Post Election Reflections - Now the real work begins
Happy Post-Election MN Social Workers!
We entered this heated election cycle in a nation divided by tightly held partisan beliefs that were predictable by geography and demonstrated by narrow political margins at the National and State level. While conventional mid-term wisdom told us that the party in power, Democrats, would face heavy headwinds resulting in a “red wave,” that simply did not happen either nationwide or in Minnesota.
For the most part, voters did not break from their party and in Minnesota, independent voters trended toward Democrat candidates. This, combined with the increasing population in metro areas who showed up in large numbers to vote, resulted in an apparent sweep for the DFL party in Minnesota. Democrats will continue to control the House and took back the majority in the Senate, ending Minnesota’s trend as the sole divided Legislature in the nation. Furthermore, Governor Tim Walz, Secretary of State Steve Simon, and Attorney General Keith Ellison won outright - and while Secretary of State Julie Blaha’s race qualifies for automatic recount, her opponent needs to find thousands of miscounted votes to prevail.
Speaker Melissa Hortman gave a preview of her caucus agenda to MPR. She said they plan to “boost education funding, tighten gun laws, pass measures related to climate, seek to legalize adult-use marijuana and implement a guaranteed paid family and medical leave program.”
Meanwhile, while many national races are still being counted, we know that Democrats generally over-performed everyone’s bleak expectations for their party and margins in the House and Senate will remain narrow. After a major Democratic victory in Pennsylvania for John Fetterman, the Senate is watching three key races in Arizona, Georgia and Nevada; whichever party wins two of the three races will be in power. Minnesota kept the status quo and returned all of our incumbent Congress members to office. Recall that Democrats have only a 5 seat margin to retain power - and while they have lost some key seats and are trending toward a Republican majority - there are still too many outstanding races in the rest of the nation to predict the final outcome. Both parties can point to shifts that will have lasting implications including Miami-Dade county in FL flipping to solid Republican victories along with some key wins in suburban Virginia and New York, while Colorado ejected a vocal Trump loyalist incumbent, Rep. Lauren Boebert. Like Governor Walz, Democrat incumbent governors across the nation won their bids for re-election including Tony Evers in Wisconsin.
The Political Action for Candidate Election (PACE) of NASW-MN endorsed a record 72 candidates in state, local, house and senate races; seven of the endorsed candidates were social workers.
We are thrilled that four NASW-MN endorsed social workers were successful in their bid: Rep. Heather Edelson, Rep. Jess Hanson, Bemidji Council Member Emilie Rivera, and Hennepin County Commissioner Angela Conley. A total of 48 of NASW-MN endorsed candidates were elected Tuesday. One endorsed candidate is in one of several races in Minnesota that have not been called pending a recount; Incumbent Rep. Rob Ecklund is 15 votes behind his opponent.
While NASW-MN is not a partisan organization, we are clear about our call to pursue social justice and see an opportunity with Tuesday’s election results to advocate for a more just society in Minnesota. As Dan Rather said, “Come what may Tuesday, the country will continue. It will be up to us to nurture a future of opportunity where America’s most noble values can thrive anew.” Now is the time for social workers to advocate for our profession and the communities we serve. Your membership has a direct effect on the impact we can have. If you haven’t become a member or need to renew your membership, now is the time. Let your voice be heard through your membership with the NASW-MN. Join or renew your membership today. Thank you Minnesota Social Workers for your engagement this election!
In Social Work solidarity,
Jenny & Dr. KG
Jointly hosted by NASW-MN and the MN Board of Social Work, this session reviewed the compact and what it will mean for MN social work licensees.
To download a copy of the draft compact legislation, review the fact sheet, read FAQs, register for weekly stakeholder review sessions, and access the survey link to provide your comments, visit the Council on State Governments (CSG) at https://compacts.csg.org/compact-updates/social-work/.