Replay-Politics On A Stick- MN Governor Debate At State Fair (CC)

The Gubernatorial Debate is a Minnesota State Fair tradition. Maybe it was the Fudge Puppies and Sweet Martha’s cookies that fueled this year’s hyperactive crowd. Or maybe it was the blustery day that whipped them up.

The audience members loudly jeered and cheered candidates Republican Tom Emmer, DFLer Mark Dayton and Independence Party’s Tom Horner, keeping MPR moderator Gary Eichten busy. Emmer had very vocal supporters in the crowd revved up from a pre-debate rally his campaign held on the fair grounds.

DFL candidate Mark Dayton answered a question about the economy from an “Emmer-leaning” voter from outstate Minnesota. The crowd’s booing, Dayton observed, wasn’t fair to voters who were listening on the radio.

To watch this video with closed captioning click here.

More debate highlights  and a transcript when you continue reading.
To view a replay of our live blog click here. To view our live blog in a pop-up window Click Here
To a question about would they support an anti-bullying legislation: Dayton and Independence Party candidate Tom Horner said yes. Emmer said he’d have to see the legislation first, and that it’s the parents’ responsibility to provide bullying prevention.

Responding a question about working with the other side, Emmer said allowing the Governor to declare a fiscal emergency would put an end to much of the gridlock.

At one point Emmer was caught in crossfire between Dayton and Horner as they disagreed over the financial status of a couple making $150,000.

A caller who said she “was sick of the backbiting” seemed to calm the waters somewhat.

Minnesota Gubernatorial Debate, Minnesota State Fair, Falcon Heights, MN, 9/3/2010

Speakers: Mark Dayton, DFL candidate; Tom Emmer, Republican candidate; Tom Horner, Independence Party candidate; Gary Eichten, moderator.
Audience: Jim Bickal and Curtis Gilbert of MPR. Audience members: Jim, Nathan, Patricia, Laurie, Cathy, Margaret (Facebook), Ron

Gary Eichten: Today is Minnesota Public Radio day at the Fair, and if you’re coming out, bundle up! First of all, if you’re coming out, bundle up. But stop by, say hello. We’re located right in front of the grandstand. Without further ado, let’s get to our debate. All 3 major party candidates for Governor have joined us this morning on stage for another, in what’s turning out to be a series of debates that they’ve been holding around the state. Format for this one is pretty simple. Each candidate will get 30 seconds at the end of the program to make a pitch for your support. But meantime I’ll have some questions for the candidates. Those of you here in the audience, if you have a question just raise your hand and Jim Bickal or Curtis Gilbert will get a microphone to you. So raise your hand. If you’re listening on the radio or the Web give us a call, 651-227-6000 or 1-800-242-2828. You can also send in your question or comment on Facebook. Go to Or send in your question online. Go to and click on “Send a Question.” And if you’re online you can watch the program. We’re Webcasting today’s debate at Just a couple of requests for those of you here in the audience, and on the phone for that matter. If you have a question for the candidates, please keep it short, to the point. Make sure it’s a question for all 3 candidates. And, y’know, let’s have some fun here, but be polite, give the candidates an opportunity to have their say, and let everybody be able to hear what they’re saying.

So, let’s meet the candidates, alphabetical order, DFLer Mark Dayton. (applause, cheers) Republican Tom Emmer (loud applause, cheers), Independence Party candidate Tom Horner (applause, cheers)

Gentlemen, we’ve heard a lot of, a lot of talk about the main job facing the next Governor, will be trying to balance the budget. The premise is, that there is about a 6 billion dollar budget deficit that the state faces. Tom Emmer, as I understand it, you’re, you’re thinking maybe there isn’t such a deficit to worry about. Is that true? 02:10

Tom Emmer: Ah, Gary, there’s gonna be important decisions that have to be made, regardless, but people need to understand that right now this state is spending roughly 30 billion dollars this biennium. Based on revenue projections, current revenue projections, the state, the next Governor, the next Legislature will have roughly 3 billion dollars more to spend. Only in government, Gary, can you call an increase in revenues a decrease. Only in government can you call it a deficit. Yes, there will be difficult decisions that have to be made, no doubt. But if you look at where we’re goin with revenues, the next Governor and the next Legislature will actually have almost 7, 8% more in revenue to spend. The problem is that government in this state has scheduled itself not for a 7 or 8% raise, it’s scheduled itself for a 17% raise. That’s something ya gotta start to budget, government needs to budget within what it has. Ya have to figure out what your priorities are, set your priorities, then purchase those priorities, those core services with the money you have, instead of taking the attitude government always takes, which is, “What do we want, and then you all have to just pay more so we can buy it.” (cheers, applause) 03:17

Gary Eichten: Mark Dayton, is there, is there in fact, a 6 billion dollar deficit? 03:21

Mark Dayton: Yes, there’s a projected 5.8 billion dollar deficit, which does not factor in inflation, and Representative Emmer, y’know this is the 126th day since you’ve been endorsed by your party, and you still haven’t answered that question: how would you eliminate a 5.8 billion dollar deficit? (whistles, cheers, applause) Mr. Horner, Mr. Horner has made a proposal, I’ve made a proposal, you know there’s no popular way. These are unpopular realities that one of us is gonna inherit. I think, y’know, with 60 days left in this campaign, it’s important that you give the people of Minnesota the facts about 03:54

Gary Eichten: But what about – 03:55

Mark Dayton: how you’re gonna eliminate that deficit. 03:56

Gary Eichten: What about the argument, Tom Horner, that there is, in fact, all this additional revenue that the state will have to work with? How can that be described as a deficit? 04:03

Tom Horner: Well, there is some additional revenue. But it can be described as a deficit because regardless of what Representative Emmer just said, the, the Legislature including Representative Emmer dug a deeper hole than what the 7% will cover. I mean we spent, the Legislature spent, Representative Emmer spent, money that it didn’t have. So now it gets revenue, but it has to pay back. It has to pay back schools, it has to pay back communities, it’s even borrowing from small businesses, asking them to accelerate their payments on sales taxes. That’s what’s outrageous. I mean, just to say that there’s a 7% increase in revenue doesn’t account for the additional money that was borrowed. We have a 6 billion dollar deficit next year because the Legislature this year didn’t fix a 3 billion dollar deficit. :04:52

Mark Dayton: May I just add, Gary, please, that there 04:52

Gary Eichten: Mark Dayton. (applause) 04:53

Mark Dayton: – the facts also are that both revenues and state spending in this biennium are less than they were the previous biennium. Spending is down over 8% in this biennium. The tax structure has not been changed. The reason revenues are projected to increase in the next biennium is because more people are gonna be working in Minnesota. That’s what we want. We want more people working in this state and paying taxes. (applause) 05:16

