Date: July 21, 2004
Subject: Love is in the air

Norman Draper, education reporter for the Star Tribune, scored several choice, revealing quotes at the very beginning of new education commissioner Alice Seagren's tenure:

"Alice is my favorite Republican. I'm delighted that I have someone I think I can work with. That's the beauty of Alice Seagren: the governor gets the continuity of what Yecke was doing but in a wonderful package of a very, very fine human being that everybody loves."

--Rep. Mindy Greiling (DFL-Roseville), a member with Seagren on the House Education Finance and Education Policy committees

"It strikes me that Alice Seagren is a kinder, gentler Yecke."

--Sen. Geoff Michel (R-Edina), a member of the Senate Education Committee

If Rep. Jim Davnie (DFL-Minneapolis) and Sen. Steve Kelley (DFL-Hopkins, chair of the Senate Education Committee) board this love boat, it may be a sign that Pawlenty's ed reform agenda was sunk by an iceberg of bipartisan unity.

Uh, speaking of ice...

"The governor's choice of Representative Seagren for the position of education commissioner indicates a desire to secure a noncontroversial Senate confirmation."

--Faint praise from Sen. Michele Bachmann (R-Stillwater), a member of the Senate Education Committee

Asked at Tuesday's Seagren press conference whether the Seagren selection represents an attempt to reach out to anti-Cheri Pierson Yecke educators and DFLers, Gov. Tim Pawlenty responded: "Not particularly...What happened to Commissioner Yecke is a travesty. The bottom line is there is a cabal of education interest groups who are incredibly resistant to change. If you rock the boat, if you propose change, if you propose reform, you upset the status quo in order to try something new, they will try to squash you like a bug."

Dear readers, consider yourself warned.