Friday, November 10, 2006

Thank you Dean Elton Johnson

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.

1 comment:

Ellen Empson said...

I have to say I can't agree with you more on your view that I also think Dean was defeated from a cheater player opponent. It is a sad commentary on today's political climate that some with an agenda go to any length ot "oust the enemy!". The small ibnterest groups are the same.
How sad that Dean stood up for fairness and equality for all for the Gay community in our state and what happened is a revisit to the environment before Equal rights were established just a few years ago!
I believe that Dean did not lie about the court justice's positions....I believe he had a "feel" for the way in which he knows these folks. He was not under oath at the time-- he was in a meeting. THer eis no tolerance in this society anymore, how things have changed in the last 20 years!
Dean has contributed so much to Minnesota. IF any of these people who swarmed up with one thing in mind had even took a minute to educate themselves....Intolerance breeds ignorance.
I am a Calvary confirmant from the 1970's. Dean instilled so many things into our young minds as we went thru confirmation; life preparing attitudes and values, above all else acceptance of opinions of others how to share even though we may disagree with each other. I have cheered Dean on quietly from the sideline all these years and many, many people should take a lesson from his examples. The good of what he has done far outwieghs the decietfull way in which he was taped to entrap him. Secretly taping someone? Who is this and why is HE in office???
Minnesota has lost a great team player, one who has and will always go to bat for you.
He did for me personally many years ago.

Get back in there Dean...we need you.

Ellen Empson