Gary Eichten: Tom Emmer, final comment on that 05:17

Tom Emmer : Well, it’s interesting that we’ve got 2 people that just talk about more revenues. That’s the answer that they have. The state needs more revenues. Y’know, you got families out there, Senator, that are struggling to pay the bills, struggling to put food on the table and clothes on their kids, and you talk about a plan, all you’re doin with the plan is saying “Government needs more revenue.” What about the people that are out there, and I tell ya what. We will be offering a plan but our plan is gonna work for all of Minnesotans, not just for a few. It’s gonna work for everybody. (long loud applause, cheers) 05:46

Tom Horner: Well, 05:47

Gary Eichten: A quick comment first of all, Tom Horner 05:50

Tom Horner: Then Representative Emmer, you need to get the plan out there so that we can see what it is. (long loud applause, cheers) 05:55

Gary Eichten: Mark Dayton- 05:56

Tom Horner: Because what I’ve, what I’ve put out there is a plan that does reduce government spending, but it reforms taxes. It says we do need some revenue to make sure that small businesses have the tax reform that they need to grow and create jobs. That we have revenue to invest in early childhood learning. In older adult services while we reduce spending. It is not just about whether we’re getting more revenue or cutting spending. It is about what kind of a state do we want to live in and what are we willing to do for that. That’s the issue. (cheers) 06:26

Tom Emmer: Well, Mr. Horner, here’s the problem. 06:27

Gary Eichten: Tom Emmer 06:28

Tom Emmer: Here’s the problem, Gary, here’s the problem. You’re talking about tax reform but what you’re talking about is taxing everything from – in order to get to the numbers that you’re talking about, business as usual again, you’re not willing to redesign government. You’re not willing to give people back more of their money, in fact now you want to tax garage sales, you wanna tax the kid on the street who’s doin the lawn service (audience murmurs). This is not the answer for Minnesota. This is business as usual. It’s time for government to start to be efficient and allow people to do what they do best. (audience roars) Create jobs, create opportunities. :06:58

Gary Eichten: Okay, quick comment 06:59

Tom Horner: Representative Emmer, let me just say that it IS an answer, and no answer is NOT an answer. (Cheers, whistles, applause) Just to keep saying “Trust me, I’ll have something out there,” I’VE been willing to put myself out there. Now you can talk about garage sales and lawnmowing services, come on, you know that’s not the issue. That’s just 07:17

Tom Emmer: Well, what aren’t you gonna tax? 07:18

Tom Horner: I’m going to, I’m going to reform 07:20


(Loud cheers, whistles, applause)

Tom Horner: I’ll tell you, I’ll tell you exactly what I’m not 07:23

Tom Emmer: What are you NOT going to tax? 07:24

Tom Horner: Representative, I’ll tell you. But everybody who goes to Horner2010 can see EXACTLY what I’m going to tax. 07:30

Tom Emmer: Well why don’t you TELL ‘EM what you’re gonna tax? 07:33

Tom Horner: I’m gonna LOWER the rate of sales tax, so if you’re out there buying appliances and furniture, you pay less. I’m gonna reduce taxes on small businesses. So that if you’re a small business person wanting to invest in new jobs, (audience cheers) to buy new equipment, to invest in research/development, you’re going to have that opportunity. And I am going to say, “We need to have the revenue to invest in a better Minnesota.” So would I extend the sales tax to, to clothing and to some personal services while exempting food and medical services? Yeah. Because that’s the way we’re going to have a better Minnesota. (audience boos) And, I understand, I understand that it’s not popular. But you know what? Leadership is willing to put yourself out there, to say “This is what Minnesota needs.” (loud cheers, applause) AND, I’ll say this 08:18

Gary Eichten: All right, okay – 08:19

Tom Horner: I’ll say this, Representative Emmer. Leadership is being willing to say something today, and the same thing tomorrow, and the same thing next week. (applause) Leadership is about trust. It is about being willing to say, You know where I stand, you know you can trust me, you know that you can depend on a Governor who is going to look for great ideas, not Republican ideas, not Democratic ideas, but great ideas and move Minnesota forward. 08:45

Gary Eichten: Mark Dayton, should the state decline federal money that comes, would be eligible, the state would be eligible for, under the new federal health care law, as Governor Pawlenty has? 08:56

Mark Dayton: No, I think Governor Pawlenty is running for President, and he’s abandoned Minnesota’s best interests, and that’s all our interests (applause). Y’know, this is Medicaid money. Medicaid was started in 1965 when Barack Obama was less than 4 years old. This is not the new health care 09:12

Gary Eichten: Well, there’s some of – 09:13

Mark Dayton: There’s, there’s – 09:13

Gary Eichten: There’s some of each, as I understand 09:16

Mark Dayton: Yeah. Well, primarily Medicaid. In terms of – first of all, 263 million dollars that would come this year, you know, as Mr. Horner was pointing out, the state is right now delaying payments once again to schools, once again to the University of Minnesota, they’re delaying the refunds to businesses on the sales taxes on their capital equipment expenditures. That’s EXACTLY what we want businesses to do, to be expanding and creating new jobs, because the state doesn’t have the money. So not to take that money, 230 million dollars of which goes to the bottom line, provides the cash to refund businesses, to fund schools, tuitions and the like, is just senseless. Then the next January, we would make for a net investment of 188 billion, we get a 1.4 billion return from the state – from the federal government, that’s a 7 times return on the state expenditure, which has already been budgeted for by the last Legislature, that Representative Emmer was a part of, and importantly, in addition to providing health care to the poorest of the poor, it provides especially the rural hospitals in Minnesota with the financial stability they need to provide health care for all of us. (applause, cheers) 10:15

Gary Eichten: Tom Emmer, do you, (audience applauds, cheers) is Governor Pawlenty on the right track here, in terms of turning down some of that federal money under the new federal health care law? 10:24

Tom Emmer: Well Gary, I haven’t read the grant proposals and what strings are attached (audience boos) so whatever, whatever Governor Pawlenty is doing is for Governor Pawlenty. I think, I think anybody that’s in this position has to look at whatever federal monies are offered and see what strings come attached. (audience jeers) Because the Senator talks about how, and and you ran 2 programs together, by the way, Senator, there’s 2 different programs. There’s the early opt-in and then there’s the so-called money with no strings attached. If you look at the money with no strings attached you’ve gotta start doing it due diligence and figure out, if we take this money are there really no strings attached? Or are we obligating our kids and future leaders to financial obligations that they can’t meet? (audience cheers) That’s all I’d do. 11:06

Mark Dayton: May I respond? 11:07

Gary Eichten: Mark Dayton, a quick response, then – 11:11

Mark Dayton: Govenror Pawlenty’s own Commissioner of Management and Budget told the Legislative Commission on Fiscal Policy last month that 230 million dollars would drop to the bottom line, would be available to the state for diminishing cash reserves. That’s what Governor Pawlenty’s own administration is telling the Legislature. 11:29

