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Direct mail shenanigans in the West Metro keep getting weirder

by Joe Bodell on September 22, 2012 · 1 comment

Direct mail is weird.

That’s the conclusion I have to draw this week, after plenty of attack mailers and “thank you!” mailers from organizations that have nothing to do with the issue on which they’re thanking Republicans.

But yesterday got even weirder: the TwinWest Chamber of Commerce is in mailboxes with a mailer encouraging voters to KEEP LIGHT RAIL COMING TO OUR AREA, and ASK YOUR CANDIDATES FOR STATE SENATOR AND STATE REPRESENTATIVE.

The TwinWest Chamber is something of an odd duck. They’re definitely a Chamber affiliate, but they don’t hew to the same uber-conservative line as the National Chamber, for example. Their organization really thinks things through, and has a solid relationship with leaders on both sides of the aisle. And they have a solid reasoning behind wanting light rail in the west metro, which they lay out in the mailer.

But this mailer is odd, for one main reason: the TwinWest Chamber supports light rail, but has endorsed Republican leaders who don’t. Take 48A incumbent Kirk Stensrud for example. He has repeatedly voted against bills that would bring necessary money to the Southwest Light Rail project, and has helped Republican leaders (paging Kurt Zellers…) stonewall the project’s funding, putting the entire effort at risk.

Chambers aren’t alone in this — there are plenty of liberal interest groups who have historically cut off their noses to spite their faces with single-issue endorsements of candidates and leaders who oppose their agenda in many other areas. In the case of Stensrud, however, the Chamber is walking a fine line here — it seems that they understand that they have endorsed people who talk the talk but don’t walk the walk, and this mailer seems to be a soft way of getting people thinking about the big (actual) job-creator: light rail transit in the west metro.

It should go without saying that Stensrud’s opponent, Yvonne Selcer, strongly supports the Southwest LRT project.

kleonard September 24, 2012 at 9:42 pm

The Chamber also endorsed party-liner Sarah Anderson who opposes light-rail and has consistently voted against transit and transportation. She even voted to ban light rail and voted against funding after the 35W bridge collapse. Her opponent, Audrey Britton, was named the state’s Travel Demand Advocate of the Year by the met council, sits on the Plymouth Transit Council and has worked in the transportation industry for 7 years. Rep. Paul Thissen called on the TW Chamber to get Stensrude and Anderson to publicly voice their “support” for light rail. His call went unaddressed.

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