Minnesota’s DFL stood strong against a storm of GOP victories that swept the country Tuesday. There will be no change in the levels of blue and red that our state will send to Washington D.C., with only a personnel shift: Tom Emmer rather than Michelle Bachmann; but as the proverb goes, the devil is in the details: and this election had plenty of details.
Minnesota Connected was recently given the chance to interview the gubernatorial governor candidate Jeff Johnson (GOP) — the interview took place hours before his first debate with Mark Dayton (DFL) in Rochester (available to view here). Our conversation focused on a variety of policy issues, but we found a number of non-political tangents to wander down as well.
Minnesota Connected: Obviously the debate today is a big deal, what are three of the major points you want those viewing to take with them?
Jeff Johnson: Mark Dayton is out of touch with the middle-class and his interest is more in government bureaucracy and special interests than in serving the middle-class. That’s my overall theme, but I can break that down into three pieces: first, we aren’t growing good jobs in the state. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics last week we’re dead last in the Midwest for job growth rate in the last year and we’re 41st in the country. We may be growing jobs, but we are growing them at a slow rate and we aren’t getting the good wage jobs that the middle-class needs to survive.
Tuesday had its share of winners and losers in the world of Minnesota politics. The big story was the sub 10% turnout of eligible voters (which is low for our state); but for me the excitement was found in the genesis of full-fledged autumn campaigns. A notable few are actually quite interesting.
For the fourth straight month Minnesota has taken a significantly lower amount of tax revenue than expected. Back in February, budget officials announced a projected $1.23 billion surplus for the fiscal year 2014-2015. This forecast, which helps to inform lawmakers on tax and spending issues, is not quite holding true to form; though officials urge caution in drawing conclusions for how it will surface in the budget.
On Monday the Teamsters Union nabbed an important win in their push-back against a popular provision to allow for Sunday growler sales in the Minnesota State Senate’s liquor bill. All hope (for beer-lovers) seemed lost as the provision was officially stripped in the Senate Tax Committee. It appeared destined to become yet another autumn election issue… at least it did until 25 Republicans and 18 DFLers decided to not play nice and resurrected it on the floor of the Senate.
Columbus Day hasn’t been the only thing due for a Minnesotanly-correct makeover this past week. This time it’s happening in the capitol building. On Monday John Hoffman (DFL-Champlin) netted approval from the state Senate on a measure to change the name of ‘Asian Carp’ to ‘Invasive Carp.’
Most of the time I have to settle for covering stories that involve beer or politics, but once in a blue moon these two cosmic bodies (that I spend way too much time thinking about) align into something distinctly interesting. Yet somehow an under-reported sleeper of a story involving such things almost missed my attention. Unfortunately the scoop isn’t good: in short, the influential Teamsters Union has entered the “Sunday Liquor Sales Debate “on the wrong side.