I attended a gubernatorial forum at the Continuing Education and Conference Center at 1890 Buford Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55108 on June 24, 2010 from 1:00 - 2:30. Present were four gubernatorial candiates. They were:
Mark Dayton (DFL)
(pictured here with sons Andrew and Eric
and dogs Mesabi and Dakota
Margaret Anderson Kelliher
(DFL Endorsed Candidate)
Matt Entenza (DFL)
Tom Horner (IP)
For opening statements, each candidate was given two minutes to speak. Here's what each candidate had to say during this allotted time.
Margaret Anderson Kelliher - She believes that it's very important for our most vulnerable Minnesotans to have someone on their side. She understands what it means to have a strong vocal voice in Minnesota. She wants to fight against the demons of substance abuse. She wants a fair and progressive tax system.
Tom Horner - He's here because no one else would step forward. (What about Rob Hahn?) Horner believes that we need a Minnesota that we create. He stated that hope dies last and that we can't afford to let hope die at all. Horner stated that he would be a one-term governor. He doesn't want to be governor any longer than that. This blogger doesn't think that's good enough. We need a governor who is in it for two terms, not just one. We need a governor who is committed to Minnesota. Tom Horner asks two questions of voters: What kind of Minnesota are we willing to live in? What are we willing to do to get it? I think that Tom Horner needs to work on his platform a lot more.
Mark Dayton - He's not interested in government to affect funding and policy. His main concern at this time is to make Minnesota work again. Back in the late 1960's and early 1970's Dayton thought, as did many of us, that government would always be a very positive experience. He has never before seen such devastation in politics as he has seen in the last decade. Dayton definitely knows how to fix this and will do so when elected governor of Minnesota. Do Minnesotans want a government of compassion or one of devastation? This blogger would hope that most of us want a government of compassion. We want the things that Minnesota has always wanted. We want the things that have made Minnesota great. We have learned that we cannot cut ourselves to greatness. If we could, Mississippi and Alabama would be number one states. They are not. We want our Minnesota back. The Minnesota we had twenty years ago. It's horrible that today's kids don't know what it's like to have a DFL governor. All the current generation knows is a policy of no and a GOP governor who is full of trickery and deceit. Mark Dayton is the best candidate for governor because he knows where the money is and how to get it. He will tax the rich but not the poor. The rich can afford it. He will implement a progressive tax system like Minnesota had back in its glory days.
Matt Entenza - He grew up in Worthington, MN. He's very good on community opportunities. He's appalled that Tom Emmer wants to elimate health care and have charity care instead. This is absolutely the wrong thing to do. Matt Entenza stood up to Governor Tim Pawlenty in the legislature and won. Because of Matt Entenza, our health care system was saved. Matt Entenza has good solid legislative experience. He's been working for Minnesotans for a long time. He's got Minnesota's best interests at heart. He's also well versed on the new clean energy economy and is making it part of his basic platform for a successful Minnesota.
Question #1: Minnesota Health Care Act - What is your level of support?
Margaret Anderson Kelliher - She's a very strong supporter of it. She firmly believes that everyone in Minnesota needs universal health care.
Tom Horner - We have a big budget deficit. We need to do all we can to expand health care in Minnesota. We need to allow MA to take place in Minnesota. Finally, we need to take personal responsibility for our health care. (Yeah, but Tom, what are you actually going to do? All I hear from you is a bunch of rhetoric. I don't hear an actual plan. Nothing. Zilch. Nada.)
Mark Dayton - As governor of Minnesota he would champion health care and make it affordable. Do I have any question about whether he can actually do this? No, I don't. None whatsoever. He's been active in Minnesota politics since the late 1960's. He knows exactly what he's doing and how to make Minnesota great again. I have absolutely no doubt whatsoever about his expertise or his ability. And I certainly have no doubt at all about his integrity or his ethics. He has a reputation of always holding himself up to the highest ethical and moral standards. This is exactly what Minnesota needs in our next governor. Make no mistake: Mark Dayton could easily be the best governor that Minnesota has ever had.
Matt Entenza - With a 5 1/2 billion dollar deficit, how will we proceed? We must work toward a more affordable health care system.
Question #2: What is your record and what will you do as governor?
