Replay- Minnesota Governor Candidates Hold Final Debate (CC)

Video by Craig Stellmacher
The last gubernatorial debate of a long Minnesota campaign season had a looser format than many. The three leading  candidates: Mark Dayton (Democratic-Farm-Labor), Tom Emmer (Republican), and Tom Horner (Independent) asked each other questions as well as answering questions from the audience and Minnesota Public Radio News moderator Gary Eichten. The hour long debate was at the Fitzgerald Theater in St. Paul.
After the debate, we catch up with a Horner and Emmer supporter who are discussing what they saw.  Their discussion puts “civil” back in “civil discourse”.

To read a transcript of this debate, watch thecaptioned video or the replay of our live blog

To view our live blog in a pop-up window, Click Here

Captioned Video

Final Gubernatorial Debate, St. Paul, MN, October 31, 2010
Sponsored by Minnesota Public Radio
Speakers: Mark Dayton, DFL candidate; Tom Emmer, Republican candidate; Tom Horner, Independence Party candidate; Moderator: Gary Eichten
Transcript: Susan Maricle

Gary Eichten: Brett Favre has started and is apparently still upright. So we’ll see how that plays out. The Green Bay Packers meanwhile beat the Jets, so pressure is (unclear) (cheers)

Now, I should point out we’ll have opportunity for at least a few of you to get a question asked of the candidates. If you have a question, raise your hand and Curtis Gilbert or Nancy Lebens or Larissa Anderson up here in the balcony will get a microphone to you. The only couple of things about that, make sure your question is directed to all 3 of the candidates. You know, general interest questions that people, you know, everybody is interested in. I know you may have some specific thing you care about, but save that for another time.

And keep your questions short and to the point, no speeches please. We’re asking the candidates to keep their comments relatively pointed as well, so. We can all participate. Be polite, I personally think it’s fine to cheer for your candidate, but y’know, none of the catcalls, booing, hissing, that kind of stuff for the other candidates who you may not be supporting. Let everybody have their say here.

We have a request from our folks at the Public Insight Network. They ask that you consider signing up to be a news source for Minnesota Public Radio News. Now these are people who tell us what’s going on in their schools, workplaces, communities. And help inform our news coverage. If you’re willing to let us contact you occasionally to ask you questions on issues that we’re covering, here’s the thing to do. Text us and the address is Insight to 677677. Insight, to 677677. And we thank you in advance for that. And if you would please, be kind enough to turn off the ringer on your cell phones during the debate, so we don’t have those interruptions.

That’s pretty much it, we’re here for an hour, We’ll get started as I said in about a minute from now. The candidates will have a chance to ask questions of each other, you’ll get your questions on, I’ll have a few. And we really do appreciate you coming out tonight, or this afternoon, on this last, for the final debate of the 2010 campaign. So stand by please.

DEBATE BEGINS AT 3:28

Gary Eichten: And good afternoon! Happy Halloween from the Fitzgerald Theater in downtown St. Paul, I’m Gary Eichten and welcome to the final debate of the 2010 campaign for Governor. Three major party candidates have held an unprecedented number of debates around the state, but today is the FINAL debate. One last chance for the candidates to make their case before you go the polls on Tuesday. These final debates have become a great tradition here at Minnesota Public Radio News, and we’re so glad that those of you here in the theater, those of you listening on the radio and on the Web, so glad you could join us this afternoon. In keeping with the tradition of these final debates, the format is pretty loose. I’ll have some questions for the candidates. We’ll be taking questions from those of you here at the Fitzgerald Theater. And the candidates will have a chance to ask each other a question as well. Now, feel free to cheer for your candidate but please be polite so that all the candidates can have their say. Those of you joining us online, you can watch a live video stream and read a live blog with real-time fact checking at mprnews.org. So, without further ado, let’s meet the 3 major party candidates for Governor in alphabetical order. Democrat Mark Dayton (applause, cheers), .

Mark Dayton: Thank you, thank you very much.

Gary Eichten: Republican Tom Emmer, (applause, cheers)

Gary Eichten: Independence Party candidate Tom Horner. (applause, cheers)

Gary Eichten: So there are your candidates. One other thing, if I may before we get started. This is the 26th debate that these gentlemen have participated in since the primary in August. Twenty-six where all three have been onstage. That’s more than 2 a week. Now in most states, you’re lucky if your candidates for Governor have one debate, two debates, maybe three debates if they really go wild and crazy. We’ve had a chance to hear from these candidates over TWO DOZEN times. At length, in remarkable detail, on the major issues facing the state of Minnesota. I think that the state of Minnesota has been very well served by these gentlemen and I think they all deserve a rich round of applause. (applause) 05:48

Gary Eichten: All right, having built them up, let’s tear them down! (candidates laugh) Just kidding.

Tom Horner; No you’re not. 06:04

Gary Eichten: (laughs) I wanted to start gentlemen with a couple of questions, one for each of you about this Minnesota Public Radio Humphrey Institute poll that came out last week. Not the horserace poll. This is the one that asked about attitudes, Minnesotans’ attitudes about taxes and spending. One of the findings, Representative Emmer, was that 2/3 of the people surveyed said they want to see higher taxes! Two thirds. Does that give you any second thoughts about your position opposing any tax increase? 06:36

Tom Emmer: No, actually, Gary it does not. And the other part of it was they want to see less spending and they want to see less services, which I found interesting as well when you talk about this survey. We don’t know, the 3 of us, and maybe my 2 colleagues have actually studied the questions that were asked in the survey, but a lot of times you get the response based on the question. I would say this: to those people that are talking about higher taxes like my colleagues, it really isn’t a matter of not having enough revenue. It’s a matter of not setting our priorities and making sure that government purchases the services within the revenues we have. I give the example all the time. You’ve got the state of Minnesota that spends close to 60 billion dollars every 2 years. The state of Colorado is roughly the same geographic size and I believe it’s within about .5% of our population. Granted, nothing’s apples to apples. But the state of Colorado spends closer to 40 billion dollars every 2 years. And again, it’s a matter of making sure that the resources we have are purchasing the services that we expect. And that’s gonna be important for the next Governor, next Legislature to explain to people this is what we’re doin. And again, I’m the only one that has put out a budget that balances the state’s budget within the additional revenues that we’re gonna have. About 7 to 8% in more revenues in the next 2 years. And I think that’s what the public expects. They want you to provide the services within the revenue that government has. 08:01

Gary Eichten: But this doesn’t give you any pause that perhaps a large number of Minnesotans actually want and support tax increases. 08:07

Tom Emmer: Actually no Gary, again I’ll say it, Minnesotans want good government. They want efficient government. 08:14

Gary Eichten: Okay.

