Dean Barkley joins Illinois effort to start a new party

  • Article by: Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 23, 2010 - 8:45 AM
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Dean Barkley

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Dean Barkley, a founding father of the Minnesota Reform Party who helped Independent Jesse Ventura "shock the world" when the former pro wrestler became Minnesota's governor, is again trying to challenge America's two-party system.

Barkley, who briefly served as a U.S. senator, is co-chairman of a committee that is pursuing establishment of a new political party in Illinois that could be expanded across the country.

The face of the movement is Thane Ritchie, a Chicago area investor/hedge fund manager who has sued imprisoned Minnesota Ponzi scheme operator Tom Petters for what Ritchie said were $150 million in losses.

"Ordinary, practical Americans deserve another option, a different path to address 'real solutions to the real issues' they face at their kitchen tables each night," said Ritchie. "So [Tuesday] I am announcing the formation of an ad hoc committee to explore the possibility of establishing a new political party here in Illinois and ultimately nationally."

Ritchie said the committee's mission is to identify the top five issues facing Illinoisans and other Americans. If the committee goes forward with a new party, a slate of candidates will be put forth in time for this year's elections.

Barkley, 59, was appointed to the Senate in 2002 by Ventura after the death of Sen. Paul Wellstone in an airplane crash. He was succeeded in January 2003 by Republican Norm Coleman, who defeated Walter Mondale in the 2002 general election.

PAUL WALSH

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