Sen. Barack Obama became the first African-American to ever be elected president of the United States. The U.S. Senate race between Sen. Norm Coleman and Al Franken is so close that the votes will be counted again. Despite a firestorm of criticism, Rep. Michelle Bachmann will return to Washington, D.C., as the U.S. Representative from Minnesota’s Sixth District.
What does all of this mean?
That is what former U.S. Representative Martin Olav Sabo ’59 and Lyall Schwarzkopf, a former state legislator and former chief of staff for Gov. Arne Carlson, will attempt to explain on Monday evening. “Reflections on the Elections,” an event sponsored by the Sabo Center for Citizenship and Learning, the College Republicans, and College Democrats will be held at Augsburg College on Nov. 10 at 7 p.m.
The goal is to try to provide perspective from different points of view. Sabo, a DFLer and Augsburg alum, spent 46 years as an elected official, including 28 years in U.S. House of Representatives. Schwarzkopf, a Republican, was a city administrator in Minneapolis and is a past chair of the Hennepin County GOP.
“It’s a chance for people to interpret the election and what it means for the future,” Sabo said. “Lyall and I may agree on everything, we may have a difference of opinion.”
Sabo, who was first elected to the Minnesota House of Representatives in 1960 and was first elected to the U.S. House in 1978, said the election was an interesting one to watch because of how it changed over time.
“The focus turned totally around in a year with the economy being the focal point,” he said. “Before it was Iraq, fiscal policy and funding.”
The country’s economic problems will be one of the biggest things that Obama and the Democratic-controlled Congress will have to take care of. Sabo said simply, “There’s a lot of work to do.”
While Sabo has been out of office just less than two years, this election cycle was different.
“It was more negative than when I ran,” he said. “In the Third and Sixth (districts) there were lots of negative ads. A lot of it is driven by outside groups. That’s been escalating over the last few years.”
Reflections on the Elections
Monday, Nov. 10, 7 p.m.
Oren Gateway Center, Room 10