Gary Eichten: Tom Horner. 11:28

Tom Horner: Well, look, a couple of things. I mean first of all, a big chunk of the money, 260 million dollars, was money that Governor Pawlenty and the Republicans in the Legislature had in their budget in January, to say this is how we’re going to balance the state budget. Apparently there were no strings attached then. I don’t know how 8 – 9 months later, all of a sudden, it becomes money that has baggage tied to it. (applause) But secondly, secondly, look. I mean, should we be taking federal money in order to reform health care in Minnesota, in order to make sure that we can create a lower cost, higher quality health care system? Absolutely. And that starts with providing coverage to more Minnesotans. (applause) So let me tell you what this really is. Because there have been some complicated issues that have bounced around in this campaign; one of them is nullification, the ability of states like Minnesota in Representative Emmer’s view to be an island onto itself. This really is the face of nullification. I mean this is what you get with nullification is, “I don’t want to be part of the federal government, we’re going to turn down federal money, and we’re going to turn down the federal opportunity to create a better health care system in Minnesota. 12:38

Tom Emmer: Actually, Gary, I gotta respond to that Tom, because 12:42

Gary Eichten: This is Tom Emmer 12:42

Tom Emmer: This is actually the face of common sense. (At Horner) This is still doin business as usual. You wanna take this position where I’m not for this and I’m not for that. But in actuality, you’re for doin business the same way we’ve been doin it for years. Folks, is what we’re doin right now working? (audience: NO!!!) No, it’s not working, and every time you get a politician who says, “We’re just gonna wait for the federal government to tell us this is what’s good for us,” we should evaluate every federal dollar that comes into Minnesota. (audience throughout) Absolutely, if it helps Minnesotans, we should take it. If it obligates Minnesotans to things that are going to cause trouble in the future, it takes leadership. Ya gotta say what’s good for Minnesota, ya gotta stand by. You can’t just take it, because somebody in Washington tells ya this is good for ya. (audience cheers, whistles throughout) 13:23

Tom Horner (over cheers): Well Representative – 13:24

Gary Eichten to audience: Okay – 13:27

Tom Horner: Representative Emmer, you did a great job of building a cheering section out here, and I know you’ve got a lot of passionate fans, so let me ask them this: is leadership putting out a specific plan that people can have a sense of, can vote on, and can understand where you stand? (loud audience cheers, whistles) 13:41

Gary Eichten: Mark Dayton? 13:44

Mark Dayton: Well, this is, first, the immediate financial health of the state. It’s about responsible financial management. It’s about paying the businesses and schools what they’re owed. The larger issue in January is about the financial health of Minnesotans AND the hospitals, especially rural hospitals. There’s a reason that when the Legislature and the Governor worked out a so-called GAMC Compromise in the spring, that only 4 of the 21 hospitals could afford to take part in it. Which means, as my running mate has pointed out, one of her clients, it’s been in the press so I can say, a young man with schizophrenia in Duluth, has to have his mother leave her job in Albert Lea, drive to Duluth, drive him down to the Twin Cities so he can get his medications, drive him back to Duluth, and drive back to Albert Lea. This is about preventing financial bankruptcy of rural hospitals and their emergency rooms to provide health care for all of Minnesota. It’s common sense financial management. (applause, cheers, whistles) 14:38

Gary Eichten: If you just tuned in, this is Midday, coming to you live today from the Minnesota State Fair. We’re at Carousel Park on Minnesota Public Radio Day. We have been joined here on stage by the 3 major party candidates for Governor: Independence Party candidate Tom Horner, Republican Tom Emmer, DFLer Mark Dayton. Lively crowd here at Carousel Park (audience cheers), no question about it. Now we’re going to get to audience questions. If you’re listening on the radio, give us a call at 651-227-6000, 1-800-242-2828, you can also send your question in via Facebook or online. So take advantage of that. And if you’re listening online, take a look, we’re Webcasting this debate. Let’s go to the audience. Jim Bickal, please. 15:24

Jim Bickal: Gary, I’m here with Jim from Little Falls. He has a question about the environment. 15:28

Jim: My concern is, we live in Little Falls on the river. And our concern is, we need some help to clean up the river, and we have a national treasure with the Mississippi and 10,000 lakes. As a Governor, how can we help all of us in the state of Minnesota and further down the line? Thank you. 15:52

Gary Eichten: Tom Horner. 15:53

Tom Horner: I think this is one of those areas that is most important to Minnesota. Particularly after the Supreme Court decision earlier this year that I think does put water quality in greater jeopardy and our ability to protect water quality. So we need to do a couple of things. One is that I was sorely disappointed when Governor Pawlenty rejected the recommendations from his own DNR Commission on good approaches to maintaining and managing water quality. I think this is an area where we need state and local government cooperation to set best practices on shoreline ordinances, on building ordinances, so that people can use their private property, can build, but that we’re protecting water quality. But then we need to go beyond that. We need to use some of the CRP grants to make sure that we’re building out easements along drainage ditches to protect the water quality. All of these kinds of things that are vitally important, that take some leadership to get things done. 16:48

Gary Eichten: Mark Dayton 16:50


Mark Dayton: Well, I said the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has become the Minnesota Pollution Cooperation Agency. (audience laughs) And they have failed, the DNR has failed, to provide the quality services that Minnesota’s taxpayers need and deserve. I believe in better government. And I can count, I’ve been at 110 community meetings around the state. I can count on 1 hand with fingers left over, the number of people who said to me, “I’m getting better service from a state agency under Governor Pawlenty and his predecessors than I was before.” (applause, whistles) This is about government that does the job, and a recent exposé on our failure of our water cleanup policies in Minnesota and practices said, “The purpose of the exercise now is to have a plan.” It’s not results. It’s to have a plan. Now that’s ridiculous. If I’m Governor we’re gonna appoint commissioners who are actually qualified for the agencies that they head (audience applause, cheers) they’re gonna believe in the missions of the agencies that they serve, and they’re gonna go to work for the people of Minnesota. (audience applause, cheers). 17:43

Gary Eichten: Tom Emmer. 17:44

Tom Emmer: Well you know what, it’s funny how my colleagues here talk about how awful it is. Y’know, we all, and this is not a party thing, this has nothing to do with being a Democrat or a Republican or other. This has to do with being a Minnesotan. We all are proud of our natural resources in Minnesota. We all want clean air and clean water. (audience cheers) We need to start celebrating the fact that our lakes are cleaner today than they were in the 1970s. Our air is better quality today than it was in the 1970s. Can we do better? Absolutely. But more government is not the answer. (audience applause) It’s, the problem we’ve got, is we’ve got too much government already. You’ve got agency after agency (audience) with overlapping jurisdiction. Let’s streamline the process (audience cheers) so that we can deliver whatever we need to efficiently. (loud cheers) 18:30

Gary Eichten: All right, back to the, back to the audience here. Curtis Gilbert standing by. Curtis. 18:36

(unclear off-camera shout about corporations by audience member)

