Introduced by Minneapolis Mayor R. T. Rybak Tuesday morning, former Republican Gov. Arne Carlson and former Democratic Vice President Walter Mondale shepherded in the formation of a new group of former Capitol powers who will work to come up with a state budget solution.
The lack of a budget agreement has brought Minnesota to its second state government shutdown of the decade.
"Today, we are being challenged," said Mondale. "A spirit of compromise is necessary...We're in a place where both sides have to sit down and think freshly about how we can come out with a result that serves Minnesota."
Former Republican Minnesota Sen. Steve Dille and former DFL Rep. and former Carlson finance commissioner Wayne Simoneau will chair the group, born of a Carlson idea and created with current DFL Gov. Mark Dayton's tacit blessing.
Former Wells Fargo CEO James Campbell, who endorsed Independence Party's Tom Horner in last year's gubernatorial election, and president of Affinity Capital Management B. Kris Johnson are also signed up to help. Former state finance commissioners John Gunyou and Jay Kiedrowski are also signed up to help. Former U.S. Sen. Dave Durenberger and former finance commission Pam Wheelock, who worked under Gov. Jesse Ventura, have also expressed support, Carlson said.
As word spread of the group, Republicans immediately discounted it on social media and voiced their long held concern that Carlson was no longer a Republican.
Asked about the criticism, Carlson said: "The good news from their perspective is that I will not sit on the commission."
The former governor said he hoped the group, which Dayton gave access to current finance commissioner Jim Schowalter, would reach its conclusions by the end of the week.
Republican legislative leaders and Dayton will soon be back at the negotiating table, trying to create their own solution. They plan to pick up the budget bargaining they dropped Thursday night, as the state started shutting down.