Monday, August 07, 2006

A Fine interview

A few weeks ago, at the "Patriot Picnic," hosted by AM 1280 The Patriot, the Northern Alliance Radio Network interviewed Alan Fine, GOP candidate for Congress in our very own Fifth District.

The NARN crew included John Hinderaker, Brian "St. Paul" Ward, and SD 44's own Chad the Elder. You can listen to the interview here, and below is the transcript.
BW: ...We are honored to be joined right now by the Republican candidate for Congress in the fifth district, Mr. Alan Fine. Alan Fine, let's welcome him folks!

(applause)

ALAN FINE: Thank you, thank you.

Brian: And I thought I was going to get "To Dream the Impossible Dream" theme music. Maybe next time we'll have the audio ready for that, but ...

John: Hey, hey, hey, let's start Alan out on the right foot, because I think the exciting news here is it's not the impossible dream. The old windmill has retired, and the new windmill is very, very creaky and can be defeated. I mean, I think that's the real message here. After all these years, Martin Sabo is gone, this is an open seat, the Democrats have nominated a left-wing kook, and Alan, what do you think your chances are?

ALAN FINE: Hey, I think... I'm going to win. It’s not about chances. It's going to happen.

Brian: Hey, we like to hear that!

(music clip: "Hallelujah")

(laughter)

ALAN FINE: And I'll say this, too. And, you know, I think I want to remind everybody here and everybody listening out there in radioland, that when there's been open seats in the past, and when it has to do with national office or statewide offices, the people of Minnesota think carefully about the candidates they're voting for. And if you look at 1978, that was an incredible year. Both Rudy Boschwitz and Dave Durenberger were running for seats that were considered staunch DFL seats that they had no chance. One was vacated by Hubert Humphrey, and the other was Mondale's seat when he became Vice President of the United States, and guess what? We had two Republicans that took both senate spots, but not only that, Al Quie took the governorship that year. Who would have predicted that?

John: That's right, the "Minnesota Massacre."

ALAN FINE: Absolutely, and the whole thing is, this was not a DFL seat for the last 28 years, this was Martin Sabo's seat, and going forward, this is going to be Alan Fine's seat.

Brian: Let’s hear it.

(applause)

ALAN FINE: And I just want to remind you guys out here, too, that from 1883 to 1963, this was a Republican seat.

Brian: Wow.

ALAN FINE: And there were only two guys that held this seat. That was Don Fraser and Martin Sabo. People of this district are frustrated with Democratic leadership, they are tired of the crime, they are tired of the high taxes. I don't know if any of you saw the debate between Democratic opponents on Almanac last night, but all they did was talk about raising your taxes and doing the things that are just going to stifle us as an economy and as a society.

They talk about entitlements, and the truth of the matter is that the American dream needs to be available for all of us. I've taught nearly 4000 students at the Carlson School of Management over the last eleven years, entrepreneurship and business strategy. I've been teaching them how to live the American dream, and I've been working with companies across the state over the past twenty years, helping the leaders of those companies to learn about the American dream and build the American dream for themselves and for their employees. And the key is that I want to build the American dream for all Americans - for our district, for our state, and for our country.

Brian: I'm ready to vote for him right now!.... And now we should talk a little bit about your background as well, you mentioned you taught at the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota. And you went to college at the U. as well, is that right?

ALAN FINE: Yeah, actually, my great grandfather came to Minneapolis in the 1880s. My family's been here a long time. All my grandparents were here by early last century, and we've been steeped here in Minnesota, and my heart is here, and that’s why I'm running.

Brian: Outstanding. What part of Minneapolis did you grow up in?

ALAN FINE: Southwest Minneapolis, and I'm still there.

Brian: A laker, right?

ALAN FINE: Yep.

Brian: Alright. And you went to the University of Minnesota, and you're currently a professor there, is that right?

ALAN FINE: I've been teaching at the Carlson School for the past eleven years. I set up the undergraduate entrepreneurship program and was actually the architect of that. And I directed that program up until the spring of 2003, and I still teach in that program for both MBAs and undergrads.

Brian: Excellent. And what got you interested in running for Congress in the Fifth District? Now I was kind of having some fun there, calling you the Man of La Mancha – "to dream the impossible dream." You know, I've seen Martin Sabo's vote totals. I saw John Kerry get 72% of the vote. What made you think you could actually win this race?

ALAN FINE: Well, there's a series of factors. One has to do with our economy. I think that a lot of Minnesotans are frustrated with where the economy is at for them. I think that with regard to crime and the issues of this district, people are fed up, and they're looking for a new brand of leadership. I don't think that you can compare a presidential election total to what's going to happen with non-incumbents in the race. When we look at the types of candidates the Democrats have selected, the best candidate the Democrats could find was Keith Ellison? I think that's an interesting statement about the Democratic party. What does the crowd think out there? Do you think that's the best that the Democrat party can come up with?

Brian: I think they're more interested in the pulled pork than the Democratic candidate right now.

