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NEWS DAY | Cedar-Riverside caucus rescheduled for February 19 in new location
UPDATED February 16, 2013 • The contentious Cedar-Riverside DFL caucus will be held on Thursday, February 19 at Coffman Memorial Union on the University of Minnesota campus. The DFL announcement said that the change of location would accommodate the larger number of caucus-goers, and that there will be free bus transportation from the Brian Coyle Center, where the caucus is usually held.
The regularly-scheduled caucus on February 4 ended after angry disputes over precinct leadership got physical, resulting in injuries to one woman, Ilhan Omar.
Read Ilhan Omar's story, in her own words, in the Star Tribune:
"I am deeply saddened and horrified about what happened during the precinct caucus at the Brian Coyle Community Center that Tuesday night. The attack left me with a concussion and bruises, but it has left a far more terrible mark on my community and has undermined the democratic process as well. ..."
Registration for the February 19 caucus will begin at 5 p.m., with the business of the caucus beginning at 7 p.m. According to DFL state chair Ken Martin, "The only business of the caucus will be to elect convention delegates and alternates."
The DFL press release said that the caucus will be convened by DFL chair Ken Martin, former Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak, former St. Paul City Councilmember Melvin Carter, and Senate District 53 Chairwoman Alberder Gillespie. The line-up of DFL heavy hitters should discourage any disputes over who gets to chair the caucus.
State Senator Phyllis Kahn and Minneapolis school board member Mohamud Noor, who is challenging her for the party nomination, had earlier issued this joint statement:
“The incidents which occurred Tuesday evening in Minneapolis Ward-6, Precinct-3 have absolutely no place in our grassroots democracy. The people of this precinct deserve to have their voices heard in a process free of intimidation, threats, and physical violence.
“While we may disagree on who is best fit to serve this district in the legislature, one thing we do agree upon is that these acts of violence have no place in our party.
“We call on our supporters to respect each other and the political process as a whole. We expect our supporters to reflect our values and the values of our DFL Party by engaging in a civil debate.
“We urge restraint and respect for members of our community. No one should have to be fearful of participating in this process. We do not approve of any alleged behavior by our supporters which prevents the full and active participation of the many diverse people in our legislative district.
“We look forward to a spirited debate moving forward and will do everything within our power to make sure it is respectful and civil.”
Coverage of issues and events that affect Central Corridor neighborhoods and communities is funded in part by a grant from Central Corridor Funders Collaborative.
© 2014 Mary Turck