Purple Caucus Continues to Grow
ST. PAUL, Minn. – Republicans and Democrats came together this morning for the second meeting of the new Purple Caucus. Fourteen Senators attended the caucus—four more than the first meeting before mid-session break. In total, 16 Senators have attended Purple Caucus and roughly one third of the entire Senate body has expressed interest in joining.
Legislators in attendance today share backgrounds in non-partisan local government such as city councils, school and county boards. Furthermore, many were elected in 2010 or 2012 making the caucus full of fresh voices to the Minnesota Senate.
“Seeing more people at Purple Caucus today than attended our first meeting nearly a month ago, shows that this group has momentum and is filling a need at the State Capitol,” said Senator Roger Reinert (DFL-Duluth), co-chair of the Caucus. “As a civics teacher, this idea that we can function first as Minnesotans and other labels second is very consistent with my values.”
Conversation at today’s breakfast meeting focused on what these lawmakers would do if they could confidently put Minnesota first. Many referenced issues that came across party lines, but get boxed in by party politics. Members also discussed changes to legislative process and how to make the process more efficient and transparent.
Senator Jeremy Miller (R-Winona) co-chairs the Purple Caucus with Sen. Reinert. “This effort is going to take time and patience,” said Sen. Miller. “We need to take the time needed to build this caucus and really see what the Purple Caucus can do. Like Roger, I’m encouraged by the membership growth we saw at this morning’s meeting and I know it will continue.”
Overall, attendees reflected positively on the morning’s discussion. A third meeting of the Purple Caucus will occur in the near future.