Tom Emmer: Right now they’ve been led to believe by this same mantra that we hear, even from my colleagues, that you’ve gotta raise billions of dollars of new taxes or we’re gonna cut your services. That’s not true. It’s time to start redesigning government to deliver those services in an efficient manner and within the resources that we have. Once we start doing that, let people keep more of their resources and start growin jobs again in the state of Minnesota. That’s how you get your economy movin again (audience applause). 08:38

Gary Eichten: Tom, Tom Horner, same poll says that all these people who say they like higher taxes are not fond of raising the sales tax. They’re all suppor-, not ALL of them, but MOST of them, vast majority prefer raising the income tax. Do you have any second thoughts about your plan? 08:58

Tom Horner: No, because I do think that we need tax reform. And what we have seen is that when Minnesotans had the opportunity to vote on a tax in 2008, they voted overwhelmingly to raise the sales tax to protect the environment, to protect our natural assets, to invest in the arts. It led the ballot. So I think what we really see is that when Minnesotans believe that the money is going to be used for purposes that they believe in, they will support tax reform. And that’s what I’ve proposed. Y’know, what we see in the polls is when you ask them, “Do you want to get a free ride by cutting spending for the poor?” “Do you want to get a free ride by taxing 4% and everybody else gets off scot free?” Of course. Everybody in a poll is going to say, “Sure, don’t tax me, tax the guy behind the tree.” When they actually have had to vote on it, when Senator Dayton last ran for Governor, he supported an expansion of sales tax. When you look at Democrats in the Senate, they’ve supported proposals closer to mine. The business-led Tax Reform Commission appointed by Governor Pawlenty ended up where I did. And so I think as Minnesotans understand what I’m really proposing is REDUCE the sales tax. CUT it. So that when you’re buying big-ticket items, those items that really affect a family’s budget, appliances, furniture, you’re gonna pay less. And then we will broaden the base but do it in a way that’s fair. I think that’s what Minnesotans are looking for with the leadership to say we then will spend the money in a way that you can trust. In a way that goes for the good purposes that Minnesotans want. 10:36

Gary Eichten: Mark Dayton, the other half of that poll is, Representative Emmer pointed out, (applause) other half of that poll found that a majority of those surveyed favor, actually favor smaller government and reduce services. Not the more expansive government that you’ve talked about, really. Any second thoughts about the promises, the goals that you’ve laid out in the campaign? 10:59

Mark Dayton: Well, I’m not proposing expanded state government Gary. In fact I’ll work with private sector advisors to look at how we can find greater administrative efficiencies and savings that way, but 95% of the state budget goes half to education, 30% to health and human services, 9% to public safety, 5% to – 5% public safety, 9% to property tax relief and local government aids, and 3% to the debt service. And the reality is y’know, we’re gonna have 124,000 more people living in Minnesota over the next 2 years and we’re gonna have 14,000 more students in our public K-12 schools. So y’know if you look at some of these increases that Representative Emmer refers to, the reality is those dollars are going to help people. They’re going to help school children, to prevent having more districts go to 4-day school weeks, reduce the overcrowding in our classrooms, to work with aging population, y’know 88% of our health and human services budget goes to the elderly and to children and to people with disabilities. So y’know these dollars are translated into services for people, and they’re reflective of the values of Minnesotans. And that’s why we’ve built a great state, because Minnesotans recognize our future DOES depend on education. They recognize that the elderly, those with disabilities are peoples who often need help. And so, I just wanna continue those essential services. 12:21 (applause)

Gary Eichten: Is it possible, is it possible that all 3 of you are going to have a really tough time getting your programs, whatever those programs are, through the Minnesota Legislature? Doesn’t appear to be, we’re talking to the Legislative leaders the other day, and it doesn’t appear like there’s a big appetite for raising the income tax on the wealthiest, doesn’t appear to be much of an appetite for expanding the sales tax to clothing, doesn’t appear to be much of an appetite for cutting 6 billion dollars in state spending. So whoever gets elected here, how are you gonna get your program through the Legislature? Mark Dayton. 12:58

Mark Dayton: Well, the key of course is we need to do job creation in Minnesota as we do in this country. And y’know that will increase revenues by more people working and paying taxes. Until that happens, the reality is for every dollar of revenue you don’t raise, you have to cut a dollar in spending. So y’know there will be 201 Legislators, each elected in their own right, properly so, and they’ll have their own opinions about the Governor’s proposal, but the bottom line is the end of session, both the Legislature and the Governor have to meet a Constitutional requirement to balance the budget. And so there will be a negotiation, there will be a collaboration, and that will be part of the process, and if I’m Governor I’ll certainly be engaged in. 13:35

Gary Eichten: Tom Emmer. 13:35

Tom Ememr: Well no, I think that we have the best opportunity to pass what I’m talking about. First Gary, we’ve gotta start, your question is based on the premises that we gotta cut 6 billion dollars in spending. We keep saying it that way and my colleagues keep talking about 5 to 6 billion dollars that we’re in deficit, as if we’re cutting spending. The next Governor, the next Legislature in this state will actually have 7 to 8% MORE revenue to spend. That’s almost 3 billion dollars more than current general fund spending in the state of Minnesota. So let’s start from the premise that we have to operate within the additional revenues that we’re going to have. And I’ve proposed to get jobs growin again in this state immediately. I’ve proposed reducing the corporate franchise tax by a point in each of the next 2 years, that puts approximately 360 million dollars in the hands of our employers to start making capital investments in hiring again, proposed a 10% exclusion on gross earnings for small businesses, those S-corporations and LLCs, those people that actually file personal income tax returns, not corporate returns, expanding the Angel Investment Tax Credit, the Research and Development Tax Credit, reducing commercial property taxes, Gary, these things HAVE bipartisan support in the Legislature. Mr. Horner’s sales tax proposal has a couple of people that have proposed it in the past, it has absolutely NO chance of getting through the Legislature, and Senator Dayton’s proposal actually got 7 votes out of the House of Representatives last year. So I would say the plan that we’ve provided is not only balanced and living within its means but it provides instant incentives for growing jobs in this state that enjoy support from both Republicans and Democrats. 15:15 (applause, cheers)

Gary Eichten: Tom Horner. 15:16

Tom Horner: Gary, I think you look at a person’s track record. I think you look at the experience. I think you look at people who have actually brought Democrats, Republicans, Independents together to get things done. So you have Tom Emmer, who has spent 6 years in the Legislature, fighting Democrats and Republicans, who takes a position that is very very far to the right. The most conservative position, even among Republicans, just to do everything by cutting spending. As we’ve talked about, Mark Dayton, has spent 35 years running for office after office after office, serves 1 term, then he’s out. How does that build any kind of coalition, any kind of support? Where’s the track record of getting things done? And then in the campaign today, takes a position VERY very far to the left, only as Tom Emmer said, only a handful of people who would even acknowledge the need to come anywhere close to what he’s proposing. How do you build any kind of coalition? There’s the problem. It’s why every former Governor who has endorsed, the people who have been there, who understand it, who know how to get things done, have said I’m the candidate who can build these coalitions, who can build the bridges. And I do disagree with Tom Emmer, that there’s not support there. Quite the contrary. It’s not just a handful of people. It’s the Chair of the Senate Tax Committee. It’s the people who are going to lead the job creation in Minnesota who have endorsed the kind of proposal I’m talking about. 16:51 (applause)

