Thanks for letting me in, Dayton tells DFL State Convention
by T.W. Budig
ECM Capitol reporter
It wasn’t jeers but cheers that greeted Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton yesterday (June 3) at the DFL State Convention in Rochester.
Two years ago, Dayton, running for governor against the party-endorsed gubernatorial candidate Margaret Anderson Kelliher, wasn’t permitted by party officials to enter the state convention, that year in Duluth.
But Dayton received a standing ovation in Rochester after delivering a speech if not oozing political red meat containing enough to supply the convention with a platter of cannibal sandwiches.
“I’m just glad to get such an enthusiastic reception today,” said Dayton, speaking to reporters after his speech.
“It’s history,” he said of slammed doors at Duluth.
He felt “very welcomed,” by the Rochester convention, Dayton explained.
Sen. Barb Goodwin, DFL-Columbia Heights, said she detected a “growing respect” for Dayton among the party faithful.
Rank and file Democrats in general are pleased that the governor “has a backbone,” said Goodwin, speaking at the convention.
In his speech, Dayton revisited many of the his criticisms against Republicans heard over the weeks and months of the past legislative session.
That is, Republicans, in their tax policies, sought to decrease the renters property tax credit for the second year in a row in order to finance a property tax cut benefitting business alone.
Not only was the Republican approach unfair, Dayton argued, it would have proven laughably feeble in terms of the job creation
that Republicans depict their economic recipe as providing.
“Taxes would be fairer in Minnesota,” said Dayton of having a Democratic Legislature and Democratic governor at the helm of the state.
Dayton indicated that he had not abandoned the idea of increasing taxes on the top two percent of wage earners in Minnesota.
Beyond blasting Republicans for pursuing perceived selfish and unfair tax policies, Dayton also spoke of the Republican Legislature as producing some 22 bills he deemed as anti-public schools, anti-teacher, anti-public employee.
“Fortunately, none of them became law,” he told the appreciative convention.
On a lighter note, U.S. Sen. Al Franken, speaking at the convention which endorsed U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar in her run for reelection, cited his own appearance as a candidate before the convention four years ago.
“I promised you it wouldn’t be easy, and I kept my promise,” joked Franken, who squeezed by Republican Norm Coleman by a few hundred votes in a drawn out election drama.
House Speaker Kurt Zellers, R-Maple Grove, at a mass registration of Republican House candidates earlier this week, indicated House Republicans would run on the promise of not raising taxes.
Further, Zellers and others painted Dayton’s executive order calling for an election among some child care providers on the question of
unionization as a potent campaign issue.
Although Dayton’s executive order was ruled unconstitutional by a district court judge, Republicans suggest a Democratic Legislature would pass unionization legislation and Dayton would sign it.
This could drive up the cost of day care, Republicans argued.
And the cost of day care, Zellers explained, was one of the biggest expenses young families must confront.