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
Minnesota senators sharply questioned federal appeals court judge Neil Gorsuch during Wednesday's Supreme Court confirmation hearings, grilling him on whether he'd be protect the interests of ordinary people over corporations.
Budget targets released Monday include $1.35 billion in tax cuts or credits.
Other business groups like realtors, electric utility Xcel Energy Services, private colleges, tobacco giant Altria, Polymet Mining, health insurers and hospitals contributed to the overall total of $57.7 million to lobby the Legislature, the administration of Gov. Mark Dayton and Metro municipal governments.
Black community leaders and activists are lobbying legislators on a range of