Gary Eichten: If you just tuned in, the 3 major party candidates for Governor are on stage at the Fitzgerald Theater. I’m Gary Eichten and they are here for a final debate. One last final debate before Tuesday’s election. Let’s go to the audience here at the Fitzgerald Theater for some questions for the candidates. Curtis Gilbert. 17:10

Curtis Gilbert: Yes Gary, I’m here with Bonnie, she lives in Brooklyn Center, I should note that she’s wearing a Mark Dayton T-shirt. But she’s got a question for all the candidates, and another important thing is that she’s a special ed teacher. 17:21

Bonnie: The special ed is often pitted against general ed for funds, and I’m wondering if you guys have plans to met special ed mandates and also be fair to the regular ed, general education programs. 17:39

Gary Eichten: Tom Emmer, you wanna go first? 17:42

Tom Emmer: Absolutely. Bonnie, I think one of the problems with our special education funding is that it’s not a set amount. It’s based on number of students. It gives the wrong incentives, and it’s not, it’s not something that we can count on from year to year. And it creates this imbalance. I think first off, first and foremost, when we talk about our K-12 education system, we’ve gotta talk about reform from top to bottom. We’ve gotta talk about making sure that the roughly 14 billion dollars that we’ve proposed should go into K-12 education next, in the next 2 years, that that is, it allows professional educators and administrators to put those monies where they have to go, where they can get the highest value for the return, instead of constantly letting the union boss, which would be Tom Dooher, stop these reforms and keep us from putting the ample resources that we have where the greatest need is and where we can get the greatest value. 18:38 (applause)

Gary Eichten: Mark Dayton. 18:39

Mark Dayton: First Bonnie, thank you for your dedication as a special ed teacher. I have a young relative who’s autistic and I know what a challenge that is. And y’know that’s why I tried 7 times in the 6 years I was in the U.S. Senate to get the federal government to meet its failed promise to provide the funding for 40% of the cost of special education. That would have been 250 million dollars of additional funding for all of the schools in Minnesota and would have helped all of the students by funding that unfunded mandate. And I will continue to work with the Minnesota Congressional Delegation if I’m Governor. Representative John Kline has made the case that this really ought to be the priority for the federal government to fulfill that unfunded mandate. I agree with him. And I will do everything I possibly can to get that funding so that we’re not forcing schools to make those decisions among students. 19:31

Tom Honrer. 19:32

Tom Horner: Well, this is one more area where we need to start with the outcomes that we have to achieve instead of continuing to create all of these silos where we’re going to treat special education that way, we’re going to treat gifted education this way, we’re going to treat early childhood education another way, we really need to be smart about it and start with how do we make sure that every child coming out of our schools is prepared for the next step in his or her life? Whether it’s into the military, into a job, into more education. How are we preparing them to succeed and then figure out what it is that we need to do to get that child there. And so certainly in special education, do we need to make some changes, do we need to focus our resources? Without question. But it also starts back at early childhood education, at ECFE, the Early Childhood and Family Education, making sure that we have children coming in to school prepared for success, so that they can succeed WHATEVER their ability level, that we’re challenging them, that we’re helping them achieve their highest aspirations, their highest abilities, as students in schools that work for all children. 20:43

Gary Eichten: Quick, quick followup on education, if I may, and a quick response. Will schools, next for the next 2 years, have enough new money to cover the added cost of increased enrollment and inflation? Mark Dayton. 20:57

Mark Dayton: Well I y’know, the budget I’m supporting would provide for enough money. This is coming from the state’s econometric forecast to fund at the current formula level the funding for the additional 14,000 students that are expected in the schools. Which is why when Representative Emmer says he’s gonna provide just the same level of funding as state and the federal stimulus money combined for the next biennium as for this biennium, and there’re 14,000 more students, then on a per-student basis, that results in a cut. I will continue that level of funding and I will do my utmost to repay the shift. 21:33

Gary Eichten: Tom Horner. 21:33

Tom Horner: Yes, if we move the money from administration into the classroom to make sure that the classroom is our priority, and if we’re willing to be bold, to do some of the reforms that I’ve proposed to make sure that we’re allowing teachers to teach, that we have great principals in every school, that we’re starting children prepared for success as they enter kindergarten. 21:53 (applause)

Gary Eichten: Tom Emmer. 21:56

Tom Emmer: The answer is yes, as long as you’re willing to take on Tom Dooher, the union boss for Education Minnesota. I’ll tell ya, Senator, you just played that typical political game that people do. The state’s commitment to education , the K-12 system, is roughly 13.3 billion right now. We’ve added 500 million to the budget that we’ve proposed. So almost 14 billion. But Senator Dayton likes to point out that we’re not including the stimulus. Well you can’t guarantee ANYTHING from the federal government right now. That’s not responsible. Not only is the concept that you propose, which is making promises about “I’m just gonna keep increasing funding every year without any plan for where it’s gonna come from” because we’re not growing jobs, under your plan we’re pushin ‘em out of the state, you add this federal stimulus money which there’s no guarantee that the federal government is gonna be able to honor any of these commitments going forward, if we’re gonna be responsible for Minnesota we have to do it with Minnesota dollars and see later what the federal government is gonna be able to do. 22:55

Gary Eichten: Mark Dayton, did you want to, Mark Dayton do you want to respond?. 22:59

Mark Dayton: Representative Emmer, you’re misunderstanding what I’m saying. In this biennium current, the state’s paying 13.3 billion, and the federal stimulus money is providing 500 million for a total of 13.8 billion dollars. Your budget for the next biennium calls for the same amount, all from the state, 13.8 billion dollars. AND, there are going to be 14,000 more students in our K-12 public schools. So on a per-student basis, that’s a real cut. 23:23

Tom Emmer: Yeah, and Gary, (applause) 23:25

Gary Eichten: Tom Emmer. 23:26

Tom Emmer: on a state commitment basis it’s not a cut at all, it’s an increase and I’ll just point out to Senator Dayton that if you’re going to be beholden to the union boss Tom Dooher, you’re not gonna be able to give, you’re not gonna be able to give our professional educators and our administrators the ability to use the funds that we have in the way that we’ve just talked about.

