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Hot Dish Politics

Tracking Minnesota’s political scene and keeping you up-to-date on those elected to serve you

2 legislators cited for public nuisance at park to pay fines

Two Republican state representatives cited for public nuisance by a Dakota County park ranger who wrote they were "making out" in a car at an Eagan park -- a characterization they strongly denied -- said Friday they would pay their fines anyway to settle the matter. 

Rep. Tim Kelly, R-Red Wing, and Rep. Tara Mack, R-Apple Valley, drew the citations on Aug. 25 at Lebanon Hills Regional Park in Eagan.

The St. Paul Pioneer Press reported earlier this week that in court documents, the ranger said the two were double parked, and that he discovered them making them out in one of the cars. Both Kelly and Mack, who are married to other people, called that report false. 

But both lawmakers released separate written statements on Friday that they had paid respective $260 nuisance fines. 

"Although I still do not agree with what was written in the report I have settled this parking/nuisance citation and have paid the fine," Kelly said. 

"With the loving support of so many, I'm moving on to focus my time and attention on my marriage, my family and those in my community," Mack said. 

David Gerson jumps on Rep. John Kline announcement that he's not running

David Gerson, a Tea Party favorite who has twice challenged Rep. John Kline for the Republican nomination in the Second Congressional District, wasted no time getting his campaign rolling the day after Kline announced he will not seek reelection

Gerson, an engineer by training, thanked Kline for his service before railing against the "Washington establishment and its tired and ineffective leadership." 

He said his first order of business would be to vote for someone other than Speaker John Boehner for Speaker of the House. Boehner is seen as too establishment by Tea Party activists, though his opponents have never mustered a serious challenge to him. So, Gerson could wind up beginning his term on the wrong side of the Speaker. 

Gerson is a small government Republican. He said he favors a plan to eliminate the deficit but did not specify how he would do so. He said he would raise the Social Security retirement age and begin reducing benefits for the well off, also know as "means testing." 

Other potential Republican candidates include Sen. Dave Thompson, R-Lakeville; Rep. Steve Drazkowski, R-Mazeppa; Rep. Tony Albright, R-Prior Lake; Dakota County Commissioner Mary Liz Holberg; Sen. Eric Pratt, R-Prior Lake. 

Kline's retirement creates an opening for Democrats; President Obama won the district in 2012. 

Mary Lawrence, a doctor, and Angie Craig, a St. Jude’s Medical executive, have already announced they are running. Rep. Joe Atkins, DFL-Inver Grove Heights, said he would make an announcement about his intentions next week. Rep. Rick Hansen, DFL-South St. Paul, is another potential candidate.

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