Mike Parry's fall from grace: Congressional candidate denied seat on small-town EDA

The Senator no longer passes muster with his hometown's City Council.
The Senator no longer passes muster with his hometown's City Council.

It's been a rough year for Mike Parry. The state Senator from Waseca began the year with aspirations to unseat Rep. Tim Walz from his congressional seat. But after an epic and inconclusive convention-night struggle, Parry was unable to secure the MNGOP nomination and in August he lost a primary to Allen Quist.

-- Parry laughed at during hearing, told to "pop some pills!"
-- Parry falsely claims FDN endorsement; gets scolded by editor
-- Parry says Dayton is a drug addict, pops "15 or 16 pills" during meetings

But Parry, whose party lost the Senate seat he's surrendering after his would-be MNGOP replacement turned out to be almost as loony as he is, has no plans to retire from Minnesota politics. And in hopes of doing something productive with the two years between now and the next election, Parry decided to apply for an open seat on Waseca's Economic Development Authority. As a native Wasecan and retiring legislator, you'd think his hometown's city government would be thrilled to have him, right?

Wrong. As Sally Jo Sorensen reports on her Bluestem Prairie blog, the City Council unanimously decided to pick "some other guy," a decision likely influenced by memories of Parry trash-talking Wasecans after he failed to carry his hometown during the August primary.

Here are some quotes Parry recently offered up about Waseca in the wake of his primary defeat:

From a September 8 Owatonna People's Press report:
"I never did think I would do well (in Waseca County). You never win your hometown, knowing the people of Waseca, and the people that vote in Waseca," Parry said. "You have some strong liberals. Even the independents like Mayor Roy Srp lean to the left. It is what it is. It would have been nice to win Waseca, but it didn't happen. "

From another OPP report published a couple days later:

"In Waseca, there is still an intergovernmental power struggle going on, not the cooperation there should be," he said. "Waseca appears to have a lot of individuals that want to make a name for themselves. There are certain pockets of teamwork, but nobody wants to come together and have a plan. That's everything from trying to bring an event into town to trying to bring a business into town."...

"Do we really need a police department in Waseca, Minnesota?" Parry asked. "I was in law enforcement, and I think the sheriff's department could handle it just they are doing it in Jackson, Minnesota. Here we have a city council in Waseca that flatly won't talk about something like this. To me that is being close-minded."

Parry's criticism of Waseca's police expenditures prompted this op-ed reply from Mayor Roy Srp (yes, his name apparently has no consonants):

In response to the Owatonna People's Press article, "Parry proud of the work he did for Steele County," I find it difficult to understand how Sen. Parry could hold, let alone express, such a poor opinion of his community...

This year the police will respond to over 8,000 calls for service, these will include public nuisances, assaults, traffic drug and alcohol enforcement, criminal damage, accident investigation, burglaries, thefts, and near drownings. So to answer Sen. Parry's question, "Do we need a Police Department in Waseca?" Does he need a Police Department in Waseca? Absolutely!

As Sorensen notes, Parry's initial 2007-08 tenure on the Waseca EDA wasn't exactly given rave reviews -- one colleague characterized his sub-50 percent meeting attendance record as "awful."

If he's serious about rebooting his political career, it looks like the 58-year-old Parry shot too high with his EDA aspiration, so perhaps a more realistic path might be running for neighborhood block president or something. Sure, it's a few notches below U.S. Representative on the prestige scale, buy you gotta (re)start somewhere, right?

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