The Chisago Transmission Project is going forward with vigor, and with not a heck of a lot of notice.  For example, the Public Comment session on scoping of the Environmental Assessments was last Tuesday, and Comments are open until the 29th of March.



They’re in such a hurry that they’re appointing the Citizens Task Force tomorrow, notifying them by the 9th, and week of the 12th they’re starting the Task Force meetings. There’s no way that public entities, i.e., cities, can properly nominate and approve a Task Force member by that time.  NO WAY!!!  That’s “streamlining” in the extreme!

Here’s an article on Jeremy:

Freshman lawmaker Jeremy Kalin of Lindstrom exhibits high energy, working on series of initiatives

Monday, 05 March 2007

by T.W. Budig
ECM capitol reporter

There’s a pair of baby shoes in Rep. Jeremy Kalin, DFL-Lindstrom, office at the Capitol.

They’re a gift from a family member, a memento of the drive candidate Kalin exhibited in wearing out five pairs of shoes campaigning in District 17B.

Now the high-energy candidate has made the transition to high-energy lawmaker.

“First of all, I’m having a blast,” said Kalin recently of life in St. Paul.

“If I’m going to be effective, I have to take advantage of every second I’m here,” he said.

Events move quickly at Capitol

Although only two months on the job, one thing that has impressed Kalin is how quickly events move at the Capitol.

And he’s noticed, too, that it’s not when lawmakers are making speeches or otherwise posturing that the work gets done. Deals are struck over coffee, walking to committee, he explained.

Indeed, Kalin wanders about during House floor sessions, not aimlessly nor sightseeing but to buttonhole colleagues, extract information.


In rapid fire Kalin can list a series of initiatives he’s working on. Some have been planned, others developed when he saw an opening and thought “Why not?”

An example of the latter is a proposed East Central pilot project for growing prairie grass for the ethanol industry.

Kalin — who is carrying a portion of Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s energy bill — thought growing grasses for ethanol production could be a good use of the sandy soils found in the district.

Jumped in with a proposal

So he saw an opening in some legislation and jumped in with the proposal. “I believe my folks sent me done here to get things done for them,” he  said.

Another energy-related idea Kalin, 32,  designer and draftsman by profession, has is to rate the energy efficiency of public buildings on a state Web site.

The idea, he explained, is to activate the public — to provide information.

When they learn their city is losing thousands of dollars through poor energy use, taxpayers will let their council members know about it, he explained.

Kalin serves in a political place and already has had to make political decisions.

Recently, the House debated an increase in their per diem or daily allowance.

DFL leaders didn’t want a floor debate but rather send Republican amendments on the increase to committee.

Breaks with the leadership

Kalin broke with leadership, voting with Republicans. “I can tell you that wasn’t easy to do,” he said. Yet Kalin argues that per diem is being used as a salary supplement. “I think we should have the guts to stand up and say, ‘Yes, we should raise pay,’ or ‘No, you shouldn’t,’” said Kalin.

While not ruling out a pay increase in the future, Kalin argues now is the wrong time.

In recent days, DFL leaders at the Capitol have indicated that some big issues, such as health care, cannot be fully addressed this session.

That some must be put off for future sessions.

Kalin argues that’s acceptable.

“They don’t want us to do everything at once,” said Kalin of the public.

You don’t want the right ideas with the wrong details, he warned.

In discussing other issues, Kalin said the transportation finance committee only now is figuring out the budget — the issue of a possible gas tax increase hasn’t been decided yet, he explained.

Kalin believes most constituents in his district would accept a gas tax hike — district transportation needs are so pressing, he explained.

“Of course there’ll be some (political) grief,” he said, smiling.

“There’s a little grief waking up and keeping my title ‘politician,’” he said, laughing.

Kalin’s first bill

Kalin’s first bill, a bill dealing with veterans applying for hunting licenses, is expected to come up on the House floor for a vote.

It’s a compromise, Kalin explained. And it’s better for it, he opined. “I think it’s a big success,” he said.

On one recent day, Kalin — the bright sun outside his office window beautifully lighting the Capitol entrance across the street — spoke of rapidly approaching committee deadlines.

He spoke of the need to move faster. Of getting more done. “There’s so much more to do,” he said.

Kalin and his fiance, a physician, are planning to marry in August.

(Photo by T.W. Budig, ECM Capitol Reporter) 

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