Mark Dayton is on his 87 counties in 87 days tour. So far he has visited 32 counties and has 65 days left in the tour. Being on the road that many days must take a lot of energy, but Dayton retains his high energy level and his stamina. Roads in southern Minnesota have been treacherous, but none of the events have been cancelled. Dayton and his staff meet each committment with a positive attitude and a deep concern for Minnesotans all across the state.
He's been getting good feedback and an excellent reception from all the counties that he has visited thus far. Here's what the Sentinel Online in Fairmont, MN has to say:
Feb. 11, 2010FAIRMONT - Mark Dayton has been around the political block, apparent from the group gathered at Perkins to see the gubernatorial candidate Wednesday in Fairmont.
Evidence? A two-decade old purple bumper sticker on a vehicle in the parking lot supporting Dayton for state auditor in 1990.
Further proof? Questions from the people gathered to see him focused almost as much on his experience as a one-term U.S. senator as his run for governor.
As Dayton's time in Fairmont ran short, one supporter asked him, "What can we do to help you get elected?
"Vote on primary day," he said.
The big day for Dayton is Aug. 10. Choosing to skip the endorsement process, Dayton will not be party insiders' choice to represent Democrats. Instead, he is banking on support from the general public. Dayton is traveling through Minnesota, hitting each county at least once before voters must decide who they want to represent the DFL on the ballot in November.
"I don't see these as partisan concerns for Minnesota," Dayton said, regarding conservatives who might shy away from his political plans. "... A lot of Republican city and county leaders are coming to these meetings, and they're saying the trust between the state and city has been destroyed."
He made clear his beliefs on the state's fiscal and moral obligations - obligations he feels Minnesota's current governor, Tim Pawlenty, has failed to uphold with unallotments of state aid to cities, counties and schools.
"The state has a responsibility to provide equal education to all students. I promise to increase K-12 funding every year I'm governor - no excuses," he said.
Pushing tax burdens down to the local level wasn't fair, in Dayton's opinion.
"I hope this unallotment is proven unconstitutional," he said.
Dayton rejected Pawlenty's claim that he enforced no new taxes, citing increasing property taxes, fees and school referendums, and local governments increasingly struggling with the burden they're bearing.
"I drove around Fairmont ... and noticed you have almost as many potholes as Minneapolis," he said, pointing out that cuts in transportation funding have really made a difference.
"Why not do a $1 billion bonding bill?" a man asked Dayton. "Borrow cheap."
"Why not?" Dayton concurred.
Other people attending the meeting Wednesday had other concerns on their mind, such as jobs.
"We need work," one man said.
Dayton agreed, sharing his idea to start a revolving loan fund with money saved by retrofitting state buildings with energy efficient heating and cooling systems to lower energy costs and put people to work.
"Hopefully we could serve as an example to the private sector," he said. "... We need to find innovative ways to use our intuition. We need creative ideas. ... We're the brain-power state."
If elected governor, working with both sides of the aisle to accomplish his goals is possible, he said: "I'll work with whoever the people of Minnesota elect to represent them." Source.
If Mark Dayton keeps up the pace and keeps getting such a wonderful reception from people all across Minnesota, he'll have an excellent chance of winning the DFL Primary. He knows how to run a hard election. He knows how to win an election. He's been there before. Governor Dayton sounds good.