Horner On Emmer Education Votes: “A Motion Picture” Not A “Snapshot” (CC)

Video courtesy of TPT

One notable interchange tonight between Independence Party candidate for Governor Tom Horner and Republican candidate Tom Emmer. It’s about Representative Emmer’s vote against an Minnesota State House amendment in 2009 that would have put more money into early childhood education, a program that all three candidates including DFLer Mark Dayton agreed is a priority.

Cathy Wurzer: We’re going to talk about K-12 and early childhood funding later on in the debate, but actually Tom Horner opened the door a little bit to something I kind of want to explore with Mr. Emmer. You are supportive of early childhood education programs right?

Tom Emmer: Yes.

Cathy Wurzer: So why did you vote against, you voted against the omnibus education funding bill in 09 which included money for early childhood and just this past spring in in May you voted the omnibus early childhood bill. So if you’re supportive, you you’re saying one thing but you’re doing something else.

Tom Emmer: Well that’s not necessarily true Cathy. If you want to take something with a snapshot, then go ahead. I mean we’re talking about an omnibus bill, which by the way …

Cathy Wurzer: There’s a lot of stuff in it.

Tom Emmer: includes a lot more than what you’re talking about.

Cathy Wurzer: I know. I know. But the omnibus early childhood bill is something different.

Tom Emmer: Here’s the other piece. It’s about living within your means, If you think that government is just going to be growing every biennium by double digit percentages we’re not going to be able to sustain this type of growth. And why would you vote against something like that? Because government’s got to start to set its priorities and live within its means and fund those priorities. That those bills that you’re talking about not only did they include ah what I would consider extraneous issues, which certainly could be subject to negotiation, but they assumed the government needs to grow beyond its revenues. And that’s simply not acceptable any longer. We cannot start, we’ can’t keep spending what we want to spend. We got to spend what we have to spend. And more importantly we have to start allocating the existing resources more appropriately.

Tom Horner: Well let me just say a six-year record isn’t a snapshot, it’s a motion picture. And when that six-year record is consistent, it’s a very clear, in color, technicolor motion picture. And the fact is in 2009, it was a very specific amendment and you were one of seven representatives to vote against not an omnibus bill but money for early childhood learning. So again, I respect your principles, but I think you have to be consistent with them. And I think you have to be honest with audiences and I think you have to say the same thing to every audience, not just tailor messages to different audiences. And my position is very clear. I think early childhood learning should be a priority. I think it should be a priority and I’ve put money in my proposed budget to make it a priority. Because I think it is where we start. I think when you have 50 percent of Minnesota children coming in to kindergarten, not fully prepared for success, it is no wonder that we are struggling with sinking graduation rates from high school. And we can’t afford to do that. We will pay for that cost. We can pay for it now with smart investments with good programs, or we can pay for it later in much higher social services costs

Cathy Wurzer: Do you want a quick rebuttal here Mr. Emmer?

Tom Emmer: Well I just point out first that I’d appreciate it if I, we wouldn’t challenge someone’s integrity. I have been very consistent from day one. Since I got in the legislature as a guy who actually hasn’t been a professional public relations guy growing up in government or somebody who has been running for public office since 1982. I’ve been very consistent, people in government and people who are making their living off of government need to understand that in order for us to pay for what we expect for out of government we gotta grow jobs in the private sector. You can’t keep talking as politicians do about we know how to invest your money better. And you know what? When I vote against something like that, yeah its tough because I’m the only one sitting up here right now who’s got seven kids and I’ve got five of them in school still. Alright? This is a big deal to somebody like me Tom and I’ll tell you, when I vote against something like that, it’s difficult but you’ve got to look at the big picture. You can’t do what everybody in government has been doing for years which is well, you know, it’s just gonna have to grow. You gotta be responsible. And the message we’re sending is the government’s got to live within your means. A consistent message that you, my colleagues are sending, is we just got to tax people more and allow government to grow unrestrained and it is simply not sustainable, nor is it responsible.

To see the rest of the transcription keep reading.

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Transcript:
Cathy Wurzer: We’re going to focus this Gubernatorial debate on education. Specifically early childhood through 12th grade and some of the issues in Minnesota’s education system. We want viewers to come away with a clear understanding of where these gentlemen stand on education and how they’ll make some of their decisions. We have some really great questions from the studio audience and also from a special non-partisan advisory panel representing a wide-range of educational perspectives convened by the Minneapolis Foundation. I’m going to toss in along the way of my own and we’re going to start with brief remarks from all three of the candidates. About a minute each gentlemen. You’ll give opening statements and then a closing statement, again about a minute each. In between, the goal is to have a lively debate gentlemen. So I’m going to start with the DFL candidate for Governor Mark Dayton. Go ahead.

Mark Dayton: Thank you Cathy. Thank you Minneapolis Foundation and all of you for being here tonight. My first job out of college I taught a ninth grade general in a New York public school. And I’ve always said it is the toughest job I ever had. And I learned two things very quickly. First it takes a lot of skill and dedication to become an effective teacher. And secondly, I had a class of 32 children, four different languages, many of them couldn’t read or write beyond the second or third grade level and I found that I could not reach individual 32 kids in a classroom. So when I go to Rochester Minnesota and I see 35 children in a fifth grade classroom with one teacher and I see those kind of overcrowded conditions all over the state, and I see school districts going to four-day school weeks and 90 percent of our school districts in Minnesota having to go to the property tax payers for operating referenda, I know that we’re going in the wrong direction and we’re underfunding public education. Because the challenges teachers face throughout the state today are even more challenging than the ones I faced in New York City with schools that sometimes have 10, 20 sometimes 60, 70 different languages and dialects. So the challenges are enormous. The needs are great.

Cathy Wurzer: All right, thank you. GOP candidate for Governor Tom Emmer. Your turn.

Tom Emmer: I too would like to thank the Minneapolis Foundation and all of you for showing up today and everybody who’s watching and Cathy, you, for doing this. And my two colleagues for being here as well. I have been traveling this state for 15 months talking about how we have to bring our government, our state government into the 21st Century. We need to redesign it from the bottom up so it delivers services people expect in an efficient, affordable, sustainable manner. It will be smaller if it is going to be more efficient. Then at the same time we’ve been talking about creating a business environment that will drive jobs, new jobs in the state of Minnesota. You can redesign government all you want to be the most efficient delivery system of services and you can create the best business environment in the world and if we don’t have the next generation ready to drive the economic engine, it’s all for nought. So the issues we’re going to talk about here today when it comes to K-12 education and pre-K are very important to the future of this state and I think you’ll find interesting difference of opinion. I don’t believe it is all about throwing more money. Government has to live within the resources it has. It’s about looking at how those resources are being utilized and empowering our great administrators and our teachers, our professionals, to put those resources where they believe they can be most effective.