(laughter)

Brian: Now did you jump into this race before Martin Sabo announced that he was not running?

ALAN FINE: No

Brian: So you actually saw this as a viable opportunity because Martin Sabo wasn't running?

ALAN FINE: Absolutely.

John: Alan, how would you differentiate yourself – I suppose they're almost too numerous to mention – in comparing your views from those of Keith Ellison, the endorsed DFL candidate? How would you describe?

ALAN FINE: Keith Ellison just last night was talking about how raising taxes is an investment in our future. And I think I'd like to be investing in my own future with my own money, and I think everybody else out here would like to do that as well.

(applause)

Brian: Another issue that is very serious for the urban environment is education. Of course, there's a lot of problems with the schools. What's your opinion on something like private school vouchers or things of that nature?

ALAN FINE: Well, education in and of itself - I think there's a big issue with regard to education we should all be thinking about. And that is, No Child Left Behind - I don't like a governmental program that’s one-size-fits-all. When we look at areas of our city like North Minneapolis and [inaudible] neighborhood, it's clear to see that the curriculum of those school districts needs to be different than the curriculum of other school districts to help take care of that population. There are other districts, for example, in South Minneapolis, where we have a lot of Latinos who don't speak English very well, and judging a teacher based on test scores and compare them to students that are native English speakers – I don't know if something like that is fair.

But when we talk about education in general, I think one of the most important things is about the theme of what education is all about. And I'm an educator for nearly eleven years now, and one of the things that I do with all my students is I teach them how to dream about their futures. And I don't know that teachers enable kids to dream today. They don't talk about – for example, when a kid is taking math and science, that child is just thinking about "Gosh, those subjects are boring. Who wants to take math? Who wants to take science?" But if you come up to this child and say to them, "You know, in the year 2020, we're planning on doing a space mission to Mars, and we're going to need four million people in this country that are going to enable us to accomplish that goal. Do you want to be a part of it?" Maybe one of those kids says, "You know, I want to be an astronaut." You say to them, "Well gosh, if you want to be an astronaut, well you're going to need to learn about physics, and you're going to need to learn about math, because those things are going to help you so you understand how the dynamics of that spaceship's going to work so that it can take you to Mars and that you can do it effectively. Well, now we've set this child up with a vision of what their future potential can be. And I think that in early education, when we've got kids in elementary school, we need to get them dreaming about the potential of their future. You know, this concept of the American dream isn't just about increasing our disposable income. It's about enabling kids and adults to see the potential of living out their dreams.

Brian: I wish I would’ve run into [inaudible]. Because I thought math and science was boring, and I'm suddenly inspired! "Can I get back into it?" is my question. I don’t know.

Chad: Alan, I've got a question for you about a subject near and dear to the hearts of a lot of people in the Fifth District. Keith Ellison has a checkered past when it comes to issues like anti-Semitism. What would your position be as far as support for Israel goes? Right now, Israel is in the top of the news, getting a lot of criticism, especially from European governments. President Bush seems supportive in the right to defend themselves. What is your position on Israel?

ALAN FINE: I actually spent my junior year of college in Israel. And I got a real feeling for what it's like to be there. And during that junior year that I was there, we lost nearly 400 American soldiers in Beirut. I don't know if any of you remember that incident that occurred back some, I think it's 23 years ago now – 22, 23 years ago.

But I'll tell you this, and that is that in getting to know the people there, the kids that go out to war are afraid. You see pictures of soldiers on the front of newspapers, and we think, "Gosh, Israel's this powerful army that is just running around rampantly like this invulnerable Superman force," but the truth of the matter is, this army is made up of a bunch of young men and women, who are 18, 19, 20 years old - just kids. They're afraid. They're afraid, and their parents – literally, this is a small country. I mean, you can fit the entire country between Rochester, Minnesota and St. Cloud, Minnesota. And it's not very wide. There are some places where it's only twenty miles wide.

You know, when a kid goes to basic training, it may be his uncle who is his commanding sergeant. Sending a child out into battle in Israel is very personal, and when you see that they lost two soldiers, this is not a small thing for them. These are their family members. This is a small community. Imagine if you're living in Minnesota, and somebody's lobbing rockets into Minneapolis. How would we be feeling right now? If somebody from Brainerd was shooting 300 rockets into our northern border around St. Cloud.

Israel has a right to defend itself, and they're dealing with a very difficult situation. And I think we need to do whatever we can to support those people. I know from being there that they are incredibly careful about taking military action, and they only do it when they feel their back is against the wall. And I think seeing hundreds of missiles coming out of Hezbollah into Israel territory is an indication that there's a big problem there. The real problem is with Syria and Iran, and we need to take care of those two countries and get them in line and get Hezbollah out of Lebanon so that Lebanon can be a free and sovereign state that's being run by the government of Lebanon, and not by...[end of podcast].

1 comment:

Alan Fine said...

I appreciate your effort at putting together the transcript.

Well done.

Alan Fine