Gary Eichten: Okay. 23:48

Tom Emmer: Getting more of it into the classroom. Making sure that our teachers have the ability to teach, making sure that our administrators have the ability to get the highest value. It’s gotta be in the best interest of the student, Senator Dayton, not in the best interest of Tom Dooher. 23:57

Gary Eichten: Tom Horner. 23:57 (cheers, applause)

Tom Horner: And I’ll just say if you continue to draw lines with teachers, if you continue to just say that spending is the only answer, how do you move anywhere in the future? I mean this is just the same kind of the debate we’ve had for the last 8 years. W need a new discussion for the next 4 years. (applause, cheers) 24:18

Gary Eichten: Let’s go back to the audience. Nancy Lebens? 24:21 (cheers, applause)

Nancy Lebens: Gary, I’m here with Twila from St. Paul, she’s wearing a button for Emmer. And she has a question about health care. 24:26

Twila: Yes, as you all know, the health care reform passed in March (applause). And really it is, it requires, it puts a lot of power at the Governor level and the state Legislature for implementing it. I am concerned about the provisions in the bill which require everyone to buy an insurance product which is approved by the government and no other as well as the provisions that will I believe disrupt the patient/doctor relationship and put the government in charge of looking at all our medical records and making our decisions. So I’d like to know as Governors, whether you are go- willing to commit to not implementing Obamacare or if you are committing to go forward with it. Thank you. 25:09

Gary Eichten: Tom Horner. 25:11

Tom Horner: Yes, well and thank you Twila, I know that you spent a lot of time on this issue, and sometimes I think you have raised good issues, other times, I think you just unnecessarily raise a red flag of alarm. So let me talk about health care reform. (applause) I think there are challenges, problems, weaknesses in the federal health care reform. But it is EXACTLY for that reason that Minnesota better be a leader in figuring out how to leverage the federal health reform for lower cost, higher quality care in Minnesota, building on what already works in Minnesota. And we’re going to have to be bold and innovative! We’re going to have to do things differently! Let me give you an example. The Minnesota Department of Health decided that they needed to reduce the cost of low-income children with asthma. They created a terrific program to help identify the triggers of asthma attacks that were sending kids into the emergency room. By working with the families, working with the kids they were able to reduce costs by an average of $2,000 per child per year. But more than that, more than that, they were able to reduce school absences by an average of 7 days per child per year. Over the course of a 12-year academic career, that’s HALF of a school year. There’s the achievement gap. There’s lower health care costs. There’s innovation if we look at health care from a Minnesota perspective, from a community perspective, from “how do we do things better and differently?,” now just how we were doing things the last 4 years. 26:39 (applause, cheers)

Gary Eichten: Tom Emmer, implementing the federal health care law. 26:43

Tom Emmer: I think it’s a, it’s a mistake. I think, I actually authored the Minnesota Health Care Freedom Act, which would amend Minnesota’s Constitution to provide that the government can never tell us what decisions we have to make with our health care. (cheers, applause) I think it’s a complete mistake (cheers, applause) I think it’s a mistake to believe that government can somehow do, make our health care decisions better than we can. Or, to suggest that turning this over to the federal government or even the state government is going to allow us more innovation and allow us to be bold. It’s not the right answer. We have an election on Tuesday and I know that some candidates, it seems like half of the candidates in Congress, running for Congress, are now running AGAINST the Federal Health Care Reform Act. And that’s mostly Democrats. So I don’t think that it’s got a future in terms of the way it was passed. I think as we go forward, if we’re gonna reform Minnesota’s health care system, we have to lead. That’s true. But the way you do it is you don’t turn it over to the federal government. The way you do it is you decouple health care insurance from employment so that individuals can deduct their health care insurance premiums just like any employer does now, two you give individuals more control over their ability to design health care insurance products, and you allow them start to shopping, to shop one of the thirteen hundred approved products across this country. And that, you bring market forces in, that’ll drive costs down WITHOUT destroying the quality of the health care offered in this state. 28:12 (cheers, applause)

Gary Eichten: Mark Dayton. 28:16

Mark Dayton: Well, I think there’s a lot of fear-mongering y’know about this plan as it will unfold in the future. And I, let’s look at what has happened so far as a result. Young people up to the age of 26 can be covered under their parents’ health plans. That means young people who are still in school have that health coverage that many of them wouldn’t have otherwise. You cannot deny coverage to children based on pre-existing conditions. Preventative procedures like mammograms and colonoscopies cannot be required, require a copay. So these are positive steps that benefit Minnesotans and Americans. And I will, if Governor, not allow anything to come between a patient-doctor relationship and the right of every Minnesotan to determine who they want their doctors to be. But so many Minnesotans TODAY, because they can’t afford health insurance, or they can’t afford the cost of health care even with insurance because of the deductibles and copays, they don’t have any relationship with a doctor at all. And the goal ought to be for this society, to provide every person in this country with affordable, quality health care. 29:16 (cheers, applause)

Gary Eichten: We’re going to give, okay, we’re going to give each of the candidates a chance to after all these debates (laughs) they’ve heard from the other candidates, wanna give them a chance to follow up and ask a question of each of the other candidates. And Mark Dayton would you begin please with a question for Tom Emmer. 29:34

Mark Dayton: Well Representative Emmer, you in your proposal will cut on a per-pupil basis the state funding for school children. You’re going to cut the funding for higher education considerably, and yet despite those cuts for education, your budget does not require people making a million, 5 million, 10 million dollars a year, to pay 1 dollar in higher income taxes. How can you justify that tradeoff? 29:58

Tom Emmer: Well first off, mine would. Because unlike your proposal, mine will grow jobs in the state of Minnesota. The more jobs you grow, not only will the new people that are working start to pay taxes, but you know what? The new businesses, those people that you seem to want to drive out of this state, they will also pay more in taxes. So to suggest that we don’t want to, it always sounds good, Senator Dayton to say “We’re gonna tax this group or that group” cause it always sounds good when someone else is gonna pay your way. But that’s not the way it works. You’re gonna tax EVERYBODY in this state and you’ve provided a budget that frankly has a HUGE billion-dollar gap. And you keep talkin about how “well maybe I’ll use the shift,” even though you said earlier in one of our debates or even publicly, “I’m repayin the shift and I’m putting more money in K-12 education, no excuses, no exceptions.” And yet we come up here and you talk about “Maybe I’ll fill the billion-dollar gap with the, by not paying the shift, we’ll see what happens with that.” Here’s the, here’s the reality. When we talk about per-pupil funding, we’ve got to make sure that we start making decisions and incorporating reforms that are in the best interest of the pupil, the student, and their family, 31:10

Gary Eichten: Okay. 31:10

Tom Emmer: as opposed to the best interest of the union leadership. Second, when you talk about higher education, 31:15

Gary Eichten: Okay 31:15

Tom Emmer: yeah, I am asking higher education, Gary, to move into the 21st Century. But don’t talk to kids about raising tuition 10% every time when they can’t get their own house in order. The University of Minnesota, Gary, 31:27

Gary Eichten: Okay 31:27

Tom Emmer: Their faculty and their administrators contribute 2 1/2 % to their retirement. The University of Minnesota matches that with 13%! That’s not responsible. The kids shouldn’t have to pay for that. 31:38

Gary Eichten: Okay. 31:38

Tom Emmer: The –

Gary Eichten: Your –

Tom Emmer: – our higher education institutions need to get 31:41

Gary Eichten: Okay. 31:41

Tom Emmer: – their own books in order. 31:42 (applause)

Gary Eichten: Your question for, Tom Emmer, your question for Tom Horner please. 31:48

Tom Horner: Mr. Horner, you’ve suggested you’re gonna hold LGA harmless, you’re gonna hold education harmless, and when I say harmless, you want it to grow, let government grow by almost 20% in the next 2 years beyond the 7 to 8% new income , that new revenue that we’re gonna have. My question to you is if you’re gonna hold 85% of what government wants to grow at harmless, and you have a 2 ? billion dollar hole in your budget, what other taxes are you gonna raise OR are you gonna cut veterans’ services, agriculture, what are YOU gonna have to cut to meet that 2 ? billion dollar hole that is in your budget? 32:22 !

