Former Gov. Arne Carlson speaks at Roseville Area Optimist Club

Pamela O’Meara • Former Minnesota Gov. Arne Carlson spoke at the June 8 Roseville Area Optimist Club meeting.

Pamela O’Meara

staff writer


Arne Carlson, who was Minnesota governor from 1991 to 1999, was the guest speaker at the June 8 meeting of the Roseville Area Optimist Club.

The civic group believes in service to others, respect for the law, an active interest in good government and patriotism. 

Prior to being governor, Carlson was a member of the Minnesota House, state auditor and a Minneapolis City Council member.

Carlson is considered by some to be Minnesota’s most effective governor and one of the top three Minnesota political figures for his many contributions to the state over the last 30 years.

He said he came into office as a moderate Republican with a Democratic Legislature and said we need good engineers, doctors, teachers, etc, and it was our obligation to insist on competence. 

Running the government is a big job — he said he got hired to get things done, and the media had a responsibility to make sure he did.

Carlson said he learned to focus on the long term and bring people together, saying you need a strong code of ethics to do so. He said he avoided a lot of trouble by focusing on substance, not politics.

He commented on the escalating cost of building stadiums when schools have shortfalls and people are hungry. People have a right to know who is influencing them, he said, arguing we need tough campaign laws to know.

We are living in a complicated economy with large groups of haves and have-nots, he added, and we need to identify and ease their burdens.

Former Ramsey County Commissioner Don Salverda started the Roseville Area Optimist Club.

“I was very pleased that Governor Carlson appeared at our new club,” said Salverda. “Over 100 members and guests attended, and I was highly impressed with his optimism and upbeat presentation challenging everyone to be good role models for our future leaders ... to be supporters of our democracy and responsible citizens as we address the challenges of our community and our state.

Added current Ramsey County Commissioner Mary Jo McGuire, “I was in the Minnesota House of Representatives when Arne Carlson was our governor. I was impressed with his willingness and courage to work with all stakeholders to get successful outcomes for all citizens.”

“I especially appreciated his and his wife Susan’s strong commitment to healthy families, with the passage of Minnesota Care, and their dedication to children with their work on early childhood and fetal alcohol syndrome,” McGuire added.

The Roseville Area Optimist Club meets the second Friday of the month from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30  p.m. at the Roseville Radisson Hotel at 2540 Cleveland Ave. for networking, lunch and an inspirational guest speaker. The cost of lunch is $20. The meetings are open to the public but reservations are required. For more information, call Zola Burns at 651-604-3145 or email her at


– Pamela O’Meara can be reached at or 651-748-7818

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