Policy

Minnesota’s lifescience players deep into Fall campaign races

After surveying the chaos otherwise known as Fall elections, I can confidently conclude one thing: I don’t think Democrat gubernatorial candidate Mark Dayton is scoring a lot of votes from the business community, especially the important lifescience industry. So that leaves GOP nominee Tom Emmer and Independence Party favorite Tom Horner vying for lifescience votes.

After surveying the chaos otherwise known as Fall elections, I can confidently conclude one thing: I don’t think Democrat gubernatorial candidate Mark Dayton is scoring a lot of votes from the business community, especially the important lifescience industry.

That’s not entirely surprising, given Dayton’s proposals to tax the rich and a complete absence of any ideas to help high-tech startups obtain capital. (Sorry Mark, establishing a “micro-lending fund” won’t really cut it. Maybe in Indonesia, but not Minnesota.)

So that leaves GOP nominee Tom Emmer and Independence Party favorite Tom Horner vying for lifescience votes.

John Alexander is certainly not shy about showing his preference. The president and founder of Twin Cities Angels, who helped push lawmakers to pass the $60 million angel investment tax credit, is throwing his support behind Emmer, who supports an expansion of  those angel credits.

Alexander, along with Dr. Ross Paskoff, a surgeon at the TRIA Orthopedic Center and Dr. Richard Tholen, president of  Minneapolis Plastic Surgery, are hosting a fundraiser for Emmer Oct. 11 at the Good Day Cafe in Golden Valley, Minnesota.

The fundraiser won’t rake in huge amounts of cash — $50 minimum, $1,000 maximum — but heck, that’s more money than I have.

From Alexander’s e-mail:

As Minnesotans, we can not allow our state to follow in the footsteps of the Federal Government by spending beyond our means.  Of the 3 candidates running for Governor, only Tom Emmer consistently and thoughtfully expresses the priority to rain in government spending and build our economy by reducing taxes and unneeded and duplicative regulatory constraints on the private sector.  The two alternative candidates support a range of expansion of government modestly to radically.  Government is far from the solution, rather it has become the problem.

Somewhere, somehow, Ronald Reagan is shedding a tear.

LifeScience Alley (LSA), the state’s largest medical technology industry group, doesn’t officially endorse candidates. But LSA seems to favor Horner, whose job creation platform includes a $145 million Minnesota Innovation Fund to help startups.

“We have met with the staff of all three major party candidates to brief them on our industry and concerns,” LSA’s monthly political newsletter said. “The response has been positive from each. Each candidate has strong positive attributes, and only Tom Horner does not have a glaring negative (tax increases from Dayton and [cuts in] higher-ed and state health program funding from Emmer).

These days, I guess the candidate with the least negatives, glaring or not,  is as good as it gets.

LSA also seems to like Marion Greene, who’s vying for former House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher’s old seat in Minneapolis. Kelliher, who lost the Democratic primary to Dayton, is not running for reelection.

Greene, a former campaign manager for Kelliher, works as a health policy and reimbursement expert at St. Jude Medical Inc. and boasts an MBA from the University of Texas.

To tell ya the truth, it would be kind of refreshing to have someone with extensive medical device experience help oversee policy that impacts medical device firms.

LSA (remember, it doesn’t endorse candidates!) encouraged its members to attend a recent a fundraiser for Greene hosted by lobbyist Jennifer Breitinger, whose clients have included America’s Health Insurance Plans, Bristol-Meyers Squibbs, GlaxoSmithKline and the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturing Association of America (PhRMA).

As it happens, LSA is working with PhRMA to oppose federal and state legislation that would make it harder to conduct clinical trials for drugs and devices.

Not that Greene really needs the money. As LSA notes, the Democratic nominee is running in a heavily Democratic district. And just in case you’re still not sure where Greene’s political winds blow, check out the list of organizations that endorsed her. (Hint: they’re not likely to support Emmer.)