too well established. In 2018, they spent significant resources against the most conservative candidates in primary races … only to see us lose the House majority months later after our side ran out of cash. This year seems to be stacking up similarly with more bad decisions with conservative donors’ limited resources.
The contributors to the “Jobs Coalition” may want to re-evaluate their decision-making. Their contributions would be much better placed into individual campaigns or local Republican Party units. This organization, in its quest to use contributors’ resources to engineer an election outcome that will deliver legislators who march to the tune of its swamp-soaked, smelly political operatives, is doing a “job” on the truth, party unification, and conservatism. For Golnik and Daudt, it’s not about conservatism. It’s about money and power.
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Rep. Steve Drazkowski is a Republican legislator in the Minnesota House from Mazeppa and leader of the New House Republican Caucus.