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Last Monday, friends called Erik and me to see if we wanted to take a trip to Long Prairie for a gathering hosted by Minnesota gubernatorial candidate Ken Pentel. We were game, so hitched a ride with our friends to see what Ken had to say.

Ken has run for governor several times before under the banner of the Green Party. His most notable race in my mind is the one in which he ran with Lt. Governor candidate Rhoda Gilman (2002 race). Rhoda is a well-known historian in Minnesota, so I was familiar with her name, but what sticks with me from that campaign is the advertising. It was designed to mimic detergent and I seem to remember an ad that said, “Now with Rhoda Gilman!” as though Rhoda was a super-de-duper special ingredient.

Ken is throwing his hat into the ring once again, but this time he has created a new political party, the Ecology Democracy Party, under which to run. The new party allows him to narrow his focus to three specific issues [these are directly from Ken’s campaign literature]:

  • Establishing an ecology-based economy for Minnesota
  • Implementing proportional representation for the State House
  • Removing Big Money and Corporate Interference in Government

The overall goal of the Ecology Democracy Party is to “restore a harmonious and sustainable relationship with our natural environment through a structural change in the fundamentals of Minnesota Government.”

Ken wants to see local and state governments adopt a true cost accounting for all of its actions, figuring out not only the monetary costs for, say, building roads, but to add in what those roads cost in terms of pollution and the health of the state’s citizens (because roads encourage us to use cars rather than walk). He’d like to see this done for each major state expenditure because in knowing the true costs (including those costs we typically externalize, or shove off on someone else), we’ll hopefully make better decisions that will be healthier for the environment (and, by extension, us) in the long run.

Listening to Ken, it’s obvious that he’s passionate about the environment and his party’s platform. He doesn’t pull any punches and he’s realistic about his chances for winning the governor’s race. While he’d like to win, he’d be really pleased to elevate his issues in the public’s consciousness so we all start taking better care of the environment.

Ken lives the environmental portion of his platform by biking to his campaign events. (How many gubernatorial candidates can say that?) He’ll also be canoeing a portion of his campaign journey this coming week, paddling down the Mississippi River from Brainerd to Little Falls and beyond. He’ll be making a stop at Maple Island Park in Little Falls at noon on July 16, 2010 (next Friday). If you want to hear what Ken has to say, I’d suggest you be there because his website doesn’t seem to have his 2010 race info on it yet. (His running mate this time is Erin Wallace, not Danene Provencher.)

For more information on Ken Pentel, check out the following links:

[Update – 7/15/2010: Ken Pentel’s website is now up-to-date. See the link directly above this update to visit his site.]

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