Cathy Wurzer: Alright, thank you. Independence Party candidate Tom Horner.

Tom Horner: Thank you. And let me echo my appreciation for the host and all of you being here. I agree with my two colleagues. I do think, like everybody in this room and I think everybody in Minnesota that education is an essential part of who we are. It is the the element that defines Minnesota in so many ways. But we have to go beyond the rhetoric. We have to go beyond the language. We really need to say that we want to make Minnesota the knowledge state. If we really want to maintain our our talent pool as our distinctive, competitive economic advantage, then we’d better be prepared to make the tough decisions. We truly have to start looking at education as a seamless system — from early childhood all the way through life-long learning. We can’t say that we will abandon children and hope that they somehow on their own get ready for kindergarten any more than we can turn to that 50 year old who has done everything that we have asked of that person and yet had the rug pulled out from under by the economy. We need to prepare everyone for with the kinds of skills that they will need to be not just productive workers but good citizens. Because part of the fabric of Minnesota is our civic engagement. Part of the fabric of Minnesota is how we come together as citizens. That’s really what we talk about when we’re talking about education. How to prepare people to live successful lives.

Cathy Wurzer: OK

Tom Horner: And I think that’s what education needs to accomplish. That’s why I’m happy to have this conversation.

Cathy Wurzer: Thanks. Since this is a debate about education, let’s start with this question. It comes from the audience. Now actually we’ll start with Tom Horner. Who or what most strongly influences your thinking on education policies matters?

Tom Horner: I’ve had great opportunities to have conversations with a variety of people who I think are great leaders on education. People like Curt Johnson and Ted Kaldry and Todd Otis. People who have been very invested in early childhood education, in reforming eduction, in thinking about how we deliver education directly. But I’ve also had the opportunity to sit down with some of our great superintendents, teachers, school board members, those people who are on the front lines of actually delivering eduction and so it’s all of those people along with we need to keep in mind that often times the forgotten part of this equation are the students. And so I’ve also sat down and talked to a lot of the students about what they need out of education. And so all of those folks have influenced me.

Cathy Wurzer: Senator Dayton, same question.

Mark Dayton: Well, I will, whenever I’m asked who are my heros I mention Betty Jo Overen who was my teacher in both third and fourth grade. And took a new boy in the school, struggling and literally saved my life. And that’s my role model for an effective teacher. I I visited in the last decade as United States Senator and thereafter, I’ve been in a couple hundred schools in Minnesota. A couple thousand classrooms . So I’ve had great instructors, those that are actually involved in teaching. I’ve had 110 community meetings so school board members, superintendents, who’ve talked to me about the disastrous situations they’re facing with the underfunding of their schools, the cutbacks, the layoffs, the overcrowded classrooms . So I I had a whole spectrum of Minnesotans, the educators, the people who really deliver educational services every day and under extremely adverse conditions …. and the students. I would visit an (inaudible ) elementary school and I’d turn to my staff and say ‘you know if we could just lower the voting age to five, I might win another election.’ (laughter) And she smiled and said ‘it would be close.’

Cathy Wurzer: Representative Emmer.

Tom Emmer: Well, I I think it is a… I listen to parents. I actually interact with students so I get to see them on a regular basis through ah my community activities. And then there’s another group, that I listen too. It’s just not the teachers and the administrators who are at the ground level delivering this service. I listen to people in the business community who are talking about what their needs are for the future. You know are we going to be producing, we getting the performance, we getting the results out of our K-12 education system that we expect. And then lastly or I guess it would even be before business, would be our higher ed folks. Because the cost of remedial education is a big issue. When we’re not producing what we need to out of our K-12 system and we have to invest all the more resources to try and get them up to speed, to get them the experience we expect them to have in the higher education system, there, that’s what I’m listening to.

Cathy Wurzer: Now when we talk about education gentlemen, there’s one subject that concerns educators and lawmakers and parents. It’s the wide gap in student achievement between white students and students of color. And Minnesota as you know has one of the largest and most persistent achievement gaps in the nation. Now this question comes from Minnesota Minority Education Partnership. Given that it’s not unusual to have students of color being measured at rates up to 50 percent lower than their white peers on achievement measures, will your administration set aggressive goals that are clear and measurable to reduce and eliminate these disparities? Tom Emmer, I’m going to start with you first.

Tom Emmer: Absolutely. I , this is probably one of the greatest tragedies in Minnesota right now. Ah to for Minnesota to have this big of an achievement gap based on race is inexcusable in this state. Hey, ah ah, I was looking in preparation for this , it it, it’s almost a 700 million dollars we can talk about for the next biennium is supposed to be going to close the achievement gap. We need to focus more attention on the pre-K years. We need to make sure those programs have approved curricula that prepare these kids, literacy should be the goal. So that when they get into the K-12 system they have an opportunity to succeed. And then we’ve talked about some very aggressive things creating, ah, empowerment zones which would allow, for instance, the Minneapolis and the St. Paul school districts to opt out of certain mandates that might be tying their hands from allocating resources in a manner that they think would be more acceptable. We should also be grading schools on the outcomes. It’s based on performance. We should demand excellence and we should never assume any child wants to achieve anything less but the best they can be and we need to give them the opportunity to do that.

Cathy Wurzer: Tom Horner, would you agree with what Representative Emmer just said?

Tom Horner: Well, in part. But I think this is also an area action has to match the rhetoric and the fact is in 2009, Representative Emmer, you were one of I think seven legislators to vote against significant funding for early childhood education. And so I think we have to be consistent and you have your principles and I think you have to stick with them and they’re not the same principles that I have. Because I do believe that we ought to invest in early childhood education. I think that is, however, going to close the achievement gap. And so I put money, new money, into my budget to to fund early childhood learning. Make sure that we have the resources.

Cathy Wurzer: About 120 million dollars is that right?

Tom Horner: Right. But I think we have to go beyond that and really look at how we restructure schools. You know, one of the good things and there’s a lot to criticize about No Child Left Behind, but one of the positives is that it has highlighted the achievement gap. I don’t think we’d be having this conversation in quite the same detail if it weren’t for the the data produced by No Child Left Behind. Now I think we have to to work with NCLB, eliminate some of the rigidity, allow teachers to teach, make sure we have good principals in schools. But we also have to make sure that we’re working with the communities, that we’re making sure that we’re dealing with issues, not just in the schools, but that we’re dealing with issues such as health care, that children are coming to school healthy and prepare to learn. It’s all of those issues.

