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Wyman L. (Wy) Spano has been formally involved in politics for 64 years. He was an 18 year-old “special” delegate to the Republican State Convention. He soon saw the error of his young ways and became a Democrat.
He started in 1980 and co-edited for 22 years the pre-blog publication Politics in Minnesota.
The same year (1980), and for 36 years, he became a registered contract (i.e. multiple clients) lobbyist at the Minnesota Legislature, He mostly did nonprofit and government work but also railroads.
In 2002 he started, directed and taught in the Masters in Advocacy and Political Leadership (MAPL) program now at Metropolitan State University in St. Paul.
From 1985 to 2014 he appeared more than 300 times as a political panelist on the Public Television show Almanac, running weekly on Twin Cities Public Television.
He co-authored the book, Minnesota Politics and Government (1999).
His favorite job was as a yard clerk for the Son Line Railroad where he’d walk about 15 miles a shift, then go golfing (walking) afterwards. He doesn’t walk when he golfs anymore; he pretty much lost interest in golf after Trump became the nation’s #1 golfer.
Buddy Robinson worked as a community organizer and consumer advocate for 45 years. The last 40 of those was as Staff Director of the MN Citizens Federation NE (formerly Senior Federation), based in Duluth. He was also lead health care policy staff for the MN Senior Federation, and Co-Coordinator of the Greater MN Health Care Coalition. He co-authored, with Mark Hanna, Strategies for Community Empowerment (1994). Consumers Union (publisher of Consumer Reports) picked him to be part of a national network of health care consumer advocate experts. He is currently doing some consulting on consumer utility regulation issues. As a child, Buddy was often harassed by schoolyard bullies. He's been enjoying giving bullies their comeuppance ever since.
I’m an adult educator, labor activist and member of the AFSCME Council 65 Retiree Chapter. I retired in 2007 from the Minnesota AFL-CIO, where I worked as chief of staff and, prior to that, communications director and member of TNG-CWA. Since retiring, I’ve taught in the Master of Advocacy and Political Leadership (MAPL) program, at the University of Minnesota Duluth and, now, at Metro State University. I had the privilege to serve as president of the Minnesota State Retiree Council AFL-CIO from December 2011 to 2018.
Before employment with the Minnesota AFL-CIO, I was, for some years, a stay-at-home father during the day while teaching Labor Studies, evenings, at Metro State. Prior to that, I taught high school in rural Lesotho, worked as a staff representative for Council 65 and was an educator and organizer with the Urban Affairs Commission (UAC) of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.
Spending time with my dear ones and friends, reading, gardening, walking, cycling – anything out of doors – and singing in the Twin Cities Labor Chorus are my recreations.
I grew up on Fort Snelling and now live in St. Paul with Mary Wagner. We are blessed with two daughters, Lebohang and Nora.
Carol Mork is a retired educator, community developer, and Lutheran pastor. She currently lives on 5.1 acres of woods just up from Lake Superior with her wife and assorted wildlife. She enjoys reading (history, of course), listening to classical music and walking their senior rescued Shelties—Tukker is number 9, and a wonderfully skittish almost 11-year-old.
John started producing television programs in 1982 while an undergraduate at the U of MN as a director, writer, editor, and on-air talent. After joining the staff of the Labor Education Service, U of MN, in 1984he co-founded "Minnesota At Work" which became the longest-running, regularly scheduled cable television program in the U.S. about labor and working people, and which ended in 2009. For over 30 years he's taught video production classes and produced many video projects for LES. He served on the board of the Minneapolis Television Network 1989-1996, eventually as board chair, and was instrumental in promoting MTN's non-profit internet service to unions around the state. In 1993, John began teaching classes in website creation and internet skills and is responsible for dozens of local unions' websites and, more recently, social media tools and campaigns. In 2000 he became the webmaster for Workday Minnesota.org. He is a long-time member of IATSE Local 219, and an associate member of the Minnesota Newspaper Guild and Typographical Union. John received his Master of Advocacy and Political Leadership (MAPL) M.A. in 2010 at the University of MN-Duluth under the tutelage of Wy, Marcia, Bill, and many other experts from many points on the political spectrum.
An almost cripplingly well-educated Englishman once said, “Better to be Socrates dissatisfied than a fool satisfied.” Never having experienced the latter condition, I can’t be certain whether he’s right or not—but, as I have nearly always found myself dissatisfied with the state of this pit of shadows we call “the world,” it is nice to think that at least things could be worse.
Bruce Yernberg is a retired and still active union member from Red Wing, MN He is a board member with the Minnesota State Retiree Council, AFL-CIO.