Outside a shuttered State Capitol, hundreds of state employees and their supporters held a night time rally Thursday as a government shutdown in Minnesota seemed almost inevitable.
Some held signs that read “Tax The Richest 2%”. A group sang “This Land Is Your Land”, and one person held an American flag. Another held a sign that said, “Republicans Have Failed”.
As the rally began, Sen. Julianne Ortman, R-Chanhassen, the Senate Taxes Committee chair, eyed the protesters as she quietly walked to her car.
“Tonight, we are filled with sadness and anxiety [as] we mourn the loss of public service,” said Eliot Seide, executive director of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 5, the state’s largest public employee union.
“We are saddened that the Republican legislature would dispose of us like yesterday’s garbage,” said Seide, speaking on the State Capitol steps, and referring to the state employees who would lose their jobs during a shutdown.
As Seide spoke, a heckler yelled that both Republicans and DFLers were responsible for the shutdown. And although they were outnumbered, a few protesters stood nearby, with one holding a sign that read, “Liberalism 101: Tax, Tax, Tax, Spend, Spend, Spend.”
After briefing reporters inside the State Capitol, and all but acknowledging that the shutdown was inevitable, Senate Minority Leader Tom Bakk and House Minority Paul Thissen joined the rally. The two DFL leaders were joined by several other DFL legislators at the rally.
“We Want To Work!” the crowd chanted.
More from Star Tribune
More From Hot Dish Politics
VP Joe Biden to visit Duluth Friday
Gov. Mark Dayton on Monday formalized his request that legislative leaders move quickly in presenting him a plan to address rising premiums in the individual health insurance market.
President Obama throws support behind Angie Craig
Rep. Roz Peterson, R-Lakeville, said at a Monday news conference that a constituent had contacted her after receiving a voter registration form from MNsure, the state-run health insurance exchange, even though the person in question is already registered to vote and does not purchase health insurance through MNsure.
Bradley Sanford, a Republican candidate for the Senate in the northwest suburbs, declared personal bankruptcy in 2014, federal filings show.