Cathy Wurzer: Senator Dayton, go ahead. Jump right in.

Mark Dayton: Well I started with a yes. The answer to the question is absolutely yes. Now we need the strategies at the beginning with early childhood education. We lag behind the most other states and the percentage of our children who have opportunities to take part in early childhood education. We have less than a third, less than half of the children in Minnesota compared to the national average in all day kindergarten and one of my proposals is to provide state funding for optional all-day kindergarten.

Cathy Wurzer: That’s expensive. That’s a lot of money.

Mark Dayton: Well, some people say we can’t afford to do it. I say we can’t afford not to do it. Because we’re talking here about having children from the very early age, before this achievement gap develops, have develop the skills and have the opportunities that are absolutely necessary. So that when they do start the first grade, that that gap has been narrowed. And then we follow the examples as in ah Lakeville, St. Croix, where they do a one-minute reading out loud diagnostic test in the first week of second, third, fourth grade, determine which children are reading below grade level, if there’s funding available and there needs to be, for either individual or small group remedial assistance, they say that children stay with that school the entire year, 85 percent are reading above grade level by the end of the year. That’s life transforming.

Cathy Wurzer: Would you…

Mark Dayton: Those are the kind of strategies we need to develop from the very beginning, carry all the way through to close this achievement gap.

Cathy Wurzer: Would you have clear concise measurable goals to close this gap?

Mark Dayton: Yes based on the progress of individual students. But not…we we administer I’m told, 61 tests between third grade and 11th grade, the state and federal mandates, most of the results are not available to the schools until after the school year. So you know there are some test that valuable to determine the accountability and to determine these measures as Mr. Horner said, of student achievement. But the real focus ought to be on testing that improves individual children’s progress in academics and their social development.

Cathy Wurzer: Tom Emmer, would you agree with that?

Tom Emmer: Well, I’m not sure what he just said. You’re talking about ah… you’re going to have measurements but ah I don’t understand what the measurements are. You got to set a baseline. And I know there’s some disagreement within the education community about testing. But right now that’s the best thing have. We need to have testing that is designed to set a baseline and then we need to be able to do testing after the year is over and after the course is over, that determine whether on not we’ve accomplished the outcome that we expected. It’s about being competent in whatever subject area we’re talking about. But I think that is a measurement that must be put in place in order to know that we’re getting value for the dollars that we’re putting in. Or in order to know we have effective teachers in the classroom and we need to make sure that we have a system rewards that as well.

Cathy Wurzer: You …you brought up effective teachers and let me throw this out here. Not enough is said about the parents in some of these equations here. Um you’re only as strong as your weakest link. And a lot of these kids need support at home. Really, what’s the government role in trying to get parents into this equation too, Tom Horner.

Tom Horner: Well, the other day I was out at at Fair Oakes Elementary in in the Osseo school district, a terrific program that starts engaging kids using some early learning dollars, so leveraging those dollars, at three years old. Now these are kids that that are coming largely from low-income families and and this is a program that that takes these kids, involves them in early learning, makes them ready for kindergarten, and then tracks them up to third grade. So the first response I wanted to to make is that we can measure and we ought to measure. Not with with the heavy load of testing we have, but at critical junctures. We need to know that children are reading at grade level by third grade. That’s critical. So we ought to measure that. And we ought to make sure that they get there. But the other neat part about this program is that it is also geared to bring the parents into the school. To get them involved. And what we see time and again, what all the evidence shows, is that when you have schools with site based control, when you allow teachers to teach, when you give them some autonomy, and when you create innovative programs that deals with kids and moves them along, you get the parents involved. So Fair Oakes is one of many schools that does bring the parents in. Gets them involved. Not only gets them involved, but says ‘here’s what we’re working on with your child’ and then says ‘here’s a package of materials that you can take home and work with your kids.’ They’re having tremendous success. That’s the way we ought to go.

Cathy Wurzer: We brought up early childhood and this is the focus, obviously, of the Minneapolis Foundation and others who are concerned about education and of course many experts look to quality pre-school programs as a way to get the littlest learners ready for school. That of course as they go on in school, they’re better prepared and there, they get good jobs and all of that. Um. Representative Emmer, as you know about one percent of the state’s budget goes right now to early childhood education programs. And if I’m not mistaken, you suggest a reallocation of current moneys for early childhood. How much you talking about here?

Tom Emmer: Well I’m not. I think that would be disrespectful to the process. I I absolutely do believe, contrary to what some might suggest that it’s not about throwing more money, it’s about putting the money we have where the professionals believe it needs to go.

Cathy Wurzer: But this is a reallocation of money you are talking about.

Tom Emmer: Right. But you’re asking me now ‘how much’

Cathy Wurzer: Well?

Tom Emmer: That’s going to be determined when you get to the legislative process. We put a number on what we believe the state has to spend in K-12 next year and the education sector. We’re talking about ah, I think it was 13.8 billion dollars. Ah I just told you we spent about 700 million, right now, arguably, in this biennium to attack the achievement gap and we’re not getting anywhere with it. So when you talk about reallocating dollars, there are plenty of dollars right now that have been used to address the problem eh of the achievement gap that perhaps they can be better utilized elsewhere. But you got to talk about the people that are in this room, I suspect, some of the professional educators, who will participate in that process. I I I think about ah early childhood learning and the question earlier, that you asked Cathy that came from the audience was ‘what’s the state’s ah involvement in getting parents involved.’ And as I I was listening to the answer it just suddenly occurred to me that, you know, one of the problems we have is we create situations, I believe where parents feel their child has been put in a situation where they’re not going to succeed. Ah Ah I think every parent, and there are probably a lot of folks in this room that have come from backgrounds that are are challenging environments ah where they have achieved, they have ah managed to pull themselves up because they took advantage of the opportunities that presented themselves and they made it through. We should do the same thing ah with early childhood. We need to empower parents to give their child the opportunity to be successful. And I believe there’s a great example, I used it recently at the New Horizon Academy.

Cathy Wurzer: Briefly.