Curtis Gilbert: Gary, I’m here with Nathan. He’s from Bemidji. He’s leaning toward supporting Tom Emmer, the Republican. But he has a question for all 3 candidates. 18:45

Nathan: Hi guys, my question is on the economy. We just went (UNCLEAR, sounds like in the last part of the year) unemployment went back up after an 800 billion dollar stimulus in the summer of recovery. So my question is primarily for Senator Dayton but I’d like to hear all 3 of your answers. Tell me how the same economic policies at the federal level have stifled – I’m from outstate Minnesota, outstate Minnesota is heavy on small business, agriculture and manufacturing. So tell me how the same economic policies that are not working at the federal level are not going to continue to exacerbate the problem in outstate Minnesota. 19:22 (audience cheers, shouts)

Gary Eichten: Mark Dayton. 19:23

Mark Dayton: Good question. And it’s an American question. Y’know, what they’re calling the Great Recession, the Economic Meltdown, happened with 9 months remaining in President Bush’s term and has continued to (audience boos loudly) 19:33

Gary Eichten to audience: All right, let him speak 19:38

Mark Dayton: For those who are listening on the radio, it’s very hard to continue on a conversation 19:40

Gary Eichten to audience: Let the candidates have their say anyway, 19:44

Mark Dayton: I’ll pick it up – pick it up –

Gary Eichten to audience: and then you can cheer and stuff, okay 19:45

Mark Dayton: That’s fair. That’s fair. Thanks Gary. So as I was gonna say, it has continued under President Obama. (audience murmurs) This is an American challenge. Y’know. Over 8 million jobs left this country. And a lot of them aren’t coming back. I’ve been to China 7 times, 6 times in this last decade. I’ve seen some of those 1.3 billion people willing to work, and work very hard, for 50 – 60 cents an hour, 120 hours a week. At jobs that used to be here, it’s better to (20:12 UNCLEAR, sounds like students down in the village). This is the American challenge. If I were President I’d take every economist, Democrat or Republican, and left and right, and put ‘em in a room and say “Don’t leave until you figure out what is our strategy.” How do we put Minnesotans, how do we put Americans back to work? Now in Minnesota we’ve had a little bit of an uptick. But we still have fewer people working today in Minnesota than we did 8 years ago. And the next Governor’s gonna face that challenge. I believe we need to invest in education, I think we need to do a bonding bill next year, (audience cheers), I think we need an energy savings fund to retrofit all of our buildings, put people back to work in the building trade, (applause) we need to put 8,000 people to work building a Vikings stadium that’s in the public interest, the people’s stadium, (audience cheers), we need, there are things government can do, and there are policies that absolutely we need, and we also need to stop killing businesses with small business – ah, small property tax increases. Y’know, businesses and people in Minnesota are paying 3 billion dollars more in property taxes today than they were 7 years ago. We’ve gotta bring the property tax rate down and we’ve gotta streamline government, get out of the way of business creation, and then make government a partner rather than a barrier. 21:08 (applause)

Gary Eichten: Tom Emmer. (audience cheers, applauds) 21:10

Tom Emmer: Well, I don’t think we need to put all the economists in the country in a room to figure out what the problem is. The problem is that government has grown so big in this state, it is literally suffocating the private economy (audience cheers, applauds) You wanna put people back to work in the state of Minnesota, you’ve gotta reduce the size of government, (audience cheers) ya gotta reduce taxes, eliminate the excessive and unnecessary regulatory environment we have in this state, ya gotta allow the entrepreneurs, the people that understand what risk is, you’ve got to allow them to invest in Minnesota and start to create JOBS again in this state, because ya wanna talk about a plan, it’s not about just more revenue to keep feeding government and allow it to grow, it’s about streamlining government and then allow people to grow new opportunities, new jobs. THAT will generate revenue that will pay for what you expect from government. (long applause, cheers) 21:58

Gary Eichten: Tom Horner. 22:00

Tom Horner: Well, I BELIEVE the question was, “How are we going to help small businesses in rural Minnesota grow jobs?” THAT was the question. (audience laughter) I’m the only one that has actually put out a plan. And we need to do things like you talk about my sales tax. But I’m the only one to say we ought to eliminate the sales tax on capital equipment purchases so all of these small manufacturing plants around Minnesota, the 10- and 12-person shops, can invest in the new equipment, can create a new line, can stay competitive. Secondly, we need to make sure that our 2- and 4-year schools, PARTICULARLY our 2-year vo-techs and community colleges, are closely integrated to the local economies. That they’re, they’re, providing the research, the knowledge, the skills, the training that is needed by our local companies to grow and to create new jobs. Thirdly, I agree, we do need to streamline government. But we need to do it in a way that says, “Look, we can set a guarantee that if you come and seek a permit, we’ll give you an answer in no more than 6 months.” And that’s not unreasonable. We need to make sure that we expand broadband statewide. That’s the, the economic generator of the future. That’s the access to world-class education, world-class health care, world-class economic development opportunities. We need to invest in research at our 2- and 4-year schools so that we’re creating new ideas, innovation, new technologies. In green energy, in life sciences, in manufacturing, that then can take root in Minnesota companies, creating private sector jobs around the state. And lastly we need to make sure that local communities have the resources, and part of that is local government assistance, to make sure that they have the resources to build out their infrastructure. That they have the industrial parts, that they have the roads, that they have the other assets that they need to leverage the regional economic advantages to grow and create jobs. 23:54 (applause)

Gary Eichten: Let me sneak a question in if I may. Lots of talk during the campaign about redesigning government and the rest. Should Minnesota shut down some of its higher education campuses? Mark Dayton. 24:07

Mark Dayton: I don’t believe so. Y’know, those are very important economic engines for those areas in greater Minnesota. And if you look at the communities in Minnesota that are thriving in greater Minnesota, they’re almost always connected to a MnSCU campus: a community college, a technical college, a 4-year university, broad jobs, that the public sector does provide important jobs. And it provides well-educated people, it brings young people there, it really is part of the economic vitality. You can go community by community throughout greater Minnesota, and as I said you’ll see a marked difference those that have a public college or university and those that don’t. 24.47

Gary Eichten (applause) Tom Horner. 24:48

Tom Horner: Well I think that’s the wrong question. I think the right question is, “How do we take advantage of an environment next year when probably for the only time in my lifetime we will have a new President of the University, a new Chancellor of the Minnesota State Colleges and University System, and a new Governor. We need to take advantage of that opportunity to have a statewide conversation that starts with the question of, “What do we need out of our higher education institutions?” Both our 2- and 4-year schools? And when we have that conversation, I think we do need to put everything on the table. And we need to be asking, What are the core missions at each level? How do we fund it? How do we make sure that higher education is affordable for kids coming into school and affordable coming out so that we’re NOT saddling them with 40, 50 thousand dollars in debt. (loud cheers, applause) How do we make sure that we’re asking the questions of, “Do we have too many bricks and mortar? Or not enough bricks and mortar?” But you start with the outcomes. What is it that we need to achieve? And I believe that it is ONLY an independent-thinking Governor who can ask all of the questions, put all of the questions on the table, and get the real answers. 25:53 (applause)

