Does Minnesota need a lieutenant governor?

  • Updated: January 12, 2014 - 6:00 PM

Prettner Solon created meaningful role, but other states are getting by without No. 2.

STATE’S NO. 2 JOB

Do we need a lieutenant governor?

Not every lieutenant governor is an Yvonne Prettner Solon. Despite having no budget, no statutory or constitutional job description and few specified duties beyond being ready to take over for Gov. Mark Dayton should he unexpectedly die or suddenly resign, Prettner Solon forged a significant role for herself and the office she held over the past three years. (She said last week that she won’t seek a second term.) She made sure she and the position mattered and was making a difference.

But at some point Minnesotans will pay — and maybe already have paid — nearly $80,000 a year for someone in the second-in-command spot who did the bare minimum, and who certainly didn’t do enough to earn taxpayers’ dollars.

Prettner Solon, like a few others before her, expressed frustration at not being tapped by her boss to play a more significant role. And she advocated for significant and specific lieutenant governor duties. State leaders can give that some thought and some serious deliberation.

But at the same time they can debate whether Minnesota needs a lieutenant governor anymore. Perhaps Prettner Solon should be the last one. The position can go out on a high note.

FROM AN EDITORIAL IN THE DULUTH NEWS TRIBUNE

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