Tom Emmer: New Horizon Academy opened up an academy on Rice Street in partnership with some businesses. They tell me that it takes three years typically to fill up one of their academies. On Rice street it took, ah , six-months and they had a waiting list. And I believe that’s because parents, when given the opportunity to put their child in a position to have a better life, to get a better outcome, they’re going to take it and they’re going to get involved. So it’s trying to give them the incentive to become involved.

Cathy Wurzer: Senator, how much money do you want to spend on early childhood?

Mark Dayton: We’ll I’m not ready to put a price tag on it, Cathy, because I will go to the experts, and I met with some of them and ….

Cathy Wurzer: But by and large you must have some idea.

Mark Dayton: I don’t. Because I I do have to ask them what is necessary. I I think we, as I said earlier, can afford to do what’s necessary. I agree with Representative Emmer, we want to make sure the dollars are most effectively spent. Here’s the perfect place for public-private partnership. Because there are many organizations, The Minnesota Business Partnership and in collaboration with former Republican leader of the Senate Wayne Benson’s involved there to his credit and their credit and the McKnight foundation and others are here the Minneapolis Foundation. And you there there’s so much going on now ah that’s necessary and and I would bring that group together, if I’m elected in November, and say, you know, ‘you help set a budget. You tell us and tell the people of Minnesota what we need to do’. Because this is an investment in the future of our state for the next ah 70, 80, 90 years, the lifetimes of these young people who become our citizens and our entrepreneurs and our successful contributors to a better society. So that to me is the perfect environment for a collaborative effort between the private and non-profit and public sectors.

Cathy Wurzer: We’re going to talk about K-12 and early childhood funding later on in the debate, but actually Tom Horner opened the door a little bit to something I kind of want to explore with Mr. Emmer. You are supportive of early childhood education programs right?

Tom Emmer: Yes.

Cathy Wurzer: So why did you vote against, you voted against the omnibus education funding bill in 09 which included money for early childhood and just this past spring in in May you voted the omnibus early childhood bill. So if you’re supportive, you you’re saying one thing but you’re doing something else.

Tom Emmer: Well that’s not necessarily true Cathy. If you want to take something with a snapshot, then go ahead. I mean we’re talking about an omnibus bill, which by the way …

Cathy Wurzer: There’s a lot of stuff in it.

Tom Emmer: includes a lot more than what you’re talking about.

Cathy Wurzer: I know. I know. But the omnibus early childhood bill is something different.

Tom Emmer: Here’s the other piece. It’s about living within your means, If you think that government is just going to be growing every biennium by double digit percentages we’re not going to be able to sustain this type of growth. And why would you vote against something like that? Because government’s got to start to set its priorities and live within its means and fund those priorities. That those bills that you’re talking about not only did they include ah what I would consider extraneous issues, which certainly could be subject to negotiation, but they assumed the government needs to grow beyond its revenues. And that’s simply not acceptable any longer. We cannot start, we’ can’t keep spending what we want to spend. We got to spend what we have to spend. And more importantly we have to start allocating the existing resources more appropriately.

Tom Horner: Well let me just say a six-year record isn’t a snapshot, it’s a motion picture. And when that six-year record is consistent, it’s a very clear, in color, technicolor motion picture. And the fact is in 2009, it was a very specific amendment and you were one of seven representatives to vote against not an omnibus bill but money for early childhood learning. So again, I respect your principles, but I think you have to be consistent with them. And I think you have to be honest with audiences and I think you have to say the same thing to every audience, not just tailor messages to different audiences. And my position is very clear. I think early childhood learning should be a priority. I think it should be a priority and I’ve put money in my proposed budget to make it a priority. Because I think it is where we start. I think when you have 50 percent of Minnesota children coming in to kindergarten, not fully prepared for success, it is no wonder that we are struggling with sinking graduation rates from high school. And we can’t afford to do that. We will pay for that cost. We can pay for it now with smart investments with good programs, or we can pay for it later in much higher social services costs

Cathy Wurzer: Do you want a quick rebuttal here Mr. Emmer?

Tom Emmer: Well I just point out first that I’d appreciate it if I, we wouldn’t challenge someone’s integrity. I have been very consistent from day one. Since I got in the legislature as a guy who actually hasn’t been a professional public relations guy growing up in government or somebody who has been running for public office since 1982. I’ve been very consistent, people in government and people who are making their living off of government need to understand that in order for us to pay for what we expect for out of government we gotta grow jobs in the private sector. You can’t keep talking as politicians do about we know how to invest your money better. And you know what? When I vote against something like that, yeah its tough because I’m the only one sitting up here right now who’s got seven kids and I’ve got five of them in school still. Alright? This is a big deal to somebody like me Tom and I’ll tell you, when I vote against something like that, it’s difficult but you’ve got to look at the big picture. You can’t do what everybody in government has been doing for years which is well, you know, it’s just gonna have to grow. You gotta be responsible. And the message we’re sending is the government’s got to live within your means. A consistent message that you, my colleagues are sending, is we just got to tax people more and allow government to grow unrestrained and it is simply not sustainable, nor is it responsible.

Cathy Wurzer: Let me ask you something Senator Dayton. I was thinking about this as I was preparing for this debate, your DFL primary opponent, House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher, brought this up. She she suggested funding early childhood programs through a constitutional amendment. She felt it was that important to do that. Would you consider such a long term funding mechanism for early childhood?

Mark Dayton: Well, if it’s necessary, I would, I would consider that. I’m not sure what that would achieve uh, because frankly the Supreme Court in Minnesota ruled 40 years ago that it was unconstitutional to fund the public schools exactly the way we’re doing it now, which is reliance on the property tax. They said that was inherently unequal. And that’s why they created what’s was then called the Minnesota Miracle, which was a progressive income tax and a progressive source of state revenues that funded most of public K-12 education, now we would say early childhood and kindergarten as well. So, you know, that’s that should be the priority is actually carrying out what the mandate has already been from the Supreme Court and what we know is fair and equitable in Minnesota. So when you had in real after inflation dollars the state’s support per pupil aid cut by 1,300 dollars under Governor Pawlenty’s two terms, ah you know directly….first you got overcrowded classrooms, more four-day school weeks. And you know the unfairness that if one does school district, their referendum is approved, the children are spared further pain and if its disapproved somewhere else the children suffer, there are more layoffs among teachers and the like. So, let’s work within the framework that we have. We know what’s necessary. We know we need to make a commitment. We should know that we had 10 years ago above the state national average in per pupil K-12 funding and now we’re below the national average. We should know that our average teachers’ salary is 2,300 dollars below the national average. You know we could talk about reform as we should…

Cathy Wurzer: 23-thousand.

