Beltrami DFL Convention Held, Delegates Elected to Congressional Convention
Four of Six Delegates Elected Are Red Lakers
Two-thirds (four of six) of the delegates who will represent the Beltrami DFL at the 7th Congressional District Convention are Red Lake members. The convention was held on Sunday March 25, 2012 in the Beaux Arts Ballroom on Campus at Bemidji State University.
Elected were Roy Nelson (former DFL Chair), Stephanie Cobenais (former State DFL Director and member of the DFL Women's Hall of Fame) Gary Fuller (Beltrami Affirmative Action Officer), and Arlys Stillday, (long-time DFL activist). Others elected to represent the DFL were Rita Albrecht of Bemidji, and David Lancaster. The 7th District Convention will be held in Mahnomen on Saturday April 21.
Because Beltrami County is split between the 7th and 8th Congressional District, three delegates were elected to the 8th Congressional District Convention. All nine then will represent the county at the State Convention to be held in Rochester June 2-3, 2012. 82 delegates elected the nine delegates and nine alternates.
Sitting elected officials spoke early to the convention. District 2 Senator Rod Skoe railed on the Republicans for trying to pass a constitutional amendment requiring that a person show a government issued photo ID in order to vote. “So this is the group that wants to get government out of our lives, and along the way they’re going to take away our rights and they’re going to take away people’s right to vote,” he said.
Sen. Tom Saxhaug, DFL-Grand Rapids spoke before the convention on photo ID as well. He will run against GOP Senator John Carlson in the new District 5 that includes all of the Leech Lake Reservation. “We are now in the seventh week of the second year of the biennium and so far the only thing that Republican leadership has only really done is pass a constitutional amendment on photo ID,” said Saxhaug.
DFL Representative John Persell, who will be paired with GOP Rep. Larry Howes of Walker in the new District 5A also spoke before the convention.
Redistricting created a new District 2A, which will includes all of Red Lake and most of Beltrami County except Bemidji. Now represented now by GOP Rep. David Hancock, three Democrats will seek DFL endorsement to unseat him at Clearwater High school on Saturday April 14th. They include: Sean Peterson, a Bagley High School teacher and son of U.S. Congressman Collin Peterson; Mark Edevold, Bagley mayor, who has run before for the House 2B seat; and Roger Erickson, a retired elementary school teacher from Baudette.
No Leech Lake or Red Lake members have announced so far to seek endorsement for Senate District 5A or 2A respectively. It is estimated that these two districts have the best shot of electing an Indian to the state legislature because of the high DFL index which includes a high percentage of American Indians and progressive democrats.