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119 CITIZEN ACTIVIST From Public Servant to Private Practice A year after Judge Lord’s decision, and during the debate over where the tailings basin should be built, I decided to resign from my job with the MPCA. I had stayed much longer than I had planned and was anxious to return to private law practice. I had enjoyed most of my time as director of the MPCA, but I had pushed myself at top speed, figuring I wouldn’t be there long. Since I could not rejoin my old law firm, I was glad to accept Governor Anderson’s offer to do some part-­ time consulting for him on the Reserve Mining case. This enabled me to attend critical sessions and advise Wendy on what was happening. A very able young man named Peter Gove succeeded me as MPCA chief. He had been the governor’s liaison with me, and we enjoyed a good working relationship over the prior three years. I was glad he took the job. Before leaving the MPCA post the staff had a going-­ away gathering and gave me a unique present—­ a plaque with engraved depictions from The Lorax, by Dr. Seuss. The brass plate on the wooden tablet holding a copy of the book says, “For Persistence in Ridding the Once-­ Lers Amongst Us.” I have treasured this gift and used the Lorax story in speeches many times ever since. Citizen Activist 120 My four years and four months at the helm of the MPCA had been both exciting and wearing. Most of all I enjoyed the advocacy role on the environment that the job afforded as well as the chance to work with an outstanding group of folks who strived to change Minnesota’s environmental policies and programs. That included an excellent staff of state employees and numerous citizens and groups around the state as well as nationally. I am grateful to Governor Anderson for the job and his support during the entire time I was there. When we disagreed, it was always with genuine respect for each other. It was an unforgettable experience. The support we received from the news media in Minnesota and elsewhere was key to the achievements of those years. Finally, a brief tribute to my friend and boss, who passed away in July 2016. For some four or five years before Wendy Anderson died, I spent numerous hours with him talking over politics, golf, history, and fellow Minnesotans. I enjoyed these good visits and, of course, reminiscing about the past. Several times we drove around the Twin Cities in my Toyota, and during the first trips he repeated his aversion to Japanese cars. He held a grudge against Japan for what they did in World War II, and especially to several of his family members who died in that war. But he finally got over that topic. One day as we drove back from St. Paul he started talking to himself and said to the floor, not to me, that “it was the worst mistake I ever made,” referring, of course, to his self-­ appointment to the U.S. Senate. He never blamed anybody but himself for the decision. I have thought how ironic it was that Wendy’s decision to resign his governor’s term made Rudy Perpich governor. If Wendy had not appointed himself to the Senate, Rudy Perpich may never have been elected governor. So it can be said that Wendy was responsible for Perpich becoming governor and serving the state of Minnesota for ten years. During those years Minnesota benefited from Perpich’s strong support for the magnificent new History Center in St. Paul, one of the very best in the country. Wendy had a quick mind and a good memory until it became clouded in his last years by what would likely have been termed “hardening of the arteries” in our growing-­ up years and dementia Citizen Activist 121 today. He liked reading history, especially of World War II. He kept up on the national news by religiously reading the New York Times, made available to him by friends who bought him a subscription. His bold support for on-­ land disposal of Reserve Mining’s taconite tailings at Silver Bay not only pleased me, the Save Lake Superior Association, and the Minnesota Environmental Control Citizens Association, it also set the course for the Anderson administration on the environment. His many accomplishments over the many years he served the people of Minnesota will...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9781452957081
Print ISBN
9780816678815
MARC Record
OCLC
1028583093
Pages
216
Launched on MUSE
2018-06-11
Language
English
Open Access
N
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