Gov. Mark Dayton took aim Tuesday at the politics practiced by President Donald Trump as well as federal and local Republican lawmakers.
Dayton told hundreds of business executives and political leaders at the annual Minnesota Business Partnership dinner that his style of politics had become “too old-fashioned” in the era of fake news and described his 40-plus years in politics as devoid of lies or abuses of public trust.
“I admit I have a very hard time dealing with people that don’t conduct themselves to those standards. Last week I was deeply angered when I learned certain Republican legislative leaders had purposefully misled Minnesotans,” he said, referring to legislators’ comments on the impact of his veto of legislative funding.
Dayton line-item vetoed the Senate and House budgets in May amid negotiations over tax cuts and other issues. After the veto, legislators said they would be forced to shut down the Senate in December and the House in early February. But they recently said there would be enough money to keep both houses operating until the session begins Feb. 20, when they can try to override the governor’s veto.
Those attending the dinner at the Minneapolis Convention Center included some of the Republican legislative leaders who have been warring with the governor over budget issues and tax cuts. Those leaders have said Dayton’s veto of legislative funding was wrong and that he was effectively abolishing the state’s legislative branch.
Dayton also railed against the national political landscape, from the GOP health care bill to Trump’s late-night tweets.
“Rational politicians in the middle aren’t acceptable to the people on the extremes,” he said.
The governor took a more congenial tone later in his speech, when talking about his priorities for the remainder of his term. He asked business and civic leaders at the event to join in his support for more education funding in the coming legislative session.
“Next session I’m going to put even more focus on higher education. Your support as business leaders would be invaluable,” he said.
The state needs to repair old buildings on college campuses and add new ones, he said, adding that high-quality facilities will help the state retain and attract students.
“Then they will become your employees and Minnesota’s future,” Dayton said.