Mark Dayton: I’m sorry, 2,300 dollars thank you. We should know that these are commitments that Minnesota has made in the past because education is our value and our priority and we’re not reflecting that in our budget today.

Cathy Wurzer: I’d like to do a quick little round of yes/no questions, and I’m going to leave early childhood with this question. Do you favor, yes or no, the creation of a department of early childhood education?

Mark Dayton: You know, ah.. I

Cathy Wurzer: Yes or no.

Mark Dayton: We’ll see.

Cathy Wurzer: We’ll see.

Mark Dayton: You know, I don’t give yes or no answers to complex problems

Cathy Wurzer: A creation of a department…

Mark Dayton: Tom Harkin, my colleague said for every complex problem there’s a simple answer and it’s almost always wrong.

Cathy Wurzer: OK. Yes or no Representative Emmer, do you favor the creation of a Department of Early Childhood Education?

Tom Emmer: No.

Cathy Wurzer: OK.

Tom Horner: No, we have the structure to do what we need to done, to do. We need the leadership and political will to do it.

Cathy Wurzer: Coming back down this way then, Tom Horner, yes or no, do you support compulsory attendance until age 18?

Tom Horner: Yes

Cathy Wurzer: Tom Emmer?

Tom Emmer: I… if the legislature passed it I wouldn’t oppose it but I think you got to make school valuable so kids want to be there rather than telling them this is your sentence until you’re 18. They should want to show up because they’re getting something of value.

Cathy Wurzer: So that’s a yes?

Tom Emmer: I.. I… I think I did what Senator Dayton did.

Cathy Wurzer: OK (laughter)

Mark Dayton: I’ll agree with Representative Emmer, let’s give ‘em , let’s give them a reason to stay in school.

Cathy Wurzer: OK so, so you go with that. You, I’m going to go on to another yes-no question. Do you support… do you support lengthening the school year .

Mark Dayton: I think we need a longer school year, yes. I think our kids need to spend more time in school, which is why I disagree with the four-day school week.

Cathy Wurzer: OK, Representative Emmer?

Tom Emmer: I think we .. I think we leave that up to our school boards.

Cathy Wurzer: OK. Tom Horner?

Tom Horner: I think we need more time in the classrooms and we can do that and still balance it against other needs including tourism.

Cathy Wurzer: OK, Senator Dayton, this is an in-studio audience question here, thank you very much, your really good questions. This is about K-12 funding. What is your plan to provide sustainable funding for education in Minnesota. Funding that will provide consistency and continuity for budgeting and planning purposes?

Mark Dayton: Raise revenues progressively. And have the state be the principle source, ideally the primary source of the funding for K-12 education, which is what the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled was constitutionally required 40 years ago, which we know is necessary because the property tax is the most regressive and unfair tax we have. Middle income taxpayers pay five times more as a percent of their income in property taxes as the the highest income earners in the state. They pay two and a half times more as a percent of their income in sales taxes as the highest income earners which is why the basic difference is my two opponents here are going to raise sales tax or property tax on middle income tax payers and I want the the people who are best off in this state to to pay so that we can protect middle income taxpayers from this burden.

Cathy Wurzer: Now your budget has a problem. You’re about a billion dollars short.

Mark Dayton: 890 million actually.

Cathy Wurzer: OK 890 million. (laughter)

Mark Dayton: Because I’m holding on to not repaying the delayed pay in repaying the shift.

Cathy Wurzer: So you’re

Mark Dayton: You know we penalize our schools districts including those who have been most fiscally responsible as the legislature and the Governor have over the last years with the shift, which is really a misnomer. You say if I reach my hand, and I wouldn’t do this, into your pocket…

Cathy Wurzer: Thank you

Mark Dayton:… and take out your wallet and say I’ll give it back to you when I feel like it. We don’t, in the real world we don’t call that a shift. Now, so they’ve used it as a piggy bank or as something else and taken, you know this money and say we’ll repay it. Now its in law that its supposed to be repaid in the next biennium. So I’d like to follow the law. And I’d like to square the books and I think the state needs to get its fiscal house in order so local governments can operate responsibly as they have been and not be penalized for doing so.
(33:15)

Cathy Wurzer: So you’d like to do that…

Mark Dayton: I intend to do that.

Cathy Wurzer: Can you tell us now

Mark Dayton: (inaudible)

Cathy Wurzer: Can you pay back the shift on time or delay?

Mark Dayton: Well, as I say. You got an 890 million dollar gap. If worst case scenario, I can’t find a way through that with the kind of reforms I’d bring in place, uh if I’m elected, between now and issuing a budget at the end of next January, next January or February, that’s the fallback position. But I’m not willing to go with that now. And even that would be a partial repayment because I think that’s wrong. We owe the schools that money. The law says it needs to be repaid. And I think we should honor the law and the principle that the state will get its financial house in order and so local governments and cities and counties and school districts can know that they can depend on the state’s financial commitments.

Cathy Wurzer: Representative Emmer, I saw your new ad on education

Mark Dayton: You looked almost like a Democrat there Tom.

Cathy Wurzer: You’re talking about holding education harmless. That your budget plan holds flat education spending. Which sounds good, but you don’t factor in inflation in your plan. And I’m curious how does your plan then protect classroom funding?

Tom Emmer: Well, ah it absolutely. When you talk about holding it flat, again its within existing revenues and we’re ah adding about 500 million ah of the federal money to it. Before we go to that though, Cathy, because your question was how are we going to sustain funding in the future?

Cathy Wurzer: Correct.

Tom Emmer: Ah, first off. Senator I think you’re a little bit more than 800 and some billion dollars short with your new education ah plan that you put out with all the great investments that don’t have numbers on it. It looks like it may go well beyond a billion dollar short if you do the things that you’re talking about. But I understand (inaudible) earlier about we need to (inaudible) within the existing (inaudible) we should work within the existing framework. And with all due respect, if a hundred years ago the people sitting up here would have said we had to work within in the existing framework, we might still be in one room school houses. You can’t say that what we’re doing today is working. Because we have… I’ve only been in the legislature six years and this has been one of the hottest topics every single year. How are we going to do this? You have to start thinking outside the box. You have to start empowering the education professionals that are actually at the administrative level and in the classroom. You have to let them start having input as to the resources need to be determined. Not just the head of the education union. That’s one of the biggest problems that nobody’s talking about and and that’s what we have to go after is empowering people at the ah at the local level, in the classroom, in the schools to make sure that the money is going where it needs to go.

