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DFLers hold county convention, elect officers

DETROIT LAKES - One hundred and five delegates gathered at the Rossman Elementary School last Saturday morning for the Becker County Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party Convention.

The DFL delegates were elected from a pool of approximately 450 DFLers who attended precinct caucuses on Feb 5.

(The Republicans also met Saturday, but have not yet provided a news release/photo to the newspaper)

The Becker County DFL Convention delegation elected new officers, new directors (six women and six men) to the board of directors and state central committee alternates (one man and one woman).

If the chair is a man, then the associate chair must be a woman, and vice-versa, in accordance with DFL Constitution and Bylaws. All will serve for two years beginning immediately after the close of the convention and until the close of the 2010 Becker County Convention.

The Becker County DFL officers are: Chair Dave Erickson (Detroit Lakes), Associate Chair Brenda Menier (rural Lake Park), Secretary Ryan Engberg (Detroit Lakes), Treasurer Virgil Gunnarson (Lake Park), and Affirmative Action Officer Tara Mason (Callaway).

Erickson and Menier will also serve as members of the 7th CD DFL and State DFL Central Committees. Ted Fiskevold (Erie Township) and Sharon Josephson (Detroit Lakes) will serve as alternate members to those two committees.

The new Becker County DFL Executive Board of Directors includes: Sharon Sinclair (Detroit Lakes), Judy Rodgers (Detroit Lakes), Cyndi Anderson (Detroit Lakes), Mary Hansen (rural Waubun), Margaret Rousu (Callaway) and Sharon Josephson (Detroit Lakes); and Roger Winter (rural Callaway), Jerry Nagel (rural Lake Park), Chris Damlo, (Detroit Lakes), Lon Engberg (Erie Township), Bill Kvebak (Detroit Lakes) and Ted Fiskevold (Erie Township).

The five officers and the 12 directors will conduct the business of the Becker County DFL in between the 2008 and 2010 conventions.

The Becker County Convention Delegation also selected and elected six delegates (three men and three women) and six alternates (three women and three men) to the 7th Congressional District DFL Convention (May 17 in Alexandria) and the State DFL Convention (June 6-8 in Rochester).

At those two conventions, the six Becker County delegates will: participate in electing delegates to the Democratic National Convention that will likely endorse either Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama as the Democratic nominee for president. (Denver August 25-28); endorse a DFL candidate for the 7th Congressional District U.S. representative seat (which has been U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson at nine of 10 conventions held in the past 20 years); endorse a DFL candidate for the statewide 2008 U.S. Senate race (Al Franken, Mike Ciresi or Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer); vote on resolutions and motions that affect the DFL Party Platform, Constitution and Bylaws; conduct DFL party business and elect some statewide party officers and directors; wave a lot of signs and do a lot of marching; and attend banquets, hospitality rooms, parties, meetings, sub-caucuses and all-around merry-making.

The delegates are: Dave Erickson, Bill Kvebak, David Stowman (Detroit Lakes), Sharon Josephson, Cyndi Anderson and Tara Mason; and the alternates are: Chris Damlo, Lon Engberg, Larry Buboltz (Detroit Lakes), Brenda Menier, Robin Moeller (Detroit Lakes) and Sharon Sinclair. All declared they are supporters of Franken for U.S. Senate except Stowman, who supports Ciresi. The twelve were basically mixed or uncommitted regarding Obama and Clinton.

"This only further exemplifies that the party is unified; quite comfortable with either Clinton or Obama," Lon Engberg remarked. Chuckling he added, "And that's a good thing, even though I am for Obama."

Super delegates to the State and 7th Congressional District DFL Conventions include DFL members of the U.S. Senate and Congress, DFL state senators and state representatives, DFL state officers (governor, attorney general, auditor and secretary of state), DFL mayor of major cities (those cities that run non-partisan like St. Paul, Minneapolis and Duluth) and tribal chairman (woman) of the major Indian tribes who attend precinct caucus as DFL members.

Two super delegates to the DFL state and congressional district conventions live in Becker County. White Earth Tribal Chairwoman Erma Vizenor and U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson are super delegates by nature of their elected positions. Vizenor lives in rural Becker County on the White Earth Reservation. Peterson's Minnesota home is on Little Floyd Lake in rural Detroit Lakes.

As a congressman, Peterson is also a super delegate to the Democratic National Convention in Denver.

"This was a much energized group of delegates who attended our convention," Erickson said. "We had a record number of young people in their 20s and 30s and even high school students ... and that is reflective in the officers and delegates that we elected. Bill Kvebak's message encouraging young people to be part of the political process was very inspiring."

Students must be 18, or turn 18 before the election in November in order to participate in the caucus/convention proceedings.

A group of high school students were part of the Becker County DFL Convention delegation. Kvebak is a government and social studies teacher at Detroit Lakes High School. He addressed the convention with remarks that included "...Barack Obama will bring needed change to this country..." And with broken-voiced passion while waving his hand towards the students Kvebak added "...these kids are the future of this DFL Party and this country..."