Gary Eichten: Tom Emmer. 25:53

Tom Emmer: Well, I think what you asked was whether we should be closing some of our MnSCU campuses. And I don’t think that’s the first question that you ask. The first question that has to be asked is, We need to identify, are we, do we have need the full menu of offerings at every MnSCU campus? Are they delivering what they’re supposed to? Should we be specializing different campuses for instance up in Fergus Falls, should it be public safety? Down in Rochester, should it be medical careers, those types of things? We should be looking at that. Then we should look at the resources that are going in, and ask “Do we have too much administration? Is enough going into the classroom? Is enough providing the access for kids to get the education they need?” And ONLY then Gary, then you look at “Do we have the right number or do we need less, do we need more?” 26:42

Gary Eichten: Back to the audience here. Oh, go ahead, Mark Dayton. 26:45

Mark Dayton: I agree with Representative Emmer. There are 302 people in the MnSCU administration that make more money than the Governor. Nobody in the state government, except for some of the health sp- doctors, (UNCLEAR) be allowed to do so. So when you talk about streamlining administration, and the MnSCU system as well as the state agencies, what some people call off the top, eliminating positions, layered into the administrative layers, the highest paid positions, I absolutely agree. 27:07

Gary Eichten: Now, let’s go back to the audience, Jim Bickal, please 27:11

Jim Bickal: I’m here with Patricia from Minneapolis. She has a question about government’s role in the prevention of bullying. 27:17

Patricia: If you were elected Governor, and this is a yes/no question, and the Legislature passed the Minnesota Safe Schools Anti-Bullying Legislation, would you sign it? 27:27

Gary Eichten: Tom Emmer 27:29

Tom Emmer: I’d have to see what it looks like. Unfortunately, you don’t get (audience jeers) I’ll tell you right now! Bullying is a serious issue. You’re talking to the parent of 7 kids. Jacquie and I have 7 kids, we’re very well aware of what happens when a child is faced with an uncomfortable situation at school or out at a public place. But I’ll tell ya what. It’s up to Jacquie and I to educate our children. How they handle that situation. (audience applauds, cheers) We’re the ones that have to be the frontline of defense for our children. I don’t want the government doin that for us. (applause) 28:02

Gary Eichten: Tom Horner. 28:02

Tom Horner: It’s a simple question that deserves a simple answer. Yes. 28:08 (cheers, long applause)

Gary Eichten: Mark Dayton. 28:09

Mark Dayton: My answer is yes, and when Rochester years ago, over a decade, a Somali youth was beaten by a couple of white youth, I went down and met with the mayor and the others, and they initiated a program to their great credit, the chamber and everybody, “Not in Our City.” And it was a year-long program. We need to just make it clear, not in our schools, not in our cities, not in our state. (cheers, applause) 28:33

Gary Eichten: Back to the audience. Curtis Gilbert, please. 28:36

Curtis Gilbert: Yes Gary, I’m here with Laurie, she’s an undecided voter from White Bear Lake. And she has a question about how K-12 schools raise money in this state. 28:45

Laurie: Thank you. My question is, similar to the authority that is given cities and counties, would you as Governor support a bill that would allow local school boards to renew existing operating levy referendas to continue funding of our public schools 29:06

Gary Eichten: Without a vote. 29:08

Laurie: Without voter approval 29:10

Gary Eichten: Tom Horner. 29:11

Tom Horner: If there are limitations on it. And if it’s a straight renewal, yes. 29:15

Gary Eichten: Mark Dayton. 29:16

Mark Dayton: Strictly limited to renewal of previously approved operating deficits but the bigger issue is, they shouldn’t require property taxes to pay for operating deficits. Shouldn’t require property taxes to pay for operating of our school districts. The Minnesota Supreme Court ruled over 40 years ago that was unconstitutional. It is inherently unequal. That’s why we need a progressive income tax so that we can fund our schools (whistles from audience). I will increase state funding for public E-12 education every year I’m Governor. No excuses, no exceptions. (long applause, cheers) 29:44

Gary Eichten: Tom Emmer. 29:45

Tom Emmer: Senator Dayton, that sounds great. But under the plan that you provided, it appears that in order that to get to the revenues that you want to generate out of Minnesotans, you’re gonna have to raise the tax rate to 17 or 18%. How high are you willing to go? 30:03

Mark Dayton: I’ve said that I will not make Minnesota the highest taxed rate in the country, Representative Emmer. And once again, if you’ll provide your plan, then we can compare my plan and Mr. Horner’s plan and your plan (applause, cheers) But until you provide a plan, I think it’s really hypocritical for you to be questioning ours. 30:20 (long applause)

Tom Emmer: Well, I have to, Senator Dayton. Because I’ve read your plan and in your plan it says we don’t have the computer modeling capability to show you that this will in fact work. And when you take what you put in your 3- or 4-page plan that’s gonna raise taxes for Minnesotans, certain Minnesotans, actually all the way down to the middle class, it’s gonna hammer the middle class, and mom and pop businesses – 30:41

Mark Dayton: No, somebody making – 30:42

Tom Emmer: – all over this state, you’re going to have to bring– 30:44

Mark Dayton:: No, a couple making 173 thousand a year is going to – 30:45

Tom Emmer: If you – I respect, I respect yours (audience howls, yells), but I, appreciate it – you’re gonna have to raise it to 17 or 18%, and it’s easy to say “I’m not gonna make it the highest” but California I believe is the highest. It has the highest rate. 10 or 11%. Yours would have to be 17 or 18%. Can you tell the people that are here, can you tell us how high are you willing to raise the rate? 31:06

Gary Eichten: Go ahead 31:08

Mark Dayton: Hawaii, Hawaii has the highest rate. 11%. And I’ve said I will keep it below that rate. I’ll keep it below 11%. And again, the difference is, so far, neither of the others want to raise taxes on people making a million dollars or 5 million dollars or 10 million dollars a year. They believe they should not pay ONE PENNY MORE in income taxes. Meanwhile, Mr. Horner is extending the sales tax to clothing and to services, that falls on all Minnesotans. But it’s a regressive tax, it falls harder on middle income families, working families. Representative Emmer, when you come out with your plan, so far anyway, you said you want to eliminate local government aid, you said on Almanac you want to cut state funding for public K-12 education by 19%, those are also gonna raise property taxes. Property taxes are a much more unfair tax. It falls on people with limited fixed incomes, senior citizens, 31:56