Cathy Wurzer: Senator, actually the Representative brought up something. I mean looking at your new education plan that was released. You don’t have dollar figures on all day kindergarten and some of the things you really want to do. And those are expensive propositions. Really, how do you pay for all that?

Mark Dayton: Well, those are the priorities that I set in my administration. And as resources become available we’ll work our way hopefully as a nation and as a state out of this ah economic serious recession and as the funds become available, those are my commitments and my priorities. I I don’t have the dollars in my budget to date. Ah, I’m gong to look every possible way, if I’m elected, with those I can bring into state government. You know, we, we’re inheriting a 20 year legacy of really an indifference to the quality functioning of state government. And I believe a lot of savings that are possible there once we get in there and send commissioners in there that believe in the purpose and the mission of the agencies. And and that’s my commitment. We’ll find more resources and as they become available through job creation and through efficiencies in our operating side.

Cathy Wurzer: You’ll get to where you want to go.

Mark Dayton: I’ll put that money into education, first and foremost.

Cathy Wurzer: Tom Horner, you’re going to delay the repayment. Is that right?

Tom Horner: Yes.

Cathy Wurzer: 1.7 Billion?

Tom Horner: Yes I am, unfortunately. You know I do have to say though, it’s always fun listening to my colleagues talk back and forth. I don’t understand most cause what they’re saying or where their positions are, but it’s always fun listening to them. The fact is we do have to lay out a very clear position on education and I’ve done that. I was at the Humphrey Institute on Monday and articulated a very clear set of principles. A very clear vision for education and I am willing to put the money against it and more importantly, I’m willing to put the leadership to it. And so yes, I went to the superintendents and school boards and I said I’d love to pay back the the shifts and the deferrals and the accounting shifts. And and the reality is the money is not there. There’s 20 percent of the operating budget that we are in deficit. And with all due respect to Representative Emmer, it is real money. And it is a real shortfall. And we can’t pay it back without doing serious harm either to the economy through higher tax increases that we can’t afford, particularly when they’re directed at the wrong place, or can we afford to say we’ll just cut deeper. We can’t afford to do that. We need an education system that works for all Minnesotans. We need to invest in early learning. We need to allow teachers to teach. We need to have good principals. We do need to bring Education Minnesota to the table and as partners to deal with seniority, tenure with those critical issues. But then look it, we haven’t even started to talk about higher education, which is another critical area that we need to invest in.

Cathy Wurzer: And that’s a debate for another time.

Tom Horner: Right I understand.

Cathy Wurzer: But Tom Emmer, Tom Horner just said ‘this is real money we’re talking about’. Is it, are you just unwilling to say to folks really I’m going to cut education?

Tom Emmer: No ah, we’re not. Our commitment is going to increase K-12 education . But what I’d say to both of my ah colleagues up here and everybody else, is we have to start recognizing that you can’t just keep going at the pace we’re going. Because we’ll be back here in two years or four years. We’ll be talking about it again. Both of my colleagues talk about raising taxes. (looking at Tom Horner) 2.15 billion plus, (looking at Mark Dayton) ah two to three, I don’t know where you’re at right now in terms of raising taxes, but that’s your thought. You talk about progressive, I tell you what, the only progress we’ll see is more business leaving this state and if you want to pay for education, if you want to do the investments that some politicians like to call them with the public’s money, you got to be growing your private economy. You want to have a long term sustainable funding source for K-12, for early ed, for your higher education institutions. You gotta be growing jobs in your private economy, because that ultimately is what pays for all of these things that we expect from government.

Cathy Wurzer: Senator Dayton.

Mark Dayton: Well what grows jobs in our private economy more than anything else is the best quality education system in the world. And that’s what we can not afford to sacrifice. So Representative Emmer, your budget, you calls for the same level of funding for the next two years for K-12 education as this two years, 13.3 billion of state money and 500 million dollars of federal stimulus. So you put in 13.8 billion. The formula in existing law for per pupil aid would drive that to 14.3 billion, so you’re 500 million dollars short and what you’re overlooking is that the projection is there will be 10,500 more students in our public schools next year than there were this year in 2012 compared to 2010. And there’ll be, they estimate now over 20,000 more in total the year after that. So if you’re going to keep the same level of funding and we’re going to have 20,000 more school children in our public schools by the end of the biennium, once again, you’re going to have less money for per pupil. You’re going to have overcrowded classrooms. You want to go to the educators and ask them what’s necessary to be successful. Go ask teachers. How do you be an effective teacher in a classroom with 35 children? You can’t be effective in that situation. We’ve got to get class sizes down. We got to provide all day kindergarten and these things are just essential so educators can succeed.

Cathy Wurzer: Tom Horner?

Tom Horner: Both of these start from the wrong premise. I mean, both gentlemen start with the premise of how much? And Representative Emmer would say a lot less and Senator Dayton would say a lot more. We need to start asking the question of “what for”? What do we need to achieve as outcomes? What’s important to the state of Minnesota? And there are two outcomes that are absolutely critical to economic success, to civic success, to our success as a state. And the first is, we need more Minnesotans who have had some level of post-high school education, including degree programs. And we need to make sure secondly that Minnesotans have access to lifelong learning. And when you start with those two outcomes and back up, you need to be spending better on K-12 education, you need to be thinking of it as E-12 education. You need to be investing in early learning. You need to reform the structure of school. Not just by changing the funding, but by saying we need to allow teachers to teach. We need to give them more autonomy, more authority, and more accountability. We need schools with great principals and we need superintendents that have the flexibility and the ability to say this is really a terrific young innovative teacher, we need to keep her in our system regardless of seniority roles.

Cathy Wurzer: I’m glad you brought up teachers. Now this question comes from the advisory panel. Is the current tenure policy for teachers satisfactory or should it be changed?

Tom Horner: Oh it absolutely ought to be changed. I mean look it in in Anoka-Hennepin, the largest school district in the state. Centennial High School, terrific program for vocal music, a career path for kids who wanted to be in vocal music. Kind of the ‘Glee’ of Centennial High School. And and students loved it, parents loved it. Great teacher was going to be lost. The Superintendent went to Education Minnesota and said ‘allow me to exempt one percent of the teaching slots’. Now this is a district with 2,800 teachers. He’s asking for 28 slots. Education Minnesota turned him down. The programs lost. Now he’s going to lose another program that’s also tied to an innovative teacher. You can’t afford to do that. We do need some flexibility. We need to work with Education Minnesota, but we do need to have some flexibility so that we can keep the best teachers in the school.

