When was the last time you actually saw Democrats and Republicans laugh together and poke fun at each other? For me, it was last Friday night at the 10th annual MinnRoast held at the State Theater in downtown Minneapolis.
By way of background, MinnPost is an online alternative newspaper that increasingly draws a larger and larger audience. Its presence in Minnesota journalism is not to be taken lightly largely due to the talent it has picked up from the shedding that has taken place at the Star Tribune and Pioneer Press. Major writers such as Nick Coleman, Doug Grow, Joe Kimball and television political talent like Cindy Brucato and Mary Lahammer are all part of the MinnPost team.
Each year, MinnPost supporters, friends, sponsors and an array of political junkies come together for an evening of fun and camaraderie. But, in a larger sense, it really is the only gathering in Minnesota where both parties can participate without brandishing an array of weapons. Legislators like Jim Abeler (GOP) and Illan Omar (DFL) did a light skit about the famous comments of House Minority Leader Melissa Hortman relative to the boys in the legislative retiring room. Amy Klobucher and Tom Emmer from opposite ends of the political spectrum did monologues that were the best in political theater. Tom Horner’s “Lewis Carroll School for Aspring Press Secretaries” was clearly worthy of being on Saturday Night Live. Horner, a political independent, has long been one of Minnesota’s best political commentators.
To me personally, there were two highlights. The first involved a wonderful conversation with 6th District Congressman, Tom Emmer (GOP) who praised Senator Amy Klobucher (DFL) for her ability to work across the political aisle. Tom and Amy have worked together in many areas including opening doors to Cuba. That is a major step forward.
The second was the honoring of Lee Lynch, founder of Carmichael Lynch Advertising, for his early sponsorship of MinnPost along with Joel and Laurie Kramer.
I had the pleasure of rooming with Lee way back in the late ‘50’s while we were both at the University of Minnesota. He was then and remains a person of extraordinary talent with a deep love of the Minnesota community. Although he tends to be partial to the Irish Green, he bleeds Maroon and Gold.
Overall, the quality of the production was solid, fast paced and well received. It reflected an extraordinary amount of work. But the efforts paid off in giving Minnesota something it desperately needed – a reason to come together. Our divisive times need a refreshing break and MinnRoast provided it.
Joel Kramer, the former Managing Editor of the Star Tribune, deserves special applause for his investment in the betterment of Minnesota. Truly – well done.