Tom Emmer: Senator, 31:57

Mark Dayton: It drives them out of their homes, so the difference is 31:59

Tom Horner: Gary! 31:59

Mark Dayton: – between a progressive tax and a regressive tax. 32:02

Tom Emmer: Gary, two things. (audience cheers) 32:02

Gary Eichten: Just a quick clarification here from Senator Dayton. (applause) So you, your tax increase would not exceed, say, 12%. 32:10

Mark Dayton: I said I would keep it under the current highest rate Gary, which is 11% in Hawaii. 32:16

Gary Eichten: Okay. 32:16

Tom Emmer: Two things. First of all, that is absolutely NOT true. That I EVER said we’d cut K-12 education. That’s not true. And we never have. You keep promoting that it’s gone down. Even the speaker of the house Margaret Kelliher called you on the carpet on that. The other one is, I have NEVER said (applause) that we’re gonna eliminate LGA. LGA should be applied to what it was intended for. It should pay for essential services defined as police and fire service and sewer and water infrastructure. That’s what it should be going for. Not to etch poetry in sidewalks in St. Paul. (loud cheers) That’s what we’ve said. 32:49

Gary Eichten: So, so Tom Emmer, you would, you would continue the LGA program with a few modifications? 32:56

Tom Emmer: No, I would redesign LGA to do what it was originally intended to do, which is provide communities that do not have the economic base to provide the essential services that government must provide when it comes to public safety and other health issues. When it comes to police and fire, sewer and water infrastructure, those types of things. Instead of building fountains or putting, etching poetry in sidewalks. 33:19

Gary Eichten: Tom Horner. 33:20

Tom Horner: Well, while these two gentlemen decide what each other is going to do, let me tell you what I’m going to do, (applause), so you get it right from me. We DO need tax reform. We DO need to reduce the taxes on small businesses. Not to increase them, as the way the individual income tax does, because this gentleman back here is right. I mean, small businesses are the jobs generators. We need to make sure they have the resources to invest. I AM proposing that we reform the sales tax. Lower the rate, broaden the base. And that could include clothing. But if you read my plan, I also have 350 million dollars in there to guard against the regressivity. It is why every group that has looked at it, EVERY group, from the business-led commission appointed by Governor Pawlenty, to the more progressive Growth and Justice organization, has said, Sales tax is what we ought to look at for Minnesota so that we can make the investments in tax reform and have a tax system that is creating jobs. So look at the clothing tax, it puts Minnesota in line with most other states, I have 350 million dollars in my budget plan to guard against the regressivity. We can do that through tax credits, we can do it by, maybe we start the tax on clothing items at a hundred dollars and above, maybe we do tax holidays for back to school or some of those seasons, there are a lot of smart things we can do. This isn’t about what you’re gonna do, what they’re gonna do. It’s about what each of the candidates IS going to do, a positive vision for Minnesota, leadership for Minnesota that is willing to make investments, willing to say “Here’s my plan and you can trust that I’m going to stick with it.” (applause) 34:54

Gary Eichten: Mark Dayton, a quick comment. 34:56

Mark Dayton: I’d just like to ask my two friends here, with a 6 billion dollar deficit, why shouldn’t someone making a million or 5 million or 10 million dollars a year in income pay even one dollar more in income taxes to help solve that deficit? (applause, cheers) 35:10

Gary Eichten: Tom Horner. 35:12

Tom Horner: Senator, if that’s what your proposal was, maybe we would agree on it. But that’s not your proposal. 35:16

Mark Dayton: Okay. 35:16

Tom Horner: I don’t know why you keep driving at that. 35:18

Mark Dayton: That’s not the question, either. 35:18

Tom Horner: Senator, your proposal is, you want to tax couples with a taxable income of $150,000. Right? 35:26

Gary Eichten: Would you agree, Tom Horner 35:28

Tom Horner: Wait a second! Wait a second Gary! The Senator isn’t answering 35:31

Mark Dayton: I’ll answer your question if you answer mine. There’s my proposal. 35:33

Tom Horner: Absolutely! Isn’t that your proposal? 35:34

Mark Dayton: I said, I’ll answer my question if you’ll answer mine. Yes, that’s my proposal. 35:38

Tom Horner: All right! So $150,000. Be clear on this. $150,000. A nurse and a teacher make $150,000. Right now – (audience boos, jeers) 35:47

Mark Dayton: That’s where you don’t understand the realities of Minnesota, Mr. Horner. 35:53

Tom Horner: Senator, I do! I do! 35:54

Mark Dayton: What most people earn for a living. 35:57

Tom Horner: Senator, I’ll be happy to point out two people EXACTLY like that who make $150,000 in taxable income. And out of that they’re already paying $50,000 in federal taxes, FICA, property taxes, state taxes. Now on TOP of that, Senator, unlike what you’ve had to do, because as you have acknowledged many times to your credit, you’ve been blessed with great wealth. THEY still have to save for retirement. They have to save for college education. They have to pay for a mortgage. They don’t have $150,000 in wealth. They have $150,000 in INCOME, and there is a big difference between the two, Senator. (cheers, applause) 36:33

Mark Dayton
Well, can I ask again my question? Will you answer my question? 36:37

Tom Horner: Yes I will, Senator. (cheers, applause) I will answer your question. You keep saying, you keep congratulating me on my plan, it’s pretty obvious that you haven’t read my plan. Because when you look at what I’m proposing 36:49

Gary Eichten: All right – 36:48

Tom Horner: A sales tax DOES include more tax on the wealthy, and I also have other tax provisions in there, including tax expenditures, 36:56

Mark Dayton: Gary, can I ask another question, please? 36:56

Tom Horner: Senator, including tax expenditures that do reform taxes. 37:01

Gary Eichten: All right, all right, let’s let Tom Emmer have his say here and then we’ll move on. 37:04

Tom Emmer: What was the question? (audience laughter) 37:06

Gary Eichten: Would you raise 37:08

Tom Emmer: NO!

Gary Eichten: Would you raise taxes 37:08

Tom Emmer: NO! 37:09

Gary Eichten: on people making a half million 37:10

Mark Dayton: ONE million, or five million 37:12

Gary Eichten: or more? 37:13

Tom Emmer: I’m not, I’m not, raising, Gary, and Senator, I’m not raising taxes on ANYONE. (loud cheers) I would REDUCE taxes for everyone. It’s time to let – here’ s the thing. Here’s the thing, Senator, while I have a ton of respect for you and your desire to serve the community and serve the state, I gotta tell ya the message you’re delivering is the same message we’ve been hearing for decades in this state and it’s not workin. Every time government runs out of money, you go back to the hard-working men and women of this state, you go to the businesses of this state, and you simply tell them to pony up more money. That’s not the right answer. THIS time, it’s time to look at government. It’s time to realize this state was not built by government. It was built by PEOPLE. (loud cheers) Ya gotta lower taxes, let people start to generate JOBS again. It’s about bringing jobs back to Minnesota, not about just taking more revenue for government. 38:00