Tom Horner; Well, and I think, Representative Emmer, that’s the kind of question that comes from a person who can only think about government in one way. Who can only reflect on what government has done in the last 6 years that you’ve been in the Legislature. If you think about government differently, if you really take a look at my budget proposal, instead of how you’ve characterized it, what you would see are some creative proposals to really change how we’re going to deliver human services. When we have, in many counties, social workers who spend 40% of their time not serving their clients, but filling out PAPERWORK that the state has imposed, you as the Legislator, and other Legislators, the Governor, that the state has imposed. When you see in many counties around the state, 40% of property taxes going to pay for unfunded state mandates, to say that I’m going to increase spending by that much, just reflects an inability on your part, I think, to see beyond the budget as just a dollars and cents kind of document. And that’s why, next year, Minnesota will have a 6 billion dollar shortfall. Because you refused to deal honestly with a 3 billion dollar shortfall in 2010. (applause, cheers.) THAT’S what we need to get past. That’s what I’m offering as Governor. 33:37 (cheers, applause)

Gary Eichten: Okay. Tom Horner, your question for Mark Dayton, please. 33:41

Tom Horner: Well Mark, you’ve staked your entire – campaign really on a single point, Tax the Rich, which is at the VERY far left of your own party. And then you’ve stood by SILENTLY while special interest groups have come in to spend millions of dollars to further divide the state. So my question is that, in a career in which you’ve run for office for 35 years, really on the most partisan of platforms, continue that this year, it’s really little surprise that you found yourself isolated in those offices, and not very effective frankly. So if you’re elected, how can you guarantee that the two-thirds of Minnesotans who aren’t going to vote for you will have your ear and that you will have their ear? 34:26

Mark Dayton: Well Representative – Mr. Horner, I y’know if I’m elected, will serve all of Minnesota. As I have done in the other offices to which I have been elected. And I have said that if I am elected I will make every decision with 1 consideration: what is it that I believe in my heart and my soul is the best for the most people of Minnesota. That’s the commitment I would make as Governor, I believe that’s the commitment either of you would make as Governor. Y’know we have our different points of view on how best to achieve that, but I certainly respect your commitment to that process, I respect Representative Emmer’s, and I would just say again that I will make those decisions with what I believe is best for the future of Minnesota. 35:04. (cheers, applause)

Gary Eichten: Let’s shift gears here just a little bit, let’s take the other round of candidate questions right away and then we’ll get back to audience questions here, if we may. Tom Emmer, your question for Mark Dayton. 35:17

Tom Emmer: Senator Dayton, you have proposed a budget that has almost a BILLION dollar shortfall. It’s actually your second attempt. And you’ve acknowledged that it’s almost 900 million dollars short, so just shy of a billion dollars. While at the same time, you’re promising, and I know you call them goals, but we’ve been in several debates, and we’ve been with you as you’ve promised all kinds of new education spending, as well as promising to increase education spending every year. We’ve listened to you talk about your tax plan. What other taxes are you going to raise, and please address the income tax as well. Are you going to go beyond the 11% that you promised to raise income taxes to in this state? What other taxes are you gong to raise to try and meet the, not only the spending promises you’re making but the billion dollar hole you’ve got in your budget. 36:11

Mark Dayton: Well Representative Emmer, y’know as I’ve said I will not raise the income tax rate above the highest, which is 11%, and the top I would raise it to is 10.95%. But going back to your not answering my earlier question, I DO believe that people making a million, or 5 or 10 million dollars a year, should pay a higher income tax rate than people making $75,000 a year, as is the case in Minnesota today. I believe in progressive income taxes. I think those that are most successful, and I applaud them for their success, should be paying a share of their taxes that they’re not today in state and local. And whereas you, with your budget, will increase property taxes on middle-income taxpayers. The Minnesota Department of Revenue, we’ve agreed is our arbiter, says the property tax falls 5 times more heavily on middle-income taxpayers than it does on the upper-income taxpayers. And as I’ve said clearly and REPEATEDLY in response to these debates, the 890 million dollars that remains in my budget, if I can’t find those savings, and I think I’ll find hundreds of millions of dollars, by going in with management consultants, but I can’t put a number on that, that’s what they’ve told me they’ve achieved with Republican/Democratic Governors in other states, whatever I can’t, I will have to delay some repayment of the shift. I would like to repay the shift, because I believe in increasing the state commitment to education, squaring our accounts financially with the schools, 37:30

Gary Eichten: Okay 37:30

Mark Dayton: – increasing funding for early childhood education and for optional all-day kindergarten, those are GOALS. But they’re goals that I believe are better for Minnesota’s schoolchildren than allowing the wealthiest 37:38

Gary Eichten: Okay 37:38

Mark Dayton: – people to avoid paying their fair share of taxes, as you would. 37:40

Gary Eichten: Okay 37:40 (cheers, applause)

Gary Eichten: Tom Horner, your question for Tom Emmer, please. 37:44

Tom Horner: Well, because I think this whole issue of how are we going to engage the public, how are we going to unite the public, how are we going to bring Minnesotans together around a common purpose, really is so important whether you talk about jobs or restoring trust in our government. That I want to ask Representative Emmer a variation on the same question that I asked Senator Dayton. In the same way that Senator Dayton has staked his campaign on a simplistic slogan so far to the left, you’ve staked your campaign on a single bumper sticker slogan to the right, of just cut spending. And yet you’ve earned a reputation in the Legislature as a person maybe fairly described as more intense about politics than policy, even members of your own party have complained about the harshness of your attacks on them. So, my question to you is the same question. If you’re elected, how can you guarantee that two-thirds of Minnesotans who won’t be voting for you that you will listen to them, or that they will listen to you? 38:41

Tom Emmer: Well, and I appreciate that, Tom. You and I have just gotten to know each other through this process, so I’m not so sure where you get your information. I have GREAT relationships with both Republicans and Democrats in the Minnesota House of Representatives and the Senate. More importantly, I have great relationships with people out on Main Street. And I don’t know where somebody comes out and says “It becomes extreme” or “It’s to the right” because you suggest that people should live within their means, that making sure that you don’t spend more than you have, I don’t know when that became an extreme position. And I think you’ll find, if you were traveling with me, that Minnesota AGREES with us when we talk about living within our means and “stop taxing us so much that you’re driving jobs out of the state of Minnesota.” And Senator Dayton, I have to tell ya. You keep talking about taxin the rich, but you’re not doin that. You know, and I don’t know how to be anything but respectful and direct when I tell ya, if you were talking about taxin the rich, you’d be talking about taxin your trust accounts in South Dakota. You’re talking about taxing, you’re talking about taxing INCOME GENERATORS. INCOME EARNERS. People that are growing 39:46

