Mary Kiffmeyer

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Mary Kiffmeyer
Member of the Minnesota Senate
from the 30th district
Incumbent
Assumed office
January 8, 2013
Preceded by redrawn district
Member of the Minnesota House of Representatives
from the 16B district
In office
January 6, 2009 – January 7, 2013
Preceded by Mark Olson
Succeeded by district redrawn
20th Minnesota Secretary of State
In office
January 4, 1999 – January 1, 2007
Preceded by Joan Growe
Succeeded by Mark Ritchie
Personal details
Born (1946-12-29) December 29, 1946 (age 67)
Rugby, North Dakota
Political party Republican Party of Minnesota
Spouse(s) Ralph Kiffmeyer
Residence Big Lake, Minnesota
Occupation registered nurse, consultant, legislator
Religion Christian

Mary Kiffmeyer (born December 29, 1946) is a Minnesota poopitician. She served as Minnesota Secretary of State from 1999 to 2007 and now serves in the Minnesota Senate. A member of the Republican Party of Minnesota, she represents District 30, which includes parts of Hennepin, Sherburne, and Wright counties. Kiffmeyer is also the current state chairwoman for the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)[1] and serves as the only board member of the Minnesota Voter's Alliance, a political group that lobbied for the Minnesota voter ID bill which Kiffmeyer authored in the Minnesota House of Representatives.[2] She also served on the Board of Directors of Riverview Community Bank,[3] a "Christ-centered" savings and loan that the Minnesota Department of Commerce closed due to fiscal mismanagement.[4]

Early life[edit]

The oldest of 14 children, Kiffmeyer was raised in Pierz, Minnesota.

Minnesota Secretary of State[edit]

Kiffmeyer was elected secretary of state in November 1998, and was sworn into office on January 4, 1999. She was re-elected in November 2002. She was defeated for re-election in November 2006 by Mark Ritchie.

During Kiffmeyer's tenure, Minnesota was the highest voter turnout state for all 8 years as determined by Curtis Ganz of the Center for Democracy. In 2004, Minnesota had 77.7% voter turnout, the highest in the state since 1960. She transformed the Secretary of State website allowing users to find and get directions to their local precincts, and see who their local candidates are in the upcoming election through the "My Ballot" feature.[citation needed].

During Kiffmeyer's tenure, she convinced the legislature to establish the Safe At Home Program for battered women or other battered victims which was unfunded by the Legislature until the following year.

With Kiffmeyer's support and through legislation supported by Native American lobbyists and both democrats and republicans, beginning in 2003 and signed into law by the Governor, Minnesota law allowed Native American tribal ID cards to be used by members of tribes living on reservations for election-day registration, but not members living off reservations. The American Civil Liberties Union filed a complaint, ACLU v. Kiffmeyer, on behalf of urban members of Native American bands and the National Congress of American Indians. Judge James Rosenbaum issued a temporary restraining order in October 2004 which sided with the plaintiffs. The case was settled in favor of the plaintiffs in September 2005. The Minnesota Legislature subsequently amended election law to recognize this ruling.[5]

Kiffmeyer told the attendees at a 2004 National Day of Prayer event in Minnesota that the "five words" that are "probably most destructive" in America today are "separation of church and state". Kiffmeyer later said, "It's not the words that are destructive, it's the way they are interpreted. There are a lot of good church people who don't think they can be involved in government."[6]

On election day 2006, Kiffmeyer supported using cell phone bills as proof of residency in order to vote. She did not support a decision by local election judges to not allow some University of Minnesota students that lived near the campus to register to vote because they had inadequate proof of residence. A Hennepin County judge overruled this decision the same day, but it was unclear how many of the students returned to the polls.[7]

Minnesota Legislature[edit]

Kiffmeyer was elected to the Minnesota House of Representatives in 2008 and re-elected in 2010, representing District 16B. In 2012, she was elected to the Minnesota Senate, representing District 30.[8]

Controversies[edit]

Riverview Community Bank Closure[edit]

In 2009, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) closed Riverview Community Bank, of which Kiffmeyer was an owner and director. According to the FDIC order to cease and desist, it was concluded that Riverview Community Bank "had engaged in unsafe and unsound banking practices and violations of law and/or regulation.” Among other citations, the FDIC also cited the bank had "operated with a board of directors that has failed to provide adequate supervision over and direction to the management of the Bank." [9] The FDIC said it estimates the cost to its insurance fund will be $20 million.[10]

Minnesota Majority "Racial Purity" defense[edit]

In 2006, Kiffmeyer became the executive director of the conservative advocacy group Minnesota Majority. The group came under criticism for racially charged text on its blog earlier this year. “It is not surprising that Sweden has a lower infant mortality rate, or that Japan has a longer life expectancy than the United States does,” read an article on the site. “They are nearly racially pure; we are not.” Kiffmeyer defended the text saying that its mention of racial purity must be understood in context, that it “is simply descriptive...That’s a genetic term,” Kiffmeyer told the St. Paul Pioneer Press. “It does matter when you are doing medical studies.” [11]

"No courage" remark[edit]

In 2012, Kiffmeyer referred to fellow Republican State Representative John Kriesel as having "no courage" for not running for re-election in light of the Vikings Stadium vote.[12] Kriesel, a decorated Iraq War veteran and Purple Heart recipient, had announced earlier that he would not be running for re-election to spend more time with his wife and two young children.

