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Dayton, Pawlenty meet the press -- after meeting each other

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  • December 9, 2010 - 4:04 PM

 The outgoing governor and the incoming one stood together Thursday afternoon during a joint news conference.

Following a private meeting, Gov. Tim Pawlenty and Gov.-elect Mark Dayton took questions from reporters jammed into the Governor's Reception Room at the State Capitol.

 Standing side by side, the men praised each other and the election process that finally wrapped up Wednesday with the concession of GOP Rep. Tom Emmer.

"The peaceful transition of democracy is a bearutiful thing," Pawlenty said.

"This is what democracy is all about," Dayton said.

Pawlenty called the joint session a "ceremonial passing of the torch."

He said Dayton faces "a tremendous opportunity and a tremendous challenge" and pledged his adminstration's full support for Dayton's transition team. "I know he's up to the task," he said.

Dayton announced that he's going to retain Tom Sorel as head of the state transportation department. Pawlenty appointed Sorel to that post in 2008. He said he moved quickly to keep Sorel on board because Sorel was considering another job offer.

As for other pending appointments, "anyone in Minnesota is invited to apply," Dayton said.

As for whether he's considering keeping on other Pawlenty appointees, Dayton said, "I haven't considered it, I haven't thought about it." 

He said he will name a chief of staff possibly as soon as Friday.

Dayton, who already has conferred with former Govs. Al Quie and Arne Carlson, said he still hopes to speak with former Govs. Wendell Anderson and Jesse Ventura.

Despite the state's massive financial woes, Dayton said he'll aaggressively push to develop high-speed rail in Minnesota, saying "this country faces challenges to make those investments in infrastructure" akin to the building of the interstate highway system a half-century ago.

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