Gary Eichten: Okay 39:46

Tom Emmer: – businesses in this state. That’s gonna drive jobs away from the state of Minnesota. It’s gonna kill the entrepreneurial spirit. 39:52

Gary Eichten: Okay. 39:52

Tom Emmer: THAT’S what we gotta watch. 39:53 (cheers, applause)

Gary Eichten: Mark (to crowd: Please), Mark Dayton, a question for Tom Horner. 40:00

Mark Dayton: Mr. Horner, you talked about your tax proposal about extending the sales tax to clothing and then to personal services. You’ve been unwilling to specify which personal services you would tax. Would you please do so before people vote on Tuesday? Which specifically, personal services are you going to extend the sales tax to include? 40:18

Tom Horner: Sure, well good question Senator Dayton, thank you for that. And I know that at one point in your past political history, you agreed with the need to expend, extend, the sales tax. In fact, last time you ran for Governor, you proposed a broader expansion of the sales tax. 40:34

Mark Dayton: I’ve, I’ve gotten older and wiser since then. 40:36 (cheers, applause)

Tom Horner: Well, you like to say that, I know that, I know that, but what REALLY happened, Senator, is that the people you were running against in the primary, Senator Bakk, proposed a sales tax expansion. R.T. Rybak, the mayor of Minneapolis proposed a sales tax expansion. Speaker Kelliher OPPOSED your tax plan. I don’t think you got wiser. I think you just stayed as political as you’ve always been. (applause) 41:00

Mark Dayton: So, 41:02

Tom Horner; So, let me answer, let me answer your question. Because it it is a good question. Y’know, what I’m going to do is, and I’ve been very bold and very forthright about it, that I do we think we ought to lower the sales tax by a full percent. We need tax reform. We have too many people in Minnesota who pay no income tax at all, and when that happens, there’s a disconnect between the cost of government and and what we pay. We need to have everyone have a share responsibility of reducing the cost of government. And the way we do that is to expand the sales tax. To go to more of a consumption tax. We need to stop 41:39

Gary Eichten: Okay 41:39

Tom Horner: taxing investment and production. We need to start looking at more reliance on consumption. 41:45 (cheers, applause)

Gary Eichten: All right, back to to the audience. Larissa Anderson, please. 41:47

Larissa Anderson: Gary, Gary, I’m here with Steve McKuen from Richfield. He’s got a question about jobs. 41:52

Steve McKuen: Yes, I keep hearing about job creation, but really, nothing concrete throughout the whole campaign I must say. What can any of you do, what actions can any of you do that can top come January the 21,000 jobs that would be created by signing on to the federal health care bill? 42:13

Gary Eichten: Tom Emmer. 42:14

Tom Emmer: (laughs) Well Steven, first, I disagree with your premise. That you believe that we’re going to crate 21,000 new jobs with the federal health care legislation, in fact you may create as many as 160 or 165 new bureaucracies which, if you think about it, economics 101, that’s gonna suck even more resources out of our private economy to try and support something that frankly is not sustainable and it’s really not responsible. I would suggest that if you go to our Web site, emmerforgovernor.com, you will see a very specific proposal. How do you create jobs? Government doesn’t create jobs. Government actually creates the environment that allows entrepreneurs to thrive. That’s what creates jobs. What you gotta do, 2 things in the state of Minnesota: We don’t need to be the cheapest place to do business in the country or in the world, we have the greatest workforce STILL. We just need to make sure we’re competitive. And that comes from lowering taxes, streamlining regulation, so that we can allow the entrepreneurs in this state to start to thrive again. That’s how you’ll grow jobs and we have provided a complete and detailed plan how to do that immediately in the next 2 years. 43:24 (applause, cheers)

Gary Eichten: Mark Dayton. 43:25

Mark Dayton: It’s just, it’s such a common-sense decision for the next Governor, as I would, on Day One, sign the early opt-in to Medicaid, which would bring about 1.4 billion dollars in additional federal funding for Minnesota, would create, I’ve seen the study of over 20,000 new jobs, or saved existing jobs, in our healthcare system, would provide better quality health care to over 100,000 Minnesotans, and very importantly, it would provide financial stability to Minnesota hospitals, particularly those in greater Minnesota, that many of which are hard-pressed financially today. So absolutely I would sign on day one the early opt-in to Medicaid. 44;04 (applause)

Gary Eichten: Tom Horner. 44:06

Tom Horner: Well, I think the question was about job creation, Senator. And I can’t . imagine a sharper, clearer distinction among the three of us than on job creation. Because Representative Emmer, when you decide to cut spending, when you voted against the bonding bills that you have, there goes the biomedical discovery district at the University of Minnesota, that’s where we’re going to create the next Medtronic. The next St. Jude’s, that’s where we’re going to get our innovation. But Senator, your tax plan, you would tax the small businesses, raise their taxes by 30 to 40% on state income taxes, the companies that have 90% of the small business jobs in Minnesota. They can’t sustain that. They can’t afford that. So we need to do a couple of things. One is that we should have a 400 million dollar bonding bill next year for shovel-ready projects. Get people back to work immediately. Then fix the economic infrastructure of Minnesota. Streamline the regulatory process, do the kind of health reforms that I’m proposing to make sure we keep the cost of doing business in Minnesota lower, keep investing in education particularly our great two-year schools that are so important to local regional economic assets, invest in research, and make sure that we are a state that is always competing on the basis of our great talent pool because that always will be our competitive advantage. 45:28. (cheers, audience)

Gary Eichten: Back to the audience, Curtis Gilbert, please. 45:31

Curtis Gilbert: Yes, Gary, I am here with Bob, and he lives in Rockford. He hasn’t decided who to support for Governor, he’s torn between Tom Horner and Tom Emmer, and he has a question for all 3 candidates. 45:43

Bob: It’s been known for years that after every census we redraw our political boundaries, our districts. The term has been called “gerrymandering” where the party in power will typically use their power to solidify their power. And it seems to be acknowledged that this causes a lot of problems in creating extremely liberal, extremely conservative districts that then become polarized and it’s been acknowledged that a lot of the polarization that we see in our country as well as in our state is this kind of districting. Can I ask each of the candidates to comment on how you feel gerrymandering? And can I ask you for a commitment that if you’re the winner that you would do everything in your power to not let that pollute our political atmosphere for the future? 46:35

Gary Eichten: Tom Horner. 46:36

Tom Horner: Yes. Well Bob, that’s a great question, and I agree with you. I think that the one area in the next 4 years, the most important political reform that where the Governor will have an absolutely guaranteed role is in managing redistricting. And if we don’t create more competitive Legislative districts, there’s no reason to expect that we will have Democrats willing to take risks if they’re always in safe districts, or Republicans willing to take risks. We will have a continuation of the gridlock. So here’s what I’ve promised. And I’m the only one who can make this promise. Is that we will get it out of the political world. We will move redistricting to an independent commission as has been recommended by some former Governors, by experts who have looked at it, and we will do it in a way that reflects the best interests of MINNESOTANS: competitive, balanced Legislative districts. Not Republican districts. Not Democratic districts. Minnesota districts. 47:30