Cathy Wurzer: Representative Emmer, how would you change… how would you work with Education Minnesota to change the tenure system?

Tom Emmer: Well, no where else in our ah in our , in our state are you evaluated or do you get to keep your job just because you’ve been there the longest. I mean you keep your job because you’re providing something of value and you’re performing. Alright? Teaching should be no different, and we’ve got great teachers in this state. What we would propose, rather than just eliminate tenure outright is have a five-year renewal process where every five years, you go through a review of of the teacher where they’re at, you have measurements. ‘Cause it’s not just about measuring students progress, (it’s) about measuring the effectiveness of our teachers. Have a five-year ah review on tenure, ah, give the school districts more flexibility and ah I think you’ll see better results.

Cathy Wurzer: Senator Dayton, you are endorsed by Education Minnesota, I know this is a subject that ah is kind of touch with that particular group at times. What would you do? Would you work with Education Minnesota to try to change the tenure system? Would you keep it the way it is?

Mark Dayton: Well, I think any, any private sector employer or public sector employer who has a, comes into a situation where there’s an established union, works with the union. And tenure is a seniority system. That’s the basic principle of unions in the public and private sectors. If somebody’s going to go in and try to destroy that as it effects 60 or 70 thousand people, I think they’re going to create a very destructive relationship that’s going to just overshadow everything else. We need to get rid of bad teachers and we need to get rid of bad principals. I learned when I was teaching in a dysfunctional school in New York City, a bad teacher ruins a classroom. A bad principal ruins a school. We need a way that that those individuals who are not performing and have been evaluated and are found wanting or even you know just burned out and don’t want to be in the profession, we need a way to get them out of the system. And I will support doing that. You know when I came in as State Auditor, right away I was confronted with two employees that it was proven had embezzled public funds and I fired them. And ah one was reinstated, and I took that all the way to the Minnesota Supreme Court. So I will, I will take the principle that everybody in public sector who is paid for by taxpayers dollars, needs to be doing her or his job and doing it well. And if they’re not, if there are conditions that call for that person’s removal, if those are not available now then I will work with the entities or even with their disapproval to achieve that.

Cathy Wurzer: Alright.

Mark Dayton: But I think to go in there with a , go in there with a buzz, with a blade saw where you need to be using a scalpel, is is just going to really be destructive to the whole process. And once again I just pointed out, you know it’s easy to sweep all these things under the rug, you know the big bad wolf, Education Minnesota. Teachers are professionals, most of them highly trained, highly skilled, very dedicated and through a small “d” democratic process, they have elected people to represent them. Now that’s a basic inherent, I believe, American right. Certainly a right in Minnesota to be organized and represented in collective bargaining. And I think anyone who comes into a management position, whether its in business or in the public sector who doesn’t respect that is is really as I say, going to make it more destructive and not successful.

Cathy Wurzer: I heard someone try to say something.

Tom Horner: Yes. Let’s hope that a criminal offense is not the line in the sand before we remove a bad employee. I mean we, there are good teachers, a lot of good teachers. But we also have ineffective teachers. What we ought to be doing is something along the line of the Wayzeta school district, a terrific program in which the union, teachers the school boar..the school administration work together to take Q-comp money, not just to reward teachers but as staff development. To help make ineffective teachers better. To help train them and make them better teachers. Not just the young teachers but the experienced teachers. Well, it’s those kinds of things you need to be investing in. So I agree. We ought to be working with the union, but we also work with the union on a level playing field on equal terms. And when the union says that that there are these kinds of stakes in the ground that are at the the disadvantage of students that are losing great programs that can’t be replicated, then I think we as leaders have an obligation to students, to parents and to other teachers to say we will do what is best for the students. And that ought to be not just our first priority, but our only priority.

Cathy Wurzer: Tom Emmer, as you know efforts to pass an alternative teacher licensure bill didn’t go anywhere last session. What would you… would you work toward that as Governor?

Tom Emmer: Absolutely. I mean it gets to this, ah we want to work with the union, you’re absolutely right. We want to work with the teachers. That’s who we want to work with. We want to work with the professional educators, the administrators of our schools. It is become abundantly clear to somebody who ah was working at least trying to understand both sides of the aisle in St. Paul, ah, which by the way, there was much agreement on alternative teacher licensure, on both sides of the aisle. Ah, it’s necessary. Not because we have so many teachers out of work right now ah, but we we do have a shortage when it comes to people that can ah help in science and math. It’s on the horizon. World languages. These are things where we should create an alternative teacher licensure program where we can get the talent that we already have in this state into the classroom and benefit off it. But it was, it was almost a tragedy to watch last legislative session as it wasn’t the teachers, and it was not the ah administrators, it was the head of Education Minnesota that literally said ‘we’re not going to do this’ and it didn’t go anywhere and that that’s inexcusable. That has to be talked about openly and honestly. Ah, we might have a difference of opinion, but you can’t stand in the way of reform.

Cathy Wurzer: And he’s not right here to defend himself, obviously, but I want to ask Senator Dayton something because you do bring it up when we do ah, when we’ve done interviews and just early on in this conversation you talk about teaching in New York City when you were a young man. And you were part of a program that’s kind of a precursor to today’s Teach For America, and teachers unions are not terribly fond of Teach For America, but you taught in the classroom in that manner, and and I’m wondering why shouldn’t other qualified, non-traditional teachers be able to do the same thing with alternative teacher licensure?

Mark Dayton: Well, I, that’s not exactly correct. I, I, I, ah met the requirements back then of the New York City Board of Education. Because you had to have a bachelors degree and had to be qualified in the subject you were going to teach. I was teaching ninth grade general science, I was pre-med. I took advanced physics, inorganic and organic chemistry and biology in college and ah you had to have 12 uh 12 teaching credits in an accredited teaching institution which was arranged that summer with the University of Massachusetts and it was an intensive summer program. Taught summer school and so you know that met the qualifications. You might have said they should have been higher, and in this day and age they might have been, but this was way back in 1969. And I was accredited. I mean, some of this other stuff, you know, there’s a book written, it’s about that thick, it’s about the New York City Board of Education. If you want to go to sleep some night I’ll give it to you, or loan it to you to read. But the labyrinth there was such that, you know, you got one temporary license to get started. And then you know after the bureaucracy caught up, I’m amazed they delivered the license today given how dysfunctional they are. And I had a regular license. I was a regular teacher of ninth grade general science.

