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President Dean Phillips? 

Plus (even more!) new state laws, the ongoing Columbia Heights racist phone call saga, and 10 years of marriage equality in today's Flyover.

U.S. House of Representatives

Welcome back to The Flyover, your daily digest of what local media outlets and Twitter-ers are gabbing about.

Political Consultants Eye Dean Phillips's Bank Account

Look, we’re not naive. We know that the DFL probably needs a dreary centrist like Dean Phillips to hold a seat in the largely suburban 3rd Congressional District. But you can be a moderate without being annoying about it. Phillips, however, never misses an opportunity to flaunt his love of compromise over any actual political beliefs. As a charter member of the bipartisan Problems Solvers Caucus, he’s taken part in sheesh-worthy stunts like the one where members of different parties exchanged shoes to prove We Can All Work Together. And to prove how eminently reasonable he is, he's voted for GOP-sponsored legislations like the (JFC!) Denouncing the Horrors of Socialism bill—though he made a point of saying, hey, Republicans, remember that the Nazis and Daniel Ortega were bad too, and that "many of America’s European allies have integrated moderate forms of socialism into functioning democracies, albeit at a cost to economic efficiency and innovation." Respectfully, sir, please fuck all the way off. 

Well, now Phillips is… running for president? Yes, as in, “of the United States.” Or at least he’s putting out feelers, Politico reported today. Phillips has already stated that younger Democrats should primary President Biden, and he’ll be meeting with Democratic donors in New York next week to see if he’s the young (54-year-old) blood that America is crying out for. While it’s no secret that our wizened commander-in-chief might be, er, past his prime, and he isn’t the most electorally secure incumbent, there’s a very opportunistically rich-kid “why not me?” vibe to Phillips’s exploratory proposition.

According to the Strib, Phillips confirmed that “he is being urged to consider running,” no doubt by political consultants who see dollar signs in such a doomed but ego-stroking campaign. But he's unlikely to actually challenge Biden unless the president's health seriously declines or some other incident seems to threaten his campaign. Anyway, as a fellow youth in my early 50s, I (Keith) believe that just about every Democrat born in the ’60s and ’70s had their political perspective tainted by the dominance by neolib entities like the DLC and they should just pass the torch straight on to the younger Dems.

In: Wild Lawns. Out: Active Shooter Drills

Centuries from now, historians may as yet still be uncovering new bits of legislation passed during the 2023 Minnesota session. Quietly adopted laws are generally not a good thing, and there are probably more than a few gross giveaways buried in the countless pages of legislation, but by and large the unexpected news has turned out to be good. Christopher Ingraham in the Minnesota Reformer points out that due to a provision in the finance bill, Minnesota cities can no longer mandate turf yards, but must allow homeowner to maintain a “managed natural landscape… of native or nonnative grasses, wildflowers, forbs, ferns, shrubs, or trees.” (Sorry, lawn care shirkers, but "turf-grass lawns left unattended" are not protected.)

Meanwhile, Dana Ferguson at MPR News reports on a significant change to how schools may practice active shooter drills. Under the new law, schools must notify families of an upcoming drill a full day in advance, and students can opt out the drill. In addition, students must be informed that this is a drill and their lives are not actually in danger. Anything that cuts down on consistently traumatizing students in a manner that doesn’t actually serve to keep them safe in case of an actual emergency sounds good to us.  

Columbia Heights’ Racist Phone Call Drama Will Never End

Ever since KT Jacobs was elected to Columbia Heights Council last fall, the mayor, her council peers, a group called Concerned Citizens of Columbia Heights, and the public in general have been asking her to resign. Now, after already passing two resolutions calling for her to step down, the council, bolstered by a community petition, has voted to move forward with a recall election in February. Meanwhile, the Strib reports that Jacobs has lawyered up.

So why are people rallying for her to GTFO? Back in September 2022, Council Member Justice Spriggs received a call from a constituent questioning if he was “really biracial.” But since caller I.D. is a thing, Spriggs was able to figure out who was calling him pretty quickly. Independent investigators were able to trace the call to Jacobs, too, though she alleges that a family member (a person no one can verify exists and whose name is a variant of Jacobs's maiden name) stole her phone that day and made the call.

Happy Birthday, Gay Marriage!

On August 1, 2013, Minnesota changed its definition marriage, allowing LGBTQ+ couples to get hitched in the eyes of the law. “I want to be on a conveyor belt of love,” Alex Schmit hilariously recalls thinking before marrying his husband, Zeke Rice, along with dozens of other couples in City Hall mere minutes after the change came into effect. In celebration of this important moment in human rights, Jenna Ross of the Star Tribune interviewed 10 couples who got married a decade ago. That includes couples committed to each other long before they could wed, those who kept their relationships secret until the law changed, a widow who is thankful for three months of marriage, and couples who continue to co-parent after divorce. You know, all the normal couple stuff people go through that matters. You can read the feel-good piece here.

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