Gary Eichten: Lots of people have been standing by on the phone with questions for our candidates. If you’ve just tuned in, this is Midday coming to you live from the Minnesota State Fair. Minnesota Public Radio Day at the Fair. C’mon out to Carousel Park. If you’re out here at the Fair make sure you bundle up before you come out. It’s a little nippy today. But it’s getting better. Winds starting to die down. Candidates on stage, Republican Tom Emmer, DFLer Mark Dayton, Independence Party candidate Tom Horner. We have a full bank of callers, audience questions. Let’s take a caller with a question. Cathy, that would be you. Go ahead please. 38:32

Cathy: Hello? 38:33

Gary Eichten: Yes, you’re on the air. 38:34

Cathy: Oh, hi! Thank you so much. Um, I….I’m getting sick to death of some of this backbiting and accusations. And of course we can throw numbers and statistics all over the place and tweak them as we please, but my question is the broader question. What is your vision for Minnesota? Do we all rise and fall together? Do some of us do better than others? And what difference can the one person who becomes Governor really make for us ordinary folks? 39:04

Gary Eichten: Okay. 39:05

Cathy: And please be positive on your answers. 39:09

Gary Eichten: All right! Well let’s zero in on the last part of Cathy’s question. What difference does it make for the average person in the state if you become Governor? How you gonna benefit people across the state? Let’s – Mark Dayton, why don’t you go first. 39:21

Mark Dayton: That’s an excellent question. First of all, I’d make taxes fair. And I would use that revenue to balance the budget responsibly and I’d also cut spending, which means that we’ll be able to continue essential services to the state of Minnesota like police and fire and better highways, and then I’ll invest in education. Education is the key to our future. It’s the key to our children’s, grandchildren’s future, and all of our success. (applause, cheers) I’ll invest in early childhood education, I’ll invest in better K-12 education, invest in higher education, make college tuition affordable (audience cheers) again for Minnesota families. If we have the best educational system in the world, we’ll be able to compete to be successful in job creation, we’ll be able to be successful in a global economy that’s gonna be more challenging than anything we’ve faced over the last 50 years, and we’ll create a better Minnesota. (cheers) 40:12

Gary Eichten: Tom Emmer. 40:12

Tom Emmer: You know Gary, first I’m gonna agree with the caller, (applause) I think most Minnesotans, regardless of what their political philosophy is, are sick and tired of people pointing the finger backwards and tryin to assess blame. I think what we’re about is lookin forward and setting out, articulating, the vision that we have for the future of this state. And the difference is very simple. On the one side you talk about investing in education. Investing in all these different things. But you know what? You can’t invest if you don’t have anything to invest. The future for this state is not just redesigning government so that it’s efficient, so that it can actually provide the services in a sustainable and affordable manner that people expect, but we gotta bring jobs back to the state of Minnesota. We gotta start growing our private economy, growing jobs (applause) so that we can drive revenues, more revenues. It’s not about just taking from the private sector anymore, it’s about growing jobs in the private sector which ultimately pays for what we ALL need out of government. 41:11

Gary Eichten: Tom Horner. 41:12


Tom Horner: I believe it is ONLY a Governor who can set a vision, who can set a tone. But it also is the recognition that a Governor is only one person. And a Governor needs to build consensus, a Governor needs to have honest conversations with all the people in Minnesota. A Governor CAN’T drive wedges. A Governor has to be a person who says “Let’s find that common ground. Let’s build the consensus. Where ALL Minnesotans can come together and move the state forward. And so part of that is, laying out a specific plan. But then being willing to sit down with Democrats, Republicans and Independents to be the political lightning rod. To say to everyone, “If you come to the table, take the tough votes, I’ll take the political hit for you.” And while I would never go into office promising to be a one-term Governor, because you can’t be a lame duck from Day One, I’ve always said that for me, in my career as a business person, in community service, around public policy and politics, this isn’t a stepping stone to something else. This is a capstone for me and my career as a Minnesotan. And if being a political lightning rod means that we get Minnesota moving forward, but the consequences are that I don’t get re-elected to a second term, I’m OK with that. (applause) 42:30

Gary Eichten: Facebook question from Margaret. Margaret sends in a Facebook question saying, “There is a political billboard in my neighborhood that says, quote, ‘More taxes = less freedom.’ What does this slogan mean to you?” Tom Horner. 42:44

Tom Horner: (pause, laughs) Well, I I think, y’know, we all would agree that nobody likes to pay taxes, so I haven’t seen that billboard, so I can’t say specifically what the billboard means. But let me tell you what I do think about Minnesota’s responsibility and our opportunity. I think we need tax reform. I’ve put out a very specific plan for tax reform. But I also think that all Minnesotans need to pay a fair share. And I think all Minnesotans need to have a little bit of skin in the game. So that we all pay at least a little bit. So that we see the cost of government. We understand that there is a price to government, so that we can all have a stake in holding it accountable. That’s why I’ve laid out the plan that I have. It is a plan that is going to allow Minnesota to grow through business growth, through economic development, but it’s also a plan that’s going to allow Minnesota to grow through investments in early childhood education, in a strong education system, not just K-12, but cradle to grave, where we invest in health care, older adult services, where we make those decisions that say “We are a great state, we need to build to be an even greater state.” 43:50

Gary Eichten: Tom Emmer. 43:51

Tom Emmer: I thought you said that was Margaret that sent that on Facebook? 43:54

Gary Eichten: Yes. Uh-huh. 43:54

Tom Emmer: That’s not fair that Margaret Kelliher is sending those things in here. (audience laughs) The sign that she’s talking about, it’s very simple. The more government takes out of our pocket, the less we are able to do to create a better quality of life for ourselves, to create new opportunities for other people. (audience applause, cheers) We gotta remember, we gotta remember that this country again was built by PEOPLE. And that the old adage, that “A rising tide lifts all boats.” We gotta quit pointing the fingers at one another and start celebrating success of each other. We ARE all in it together. But we gotta have people with resources to create jobs in this state. That’s what this is all about. 44:35

Gary Eichten: Mark Dayton. (applause for Emmer) 44:35

Mark Dayton: Government should take as little as possible from people. And only what’s absolutely necessary to provide services that we cannot provide individually for ourselves. (applause) The reason that I’m endorsed by Minnesota Professional Firefighters (applause), by the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers, by the law enforcement community, is because they recognize that their ability to provide us with freedom and safety is a function of government dollars, our tax dollars. Education assistance. (applause) Providing every child a chance to learn and to have a whole opportunity in life, is paying with our tax dollars. As little as is absolutely necessary, provide the best possible services. That’s more freedom. (audience cheer grows) 45:19

Gary Eichten: Back to the audience here. Jim Bickal. 45:20

Jim Bickal: Thank you Gary. I’m here with Ron from Plymouth with a question about working with other elected officials. 45:26

Ron: They say that politics is the art of compromise. And we sure wanna avoid gridlock by the next Governor. Can you compromise with the other parties? 45:35

