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  Barkley, Dean M.
AffiliationMN Independence  
NameDean M. Barkley
Robbinsdale, Minnesota , United States
Website [Link]
Born August 31, 1950 (71 years)
ContributorThe Oncoming Storm
Last ModifedRBH
Nov 08, 2015 02:55am
Tags Caucasian - Single -
InfoFrom Modest Beginnings

Dean grew up in the small, rural town of Annandale, Minnesota, about 50 miles northwest of Minneapolis. Tucked away from the turmoil facing the United States with the Cold War, Dean's family owned a local furniture store. Dean learned every aspect of the business from a very young age, and eventually ran the business after his father had a heart attack. Here he developed deep roots of hard work and strong, traditional midwestern family values. It was also here that the effects of excessive government policy and decision-making began leaving their indelible imprint on Dean personal political beliefs.

Unstable Times

Dean earliest hero was John F. Kennedy and, together with a nation in mourning, Dean was deeply shaken by his death. The United States was railed by the assassinations of Robert F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King. Dean's opposition to the Vietnam War kindled his flame of political activism. He soon learned the strength of a people joined in a collective voice while a student at the University of Minnesota. Dean worked as a volunteer in Minnesota for Democratic Senator George McGovern's failed campaign for presidency.

A Nation in Crisis

Dean finished law school as the nation was faced with an energy crisis, double digit interest rates and strained foreign relations in the Middle East. Dean was frustrated with the Democratic Party and decided to support the campaign of the Independent Party presidential hopeful, John Anderson. Dean believed that the Democratic Party had become a party of too many special interests, sold out to big money influence, and that the party no longer represented most real middle-class Americans.

When John Anderson lost in the 1980 election, Dean dropped out of politics. Like many Americans, Dean felt like the government had abandoned the country, and politicians no longer cared about the people they were elected to represent.

Time for Real Change

In 1992, Reform Party Candidate, Ross Perot, and his wake-up call on the nation's debt and growing deficit, sparked Dean into running for election in Minnesota's 6th Congressional District. After that race, Dean founded the Independence Party of Minnesota.

After unsuccessful runs for congress and the US Senate in 1994 and 1996, Dean turned his help toward managing a maverick candidate, former professional wrestler and actor, Jesse Ventura, for governor of Minnesota. Like Dean, Jesse had grown disillusioned with politics as usual, and together they shocked the world when Jesse defeated incumbent Republican Norm Coleman, and Democrat Hubert H. (Skip) Humphrey III in November 1998.

Dean's Service Public

Dean was appointed the director of the Office of Strategic and Long Range Planning commission in the Ventura Administration. As planning director, Dean was also a chief policy advisor to Governor Ventura. Dean was a member of the bi-partisan group, Common Cause, and served on the Concord Coalition, a visionary group that focused on common sense solutions to issues facing the people of Minnesota. Dean also served as an advisory board member to the Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota, contributing to the development of sound public policy for the common good for progressive leaders throughout the world.

In late October 2002, incumbent Democrat Senator Paul Wellstone was killed in a plane crash while campaigning in northern Minnesota, and it was soon before Election Day that Governor Ventura decided to appoint Dean as Wellstone's replacement for the remainder of the term through January 2003.

During his short tenure in the US Senate, Dean was responsible for enacting legislation establishing a memorial for Wellstone. Dean was also instrumental in the passage of the Homeland Security Act and for championing legislation that allowed Minnesotans greater access to federal welfare funding. Dean earned quick respect for moving and shaking legislation the right way, by listening to what the people had to say and getting the job done.

Onward, the Future

Dean never completely bowed out of the political process. He served as a campaign advisor in California and as campaign manager for the colorful, Texas Independent gubernatorial candidate, Kinky Friedmann in 2006.

When Jesse Ventura decided not to run for the US Senate seat in 2008, Dean once again knew that it was time to give back the people their voice in the political process.


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