Among the people who lost in Tuesday's election was MN Senate Majority Leader Dean Johnson (DFL Willmar, MN). He was the victim of a targeting effort. During his tenure as MN Senate Majority leader he worked hard to block attempts to pass legislation that would discrminate against GLBT on a varitey of occasions. (A sad irony is that he often thwarted Michelle Bachmann with the help of his collegues and now she is the freshman U.S. Rep. elect.) Tens of thousands of outside the district dollars and many workers were brought in to assure Johnson's defeat and they were successful in unseating him.
Aside from his ability to stand firm and do the right thing when confronted with threats and pressure, (even being taped without his consent during presumably private conversations with other pastors), I admire him because he has lived a thoughtful life journey. As many came to know over the past few years, Johnson's life has many facets. He grew up on a farm. He's an officer in the MN Army National Gaurd. He's an ordained Lutheran minister. And he's a former Republican.
We will miss his presence at the State Capitol. I hope he will land on his feet and find equally good ways to serve God and make a living outside of the offices and chambers of the MN State Capitol. Thank you Dean Elton Johnson for your good and FAITHFUL service in the MN Senate.
Along with being tough and smart, Johnson is a quick wit. Here's an article from the St. Paul Pioneer Press that highlights some of his quotes during his tenure in the Senate:
The Dean Johnson file
Dean Elton Johnson, 59, was first elected to the Minnesota House as a Republican in 1978.
• In 1982, he was elected to the Senate and from 1992 to 1997, he served as the Republicans' minority leader.
• In 2000, he switched parties and became a Democratic-Farmer-Laborite.
• In 2004, he was elected the DFL Senate majority leader.
Johnson, a Lutheran minister, has been a voluble public speaker, always ready with a quip. Some of the highlights:
"I need a second chance today."
— In March, when he admitted that he "sanded off the truth" in his claims that he had conversations with Supreme Court justices about Minnesota's marriage law.
"The cow's got no milk and the dog ate the cat. … Everything's so damn bad you can't express it."
— The translation of "Uff da!" according to Johnson, a self-described "Norwegian Lutheran farm boy."
— When asked what to call him — Senator Pastor General? Mr. Brigadier General? Sir? — when he was promoted to the rank of brigadier general in the Minnesota Army National Guard.
"It was hog manure that saved my life."
— Retelling of an accident in which 7-year-old Johnson was hot-rodding with his 12-year-old brother in their parents' car. Johnson spilled out of the car and his brother ran over him. Rather than being crushed, he sank into the family's pig pen.
"I got sworn in, now I get swore at."
— In 2003 after the Senate swearing-in ceremony, on anticipated legislative battles.