Gary Eichten: Mark Dayton? 45:36

Mark Dayton: Absolutely. And I, y’know, Rudy Perpich had a sign on his wall, if I’m Governor I’ll put it back. “None of us are as smart as all of us.” And (applause) we take all the good ideas from everywhere, and one of my proudest accomplishments in the U.S. Senate in my last year, I worked with Senator John McCain, Senator Ted Stevens, may he rest in peace, who was then Chair of the House uh, Senate Appropriations Committee, to get the first federal funding for the Beyond the Yellow Ribbon program: a pioneering project of the Minnesota National Guard to provide supportive services to returning Iraq and Afghan war heroes to Minnesota and to help their families and their reintegration into society. And that’s exactly what I’ll do, reach out to everyone to work together to accomplish what’s good for Minnesota. (applause) 46:18

Gary Eichten: Tom Emmer, can you work with the Democrats? 46:19

Tom Emmer: Ohyeah. Actually, ah, very well. (audience laughs) Somebody laughin? Ah, no, some of, you come down to the Legislature, and you’ll see. I have as good as relationships with folks on the other side of the aisle as on my own. But you know what? There’s a bigger answer to this question. In this state we’ve got a problem with the process. Y’know, by Constitution the Governor’s gotta put out a balanced budget proposal within the first 4 weeks or so after the session begins. The problem is, that’s where the Legislative process should begin and put its cards on the table. And instead, we just work on everything BUT the budget until the eleventh hour on the last day. There’s a proposal that I think should be passed by the Legislature IMMEDIATELY in January of 2011. It’s called First Things First. Under this proposal it would give the Governor an additional tool beyond the unallotment tool that the Governor has right now. This tool would allow a Governor to declare a fiscal emergency, which is simply defined as your revenues are not going to meet your expenses. Once that fiscal emergency has been declared, the Legislature has 45 days to put a balanced budget on the table. Imagine, (audience applause) IMAGINE what would happen if the Governor put out a balanced budget at the end of January, early February, and the Legislature had to put its cards out on the table by mid-February, end of February. Now you could figure out where you agree and get those off the table, figure out where your points of disagreement are so that you can figure out how to solve them within the time that’s allowed under the session. It would solve a lot of the gridlock, it’d solve a lot of the special session garbage this state has had for years. (audience cheers, whistles, builds) 47:53

Gary Eichten: Tom Horner, Tom Horner, can you work the Republicans and Democrats? No legislators at the, backing you up. 48:01

Tom Horner : No, but a couple of things. I mean, remember the first 2 years of Jesse Ventura’s term were very successful, got a lot accomplished, in part because he appointed what might have been one of the best Cabinets Minnesota has ever had. But I think even more than that, y’know, it’s pretty hard to find common ground when you say “We can find common ground as long as everything is done through more tax increases,” or “We can find common ground as long as everything is done through spending cuts.” (audience murmurs) In other words, we can find common ground as long as you agree with only what I’m saying. That’s now how you meet in the middle. That’s not how you reach common sense solutions. I mean, I agree, that a rising tide lifts all boats. But that tide doesn’t rise if we take off the table the importance of equality. If we take off the table the challenges of school districts around the state that have had to go to four-day weeks because we only focused on cutting spending. Or if we say to our most vulnerable, “I’m going to make you pay for my Presidential ambitions because I don’t want to face the wrath of a part of a certain party.” (applause) I mean, the reality is that, look at what we’ve had over the last several years. Why would you expect, if you do the same thing over the next four years, it’s going to change? And so, look. If you want bold leadership in the Governor’s office, that has to start with bold voters on November second. 49:24

Gary Eichten: Quick question before we wrap up. We only have a minute here. But the new Chief Justice of the State Supreme Court, Lorie Gildea, has been traveling the state, sending out a clarion call, saying the court system is, y’know, REALLY needs some extra money, a lot of extra money. If you’re elected Governor, will the court system get extra money? Tom Horner. 49:43

Tom Horner: Well, I think there are two things. One, it does need some extra money. And secondly, we can do some things better. And we’ve put out a specific proposal for that. 49:50

Gary Eichten: Tom Emmer. 49:51

Tom Emmer: Ah, you need to fund your priorities, and the judiciary, a fair and open, accessible judiciary would be a priority. 49:59

Gary Eichten “ Mark Dayton. 50:00

Mark Dayton: When I was elected state auditor, Republican Governor Arne Carlson said to me, You’re an independently elected Constitutional officer, I’ll send your budget to the Legislature as you submit it. The Chief Justice is responsible for the administration of the courts. If I’m Governor I will send her budget to the Legislature as she submits it. 50:15 (applause)

Gary Eichten: Okay. Well, we’re just about out of time here but we want to give the candidates one last chance to pitch for your support, (unclear chant from passing audience member) if you haven’t decided who you support yet. And so let’s do this in alphabetical order. Thirty seconds and Julie will keep time here. Do it in alphabetical order. DFLer Mark Dayton. 50:33

Mark Dayton: Thanks very much, Gary. And this election is about the future of Minnesota, it’s about your future. It’s about investing with the future of this state, with education, it’s about investing in better highways, about investing in job creation. I bring 35 years of commitment to public service, with 10 years of operating experience heading 3 different state agencies. I know how to make government work better for the people of Minnesota, I know how to make government create jobs, help in the private sector in partnership with the private sector. And if we work together we’ll make this a better state. Guaranteed. 51:07

Gary Eichten: That’s DFLer Mark Dayton. Next up, Republican Tom Emmer. (cheers build) 51:09

Tom Emmer: Thank you Gary, thanks MPR, thank you to EVERYBODY who’s come out to brave this beautiful summer day at the State Fair. Thank you for being here. Two things. One, we got a clear choice on November second. You can either take the way we’ve been doin it for the last several decades, raise revenues which means raise taxes, or you can do it a new way. Let’s streamline government, lower taxes, put people back to work. Here’s the choice. On the one hand you’ve got somebody who will take ALL the money out of your pocket. On the other hand you’ve got somebody who wants to tax the shirt off your back. (audience) We offer a different direction for the state of Minnesota. Thank you. 51:46

Gary Eichten: Okay, that’s Republican Tom Emmer. (To cheering audience) All right, hold on, HOLD ON! Independence Party candidate Tom Horner. 51:55

Tom Horner: Well, I believe it is a clear choice. And I believe that choice is all about leadership. Who has the experience, the ability, the skills, the commitment, the temperament, who do you trust to take Minnesota forward? Somebody who’s put out a clear and specific plan, who’s willing to put out specific ideas, that talk to ALL Minnesotans about how we do need a smarter, more efficient government, but how we also need to make some good investments for the future. I need you to be the leaders as voters that you want for a leader in the Governor’s office. Thank you very much. (applause) 52:28

Gary Eichten: Darn good discussion! Good audience! Thank you!


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