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DFLers supported Sanders at Hastings-area caucuses

There were people waiting in the parking lot at 4:45 p.m. Tuesday to register for the Democrat Party caucus. The first registration was shortly after 5 p.m.

When the registration was completed for the caucus, 555 people had registered, a large turnout, according to caucus coordinator Emily Lee.

“I think it was little less than in 2008 (that year, too, was a presidential election year),” she said. “We did have some who came solely as observers.”

When the attendees cast their choice for president, as with the rest of the state, they chose Sen. Bernie Sanders. He received 345 votes to 208 votes for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s 208 votes. There were three uncommitted votes. There were no write-in votes.

“We did have a rush of people registering from about 6:15 to 6:30 p.m.,” said Lee. “The lines were long, but we did start at about 7:10 p.m.”

Caucus goers were directed to their individual precinct meeting areas — nine for the city and one for Nininger Township. Party volunteers presented the procedures for the evening, and then the business began.

Delegates were nominated/selected for the upcoming district meeting April 2 in South St. Paul. The process was a combination of people volunteering and others being nominated to attend and vote there.

Discussion and presentation of resolutions for the party’s platform were also discussed and voted upon. Those will be presented to a committee for presentation at the district convention, said Lee.

Although she was going from precinct to precinct, Lee was able to hear some of the discussion among the people.

Issues and topics of discussions included health care policy and procedures, water quality and wage equity.

Before the business for the evening began, Democrat Party candidates were invited to make statements. Don Slaten, Democrat Party candidate for the Minnesota House of Representative District 54B, and Dan Schoen, Democrat Party candidate for District 54 (seat being vacated by Sen. Katie Sieben) spoke. Slaten, too, noted that the attendance in Cottage Grove, Afton and Denmark Township was large, too. He was also impressed by the number of young people in attendance.

“I was really amazed by the turn out of the young people,” he said. Some cast ballots and left. Others stayed and actively participated.

The crowd was large, but was very respectful, said Lee. Many people helped others find their precinct meeting rooms and were patient as they waited to register.

“Minnesota nice was definitely present,” she said. “They were helping their neighbors.”

There were a number of first-time attendees, and attendees were from all age groups.