Gary Eichten: Mark Dayton. 47:30 (cheers, applause)

Mark Dayton: I believe the last 3 redistricting have by default gone to judicial panels in Minnesota, and I absolutely agree, that that’s where it ought to be done, either by an independent commission or by an independent judicial panel. Both in reality and perception we should take politics out of it. And it should be done to assure the integrity of the representation of Minnesota, as well as to assure Minnesotans of the integrity of our electoral process. 48:06 (applause)

Gary Eichten: Tom Emmer. 48:08

Tom Emmer: Bob, what I would tell you is that if I’m in the Governor’s office, it will be fair. Absolutely. 48:14

Gary Eichten: I know, I know you gentlemen have spent all of these debates, almost all of the debates talking about the budget issue and appropriately so, it’s the big one, but back to those issues, which I know, Mr. Emmer, you’d rather not talk about and you’d – it just hasn’t come up often. But there are folks who are really interested in where you’re gonna stand on the social issues, and let me start with you Tom Emmer if I may. Will you back tighter restrictions on abortions in the state of Minnesota? 48:46

Tom Emmer: You know what, Gary, I’ve never said I won’t talk about it. What I’ve said is, y’know I’m the only pro-life candidate up here (applause) but that’s not the issue. 48:54

Gary Eichten: Well that’s – 48:55

Tom Emmer: That is not an issue. What I have said, regularly, every time these issues are brought up, Gary, is we’ve gotta talk about the things that unite us. 49:03

Gary Eichten: Well we have been 49:05

Tom Emmer: Because these issues:

Gary Eichten: Yeah, but we have been talking about that, and I think it’s fair to say, if you’re elected Governor, would you support, push for tighter restrictions? 49:11

Tom Emmer: I don’t think it is at this point, Gary. I think what we’re talking about in this state is jobs and the economy. And if we keep focusing or trying to distract our attention to things that just slow us down and divide us, we’re not gonna do the things that we have to upfront, Gary. This election 49:27

Gary Eichten: Well, yet the Legislature sends you a bill (Emmer, inaudible) which would tighten restrictions, or relax restrictions on abortion, would you sign it or veto it? 49:34

Tom Emmer: I, I answered the question. I’ve got a very clear record on where I stand when it comes to pro-life. I’m gonna be a jobs and economy guy if I’m elected to the Governor’s office. (applause, cheers) 49:46

Gary Eichten: Mark Dayton, would you actively push for civil unions or legalization of same-sex marriage if elected? 49:57

Mark Dayton: I believe in marriage equality (applause, cheers) and I believe that the founding principles of this country that all men and women are created equal. Endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights. Among those are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That certainly should include the right of every Minnesotan to marry the man or woman he or she loves. 50:14

Gary Eichten: So you’d – 50:15 (cheers, applause)

Mark Dayton: I would. Yes I would support it. And I would promote it. And I would sign it. 50:18

Gary Eichten: Tom Horner, would you actively push for civil unions, same sex marriage provisions? 50:25

Tom Horner: Y’know for the last several years, both in my community service career as well as my professional career, I’ve worked for a terrific organization called Project 515 that works to eliminate the discrimination that are inherent in some of the statues in Minnesota. Everything from making sure that same-sex families can get discounted fishing licenses the way, same way as other families, all the way to more important decisions like end of life. I think we need to continue working in that area, but I also will advocate for marriage equality. Because I do think that we ought to have a society, a state, that embraces diversity, that respects equality. 51:03 (applause, cheers)

Gary Eichten: Lots of talk during the course of the campaign about health care costs. Clearly, costs are going up so dramatically. Should MinnesotaCare program, set up as a kind of safety net program for the working poor, should that be scrapped? Mark Dayton? 51:20

Mark Dayton: It should be not be scrapped, no, and one of the reasons the early opt-in for Medicaid is so important is because it will relieve the financial pressure on MinnesotaCare by which has resulted from the Governor decimating GAMC and shifting some of those clients to MinnesotaCare and threatening the financial stability there. So, but no, it plays a very important role in providing health insurance for those Minnesotans who otherwise would go without healthcare and would go to our emergency rooms, require more expensive care, so it benefits them and it benefits our broader society because it relieves that pressure on our emergency rooms so they can provide affordable care for those who really need it. 51:58 (applause, cheers)

Gary Eichten: Tom Horner. 52:01

Tom Horner: Well I don’t think it should be scrapped, but I also don’t agree that we can just take the status quo and make it a lot bigger. The cost of public health programs IS unsustainable and we do need to get ahold of it while we improve quality. And so I think there are a couple of things. One, I do agree that we ought to take the early opt-in to Medicaid. Not because we get federal dollars. But because we can expand coverage and we won’t get to real reform if we don’t expand coverage. But secondly, lookit, Minnesota, the state, the government, is the largest purchaser of health care in the state. For its employees, for public health programs. And we have YET to use that purchasing power with this Governor, with this Legislature, under Senator Dayton’s proposal we have YET to use that purchasing power to really figure out how do we redesign healthcare. How do we drive some of these efficiencies? How do we hold people accountable for their own behavior? How do we improve prevention? I’m the only one who has laid out specific programs to do that. Now if they’re going to take, taking on some of the special interests in Minnesota, but we better do it. If we want to lower the cost and improve quality, and expand coverage for Minnesotans, then we need to take on some of these challenges and take ‘em on realistically. 53:14 (cheers, applause)

Gary Eichten: Tom Emmer. 53:15

Tom Emmer: Senator Dayton, I will tell ya, I don’t think turning over our healthcare system to the federal government is a, it’s not leadership for Minnesotans and it’s not a good idea for the long term. This early opt-in that you suggest is going to solve some of the issues with MinnesotaCare, frankly is the wrong answer. It’s actually going to make it WORSE if you opt in to early MA. Think about it. Y’know, we’ve got 11 states that were given the opportunity to do this early opt-in. Only 2 accepted the offer and they still have yet to get any money. There’s no guarantee that the federal government’s gonna come through with any of this. When you talk about MinnesotaCare, Gary, MinnesotaCare needs to be reformed. All public programs need to be reformed. They need to be more individual based. Not more government based. They need to be more individual based. And I’ve pro – presented a bill in the Legislature which would turn MinnesotaCare from the program that it is right now, a turnkey if you will government insurance program, where somebody comes in, looking for this healthcare safety net, and they’re absorbed into the government system. Their claims are administered by government employees et cetera. The reform is more individual based. Let’s give them the same benefit but with a private healthcare premium VOUCHER where they can go participate in the middle class, with the middle class for their health care insurance just like everybody else in Minnesota. 54:39

Gary Eichten: Back to the audience. Nancy Lebens, please. 54:41

Nancy Lebens: Gary, Gary, I’m here with Marcia from Maplewood. She’s deaf, and her question will be interpreted by Heather. 54:48

Marcia, interpreted by Heather: When the ADA was passed in 1990, only 22% of people with disabilities were employed. Now, 20 years alter, in 2010, that number has not increased. What will you do as Governors to develop your jobs program for the state to end the discrimination and increase the number of people with disabilities who are hired? 55:15 (applause)

Gary Eichten: Okay. Let’s see, Mark Dayton, why don’t you go first please 55:20

Mark Dayton: I’ll start by leading with example. In my administration, hiring people with disabilities because I agree with you, that’s shameful that that percent has not increased. And I will encourage private employers throughout Minnesota to follow my leadership and my example and hire people with disabilities, because I know they’re incredibly talented people who have MANY contributions to make through our society. 55:40 (applause)

Gary Eichten: Tom Emmer. 55:42

Tom Emmer: Well I serve in the Legislature with Representative Torrey Westrom from Elbow Lake, Minnesota. And he’s legally blind. To me we have laws right now, Marcia, that deal with discriminating against anyone based on their physical condition. Age, physical condition. We need to enforce the laws that we have and the most important thing we can do is start to grow JOBS in this state so that there are MORE jobs that can fill, that can be filled by people from every walk of life including those that have to deal with physical disabilities. 56:22 (applause)

Gary Eichten: Tom Horner. 56:24

Tom Horner: But you know, with all due respect to Representative Emmer, I mean that’s the same kind of answer as the one you just gave on health care. Look, it’s great to say we’ll give vouchers for everybody (applause), it’s great to say you’re going to give vouchers for health care to everybody, but if the cost of health care is too expensive, if you, lookit, my wife as you know Tom, I mean my wife is a cancer survivor. If I don’t win on Tuesday, we don’t have health insurance. We’re going to have a tough time buying it in the private marketplace. THAT’S the reality whether I have a voucher or not. And so with the disabled workers, here’s the reality. Is that we have cut important support services for the disabled, including personal care attendants. We need to make sure that we’re creating the opportunity for ALL people to succeed, for ALL people to have the opportunity for Minnesota to be a hospitable state, for EVERYONE regardless of their ability. 57:21 (applause, cheers)

Gary Eichten: We don’t have much time left, but I wanted to ask you, you gentlemen have been part of a really unique political experiment, social experiment, 26 debates. Is this a good way for future statewide candidates — Senate, Governor – to conduct their campaigns? You think this is a good way for the state to operate politically? Tom Emmer. 57:44

Tom Emmer: In terms, Gary, of the debates we’ve ahd? 57:47

Gary Eichten: Yeah! The next ones, should they be expected to run 26 debates? 57:50

Tom Emmer: Well I would never say that things should, because it works this time, that’s the way you do it next time. You should always be looking at the circumstances that present themselves at the time you’re talking about. But TODAY? For somebody like me? This has been fantastic. I mean I’m a guy from Delano Minnesota that’s raisin this great family and tryin to run a small business that nobody, almost nobody had heard of just 16 months ago. This has given me the opportunity with these 2 fine men to introduce myself to Minnesotans all over the state. It’s been a great opportunity, I think. 58:25 (applause, cheers)

Gary Eichten: Mark Dayton. 58:29

Mark Dayton: Gary, I think it’s been terrific for Minnesota, I think it says so much positive about Minnesotans, interest in this election and our participation in the election process which has always been one of the very best of any state in the nation. It’s a great antidote for 30-second soundbite- 30-second commercials and 7-second sound bites, and it’s given people all over Minnesota a chance to see us firsthand an d hear from us directly. 58:54

Gary Eichten: Tom Horner. 58:56

Tom Horner: Yeah, y’know, for me again I mean I can’t compete with the millions of dollars they’ve been able to spend out of their own pocket, their special interest groups, so for me the form has been terrific. The one change I’d recommend is that we do MORE of these debates in communities around the state, and really get out because part of the value is interacting with a live audience, dealing with the people, we ought to be part of greater Minnesota, more than we have through the 26 debates we’ve done. 59:18 (applause)

Gary Eichten: Okay before we wrap up I wanted to give each of the candidates 30 seconds here to make a final pitch for your vote. Candidates drew straws, Tom Horner goes first. 59:27

Tom Horner: Well, thank you very much. It’s been a great honor to run for Governor. Here’s the question that I hope you ask yourselves as you vote on Tuesday. Why is it that all of those who follow the election most closely – most of the newspapers around the state, local newspapers, former Governors, the local officials who have endorsed me, all have come out and said I’m the one person who can bring Minnesota together, who can create jobs, who can build a future. And so I’d ask you this: vote your conscience. Go into the polls knowing that a vote for Tom Horner is a vote for Tom Horner and the people of Minnesota. Thank you. 1:00:00 (applause, cheers)

Gary Eichten: All right, Independence Party candidate Tom Horner. Next up, Republican Tom Emmer. 1:00:05 (applause)

Tom Emmer: I also want to say thank you to all of you that are here today, thanks to Public Radio, Gary, to my colleagues for doin this. There are 3 people runnin, there are 2 messages. These 2 gentlemen believe you gotta raise billions of dollars of taxes yet again to grow government beyond its means. I think it’s time for government to live within the revenue it has and start to grow jobs. I am the ONLY candidate that will NOT raise taxes on middle-class Minnesotans or any other Minnesotan for that matter. (cheers, applause, cheers) Appreciate your support! 1:00:32

Gary Eichten: That’s Republican Tom Emmer. And finally, Democrat Mark Dayton. 1:00:38 (applause)

Mark Dayton: I want to thank you, the people of Minnesota for considering my candidacy, and I want to respectfully ask you for your support next Tuesday. I will be the jobs Governor for Minnesota based on my experience as Commissioner of Economic Development twice for this state, I will go anywhere in this state nation or world if there are jobs to be gained for Minnesota. I will make taxes fair and I will invest that money in education so we can give every one of our children a chance to be successful in the global economy. The theme of my campaign is A Better Minnesota. And if you will trust me with the office of Governor, I will work every day and every night to crate a better state for all of us. Thank you. 1:01:10 (cheers, applause)

Gary Eichten: Gentlemen, thanks so much! That’s all the time we have this afternoon. Thanks to all the candidates for joining us and good luck on Tuesday. Thanks to those of you at the Fitzgerald Theater and all of you listening on the radio and the Web for joining us. Now, if you’d like to hear the debate again we’ll be rebroadcasting it at noon tomorrow on Midday. And we’ve collected all of these debates at mprnews.org for you to listen to at your leisure. Make sure you stay tuned, MPR News and Cathy Wurzer will be along in just a minute with a reaction and analysis program. Then Tuesday, Election Day, we’ll be on the air at 7 o’clock with live election night coverage from around the state and around the nation. Sara Myer the producer of our election coverage, Tom Campbell is the manager of the Fitzgerald.