Sen. David Osmek, net neutrality enemy, abandons race for governor

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The Republican senator did his best to sabotage a bill that would bar internet providers from selling your personal data. David Joles, Star Tribune

Minnesota Sen. David Osmek (R-Mound) shouldered his way into a crowded race for Minnesota governor in August, promising to go to work for the regular people.

While every governor hopeful promises that, Osmek quickly distinguished himself from every other major candidate by refusing to release his tax returns. The Minnesota tradition tells voters how much their elected officials pay in taxes and what they give to charity, but Osmek told the Pioneer Press that he doesn’t believe the public needs to know how much he earns for a living or how generous he is in order to elect him.

Osmek is also known for his staunch and sometimes-obscene opposition to light-rail, which he refers to as a “liberal wet dream.” 

More recently, he’s been sparring with readers over the Trump FCC’s revocation of net neutrality rules, writing that there’s no evidence (so far) that internet service providers would create online toll roads to access.

Osmek’s defense of the FCC’s decision mirrors his own actions in the state legislature last year to kill a bipartisan privacy bill to prohibit internet providers from selling customers’ data. That measure failed after passing the House unanimously and the Senate 66-1 (Osmek), because it was left out of the final Jobs and Energy bill. Democrats Sen. Ron Latz (St. Louis Park) and Rep. Paul Thissen (Minneapolis) have pledged to revive the bill in the upcoming session, and to push state agencies to favor internet providers who agree to net neutrality principles.

Four months after announcing his candidacy, Osmek’s calling it quits. The Associated Press reported Monday morning that Osmek is suspending his campaign after a Republican State Central Committee straw poll ranked him fifth out of seven candidates.

Major candidates who remain include Republicans Keith Downey (former Republican Party of Minnesota chairman), Matt Dean (state representative), Jeff Johnson (Hennepin County commissioner), and Mary Guiliani Stephens (Woodbury mayor), as well as Democrats Tim Walz (congressman), Rebecca Otto (state auditor), Erin Murphy (state representative), Chris Coleman (former St. Paul mayor), Tina Liebling (state representative), and Paul Thissen (state representative).

 


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