Cathy Wurzer: OK

Mark Dayton: I mean, this is some of the people…

Cathy Wurzer: So you were licensed to teach.

Mark Dayton: …are bringing this up like the Republican Party. This is a point of absolute absurdity.

Cathy Wurzer: OK. So…

Mark Dayton: And let me also say, because it relates to this issue, I mean, I knew ninth grade general science forward and backward and upside down. That didn’t automatically make me a good teacher. You know? I had to learn how to teach. I had to learn the skills of relating to students, of being an effective teacher, motivating students. So, I mean, are there skills that people in the private sector have that can be valuable in education? Absolutely. And we have an existing law on the books, so that if a school district wants to bring somebody like that in, they can do so. Unfortunately the State Department of Education, a couple of years ago I know for a fact that an elementary school in St. Paul had a couple of very well-qualified Hmong teaching assistants, spoke the language that 90 percent of their students talked, they made a, the St. Paul school district made a request for a waiver to the State Department of Education, turned it down. My State Department of Education will grant those waivers…

Cathy Wurzer: OK

Mark Dayton:… so we can bring people that also committed and prepared for teaching who bring some special set of skills.

Cathy Wurzer: We have about three minutes left before closing statements. Tom Horner, what skills and attributes are you looking for in an Education Commissioner?

Tom Horner: Oh I think you need somebody who has a vision, who has a has um a clear set of principles but who also brings a commitment to ah education as a fundamental cornerstone of Minnesota’s economy, of Minnesota’s life. And so I’m looking for somebody who with with a background ah in in related fields. Somebody who can ah has relationships with different constituencies with education. And I think among one of the most important attributes is somebody who is a person who can engage the public. Who can speak to to teachers, to the public, to parents, to all audiences and really get them involved in making education a priority for the whole state.

Cathy Wurzer: Tom Emmer, who are you looking for an Education Commissioner?

Tom Emmer: Somebody who is prepared to help us enact our agenda. Somebody who is ready to help us empower, not only local administrators and educators to do what they see best. If they see an need to opt out of different state mandates in order to make decisions that they believe will best position the kids to succeed in their classrooms, we need to do that. Somebody who will empower parents to be able to make choices base on whether or not the school or the education environment that their child is in, is the best environment for that child to learn. Somebody who is committed to helping us enact the agenda that we’re talking about.

Cathy Wurzer: And Senator Dayton?

Mark Dayton: Someone who has the proven commitment through a professional career in education, proven success and whatever aspect of that. A proven leader, someone who can work well with people, can bring the different stakeholders together. And ah I would agree with Mr. Horner, who says the number one priority, number one consideration should always be what’s in the best interests of our students, the 825 thousand that we’re educating in our public schools today. How can we improve that, what do we need to do to accomplish that, what are the resources we need to accomplish that?

Cathy Wurzer: Since the camera is on you, let’s go to closing statements. Each of you gets a minute starting with Senator Dayton. Go ahead.

Mark Dayton: Well we’re in a an era now,as I say, of limited resources. We recognize that. My priority will be education. I set forth a program yesterday that protects middle income taxpayers and recognizes that the resources are necessary are going to have to come if we’re going to meet this commitment. We have more kids, 20,000 kids, coming into our schools over the next two years we’re told. We need to make sure they’re coming to school ready to learn. We need to make sure we give them the full skills and opportunities, every one of them, to be successful because we know that the future of our state, economic strength, social well-being, depends upon all those children having a chance to achieve the American dream through the rest of their lives. I got a proven commitment to education. I come out of an education background. I know what the challenge is in the real world of that school every day. I know having been in a couple hundred schools throughout Minnesota, what the real needs are. I mean, this is not about theory. This is not about slogans. This is about effective strategies that build on what we have, which is a good educational system, far better sometimes than the resources we provided it to be, that we need to empower to empower to be even more successful and give our kids the world-class education they need.

Cathy Wurzer:: Representative Emmer

Tom Emmer: You know, politicians have been making promises for my whole life , probably a lot longer. Promises that we’re going to give this to every constituency that’s out there in order to ah get elected. Ah, I believe in my colleagues commitment to education. No question, I’ve been around them now, we’ve done a few debates actually. Ah I, I, do believe in their commitment to education. But here’s the problem. At some point you can’t just keep saying because we need to spend it, we want to spend it, we’re going to spend it. At some point you gotta realize that you can make all the investments in the world and if you don’t have jobs for people when they get out of.. if you don’t have a growing economy, you’re going to lose in the end anyway. This is about recognizing that we do have limited resources that it is the wrong time to be talking about raising more taxes, no matter where they come from, they will directly hit the middle class and frankly they’ll hit a lot of the folks that ah are struggling to get by just with the basic needs of life. This is the wrong time in this state and in this country to talk about raising any taxes on any people who are just struggling to put food on the table, clothes on their kids and pay the mortgage. You got to live within your means. You’ve got to empower a professional administrators and educators to start to put the resources that we have, and let’s face it, you got almost 14 billion dollars, we need to empower the educators, the professionals to start putting those resources where they can be most effective and we look forward to hopefully having that opportunity.

Cathy Wurzer: Thank you. Tom Horner.

Tom Horner: And I would turn that around a little bit and say that if we don’t have the talented skilled people to fill the jobs in Minnesota, we’re not going to have the businesses in Minnesota. Because that will always be our distinctive advantage. And we need to make sure that we do have an educated workforce. That we have an educated population to continue the civic vitality of Minnesota. Education is an issue like so many other policy issues in Minnesota. We don’t suffer from a lack of great ideas, innovation, of smart people. We know what to do. This is another issue where it’s leadership and political will. Where somebody is willing to say we do have to make tough decisions. And it’s not a tough decision just to say we’ll take the status quo and make it a lot bigger or we’ll take the status quo and make it a lot smaller. We need to acknowledge that for so many Minnesotans, in so many issues , it’s the status quo that isn’t working. We need to think differently. We need innovation. We need to really be different about what it is we do. And that’s the opportunity of this election, not to continue down the same path. Not to continue doing the kinds of things we’ve been doing in the past, but to really be bold, to grab onto that future. And so here’s my challenge to you. Is that if you want bold leadership in January of 2011, it only happens with bold leadership from voters in November of 2010.

Cathy Wurzer: Thank you Tom Horner, Tom Emmer, Mark Dayton. A good discussion gentlemen. You can re-watch this debate. Study it. Take notes. Thank you for being here. Thank you for watching.

 

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