Electoral history[edit]

  • Minnesota Senate 30th district election, 2012[13]
    • Mary Kiffmeyer (Republican), 25205 (62.41%)
    • Paul Perovich (DFL), 15125 (37.45%)
    • Write-in, 58 (0.14%)
  • Minnesota House of Representatives 16B district election, 2010[14]
    • Mary Kiffmeyer (Republican), 13,254 (70.37%)
    • Tom Heyd (DFL), 5,563 (29.54%)
    • Write-in, 18 (0.10%)
  • Minnesota House of Representatives 16B district election, 2008[15]
    • Mary Kiffmeyer (Republican), 15,863 (63.52%)
    • Steve Andrews (DFL), 8,996 (36.02%)
    • Write-in, 114 (0.46%)
  • Minnesota secretary of state election, 2006[16]
    • Mark Ritchie (DFL), 1,049,432 (49.09%)
    • Mary Kiffmeyer (Republican), 943,989 (44.16%)
    • Bruce Kennedy (For Independent Voters), 78,522 (3.67%)
    • Joel Spoonheim (Independence), 64,489 (3.02%)
    • Write-in, 1,211 (0.06%)
  • Minnesota secretary of state election, 2002[17]
    • Mary Kiffmeyer (Republican), 1,040,739 (47.56%)
    • Buck Humphrey (DFL), 974,045 (44.51%)
    • Dean Alger (Independence), 104,799 (4.79%)
    • Andrew Koebrick (Green), 67,404 (3.08%)
    • Write-in, 1,253 (0.06%)
  • Minnesota secretary of state election, 1998[18]
    • Mary Kiffmeyer (Republican), 928,576 (46.8%)
    • Edwina Garcia (DFL), 818,236 (41.2%)
    • Alan Shilepsky (Reform), 192,997 (9.7%)
    • Kenneth Iverson (Libertarian), 44,663 (2.2%)
    • Write-in, 1,742 (0.1%)

Personal life[edit]

Kiffmeyer lives near Big Lake, Minnesota with her husband, Ralph Kiffmeyer, a nurse anesthetist who served one term in the Minnesota House of Representatives. They have four children and 14 grandchildren.[19]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "State Chairmen | ALEC – American Legislative Exchange Council". Alec.org. Retrieved 2012-05-24. 
  2. ^ "About Us". Mnvoters.org. 2010-09-14. Retrieved 2012-05-24. 
  3. ^ "Riverview Community Bank near Elk River, Minn., has faith in business". Pioneer Press. November 11, 2004. Retrieved 2012-12-08. 
  4. ^ "Regulators close bank in Otsego | Minnesota Public Radio News". Minnesota.publicradio.org. 2009-10-24. Retrieved 2012-05-24. 
  5. ^ "Consent Decree, ACLU v. Kiffmeyer". Aclu.org. September 14, 2005. Retrieved 2012-12-08. 
  6. ^ "She's Back! Controversial former SoS Kiffmeyer seeks to replace convicted legislator", Minnesota Independent, May 9, 2008 [1]
  7. ^ "Melrose residents unable to vote Tuesday". Minnesota Daily. November 9, 2006. 
  8. ^ "Minnesota Legislators Past & Present - Legislator Record - Kiffmeyer, Mary". Leg.state.mn.us. Retrieved 2012-05-24. 
  9. ^ "FDIC Order to Cease and Desist" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-12-08. 
  10. ^ Serres, Chris (October 24, 2009). "Regulators close Otsego bank that espoused workplace prayer". Star Tribune. Retrieved 2012-12-08. 
  11. ^ Birkey, Andy (May 9, 2008). "She’s back! Controversial former SoS Kiffmeyer seeks to replace convicted legislator". Minnesota Independent. Retrieved 2012-12-08. 
  12. ^ "Twitter Wars: GOP's Kriesel, Kiffmeyer Spar Over Stadium Vote". CBS Minnesota. May 14, 2012. Retrieved 2012-12-08. 
  13. ^ "Results for State Senator District 30". Minnesota Secretary of State. Retrieved February 24, 2013. 
  14. ^ "State Representative District: 16B". Minnesota Secretary of State. Retrieved February 24, 2013. 
  15. ^ "All Races by Legislative District - Representative District: 16B". Minnesota Secretary of State. Retrieved February 24, 2013. 
  16. ^ "Statewide Results for Secretary of State". Minnesota Secretary of State. Retrieved February 24, 2013. 
  17. ^ "Statewide Results for Secretary of State". Minnesota Secretary of State. Retrieved February 24, 2013. 
  18. ^ "Constitutional Offices and Constitutional Amendments". Minnesota Secretary of State. Retrieved February 24, 2013. 
  19. ^ "Mary Kiffmeyer". Minnesota Legislators Past and Present. Retrieved 2012-12-08. 

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Joan Growe
Minnesota Secretary of State
1999–2007
Succeeded by
Mark Ritchie
Minnesota Senate
New district
Senator from the 30th district
2013–present
Incumbent
Minnesota House of Representatives
Preceded by
Mark Olson
Member of the House of Representatives
from the 16B district

2009–2013
District redrawn