Tom Horner - Invest in education. Make sure that jobs stay in Minnesota. We must grow our new jobs here in Minnesota.
Mark Dayton - We need to provide jobs for people. Welfare rates need to go down. Every able-bodied person should have a job.
Matt Entenza - He's a passionate Norwegian. We had a state that was excellent. We need to state clearly and emphatically how much we love Minnesota.
Margaret Anderson Kelliher - She will definitely stand up for Minnesota. As governor, she will not make any cuts in basic health for Minnesota's poorest citizens.
Question #3: No discrimination. Describe your history in supporting civil rights for all.
Mark Dayton - Everyone has the right to marry the person they love.
Matt Entenza - Chose Robyn Robinson as Lt. Governor. She fully supports civil rights.
Margaret Anderson Kelliher - She fully believes in the Golden Rule. Don't discriminate against anyone, not even Abby, the GOP tracker in the back of the room.
Tom Horner - He grew up in a household where gay marriage was not discriminated against. That's where he formed his values.
Question #4: Every child deserves to grow up in a safe environment. How will you nuture our children to do so?
Matt Entenza - We must confront it and talk about it.
Margaret Anderson Kelliher - We must make sure that we have strong points in place for childhood early screening. We must not allow these precious childhoods to be robbed.
Tom Horner - ECFC is very important. So is the Minnesota Reading Corps. We must make sure that kids are literate and can read.
Mark Dayton - Mark Dayton doesn't usually talk about personal issues, but he did briefly here. He emphatically stated that domestic abuse in Minnesota is unacceptable.
Question #5: Revenue - What's your take on a progressive tax system?
Margaret Anderson Kelliher - We must fight for the poor and middle class in Minnesota. We must build a more progressive tax system. Margaret will do this from day #1 of her governorship.
Tom Horner - He will raise taxes because he knows that we do need more revenue. We have to set priorities.
Mark Dayton - He will only raise taxes on the rich and wealthy who make over a certain amount of income. He will not rasie taxes on everyone, particularly not the poor and middle class. He will only raise taxes on those who can afford it.
Matt Entenza - He believes that taxes should be progressive.
QUESTIONS FROM THE AUDIENCE:
Tom Horner - Wants to see investments in diversity.
Mark Dayton - Believes that the Arizona Law is vile. It's a test between compassion and a lack of compassion. Mark Dayton is all for compassion. He's been compassionate for the needy since the late 1960's. He knows that to move forward into the future, we must understand our commonality.
Matt Entenza - We must break out of negative diversity.
Margaret Anderson Kelliher - Immigrant citizens need to be fully engaged. We can all have a brighter Minnesota because of embracing diversity.
Mark Dayton - He will expand the Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Program. This was his program in the beginning back when he was U. S. Senator.Dayton has always been excellent on veterans issues.
Matt Entenza - The Back Door Draft into the National Guard is becoming a critical issue. There is flooding ever year in the Red River Valley. We don't have the Guard here anymore to take care of it. They're all being sent to Afghanistan and Iraq. We need our National Guard for internal protection.
Margaret Anderson Kelliher - We need a strategic reward for active duty military personnel. She's a strong supporter of the Yellow Ribbon Program.
Tom Horner - We must acknowledge that we need to do more for homeless veterans and other homeless people. (No kidding, Tom. What do you suggest? Do you have a plan?)
2-MINUTE CLOSING STATEMENTS
How do you differentiate yourself from the other candidates?
Matt Entenza - He's the tallest. He's 6'5". His mother worked until age 74. We can't cut our way to greatness. We have to grow our way to greatness.
Margaret Anderson Kelliher - It's very important to have a governor who will stand up and fight for Minnesotans every day. Kelliher states that she is a proven and effective leader.
Tom Horner - He's not a politician. He's into community service. He's been very active in Catholic Charities. He thinks MN needs an independent voice for the next four years. He has no intention of running for two terms.
Mark Dayton - He offers highly experienced and effective leadership in Minnesota state government. He knows that we must raise the necessary revenue that Minnesota needs. He has an excellent plan for that. He knows where the money is and he will get it if he's our governor. Mark Dayton is no doubt Minnesota's best choice for the next governor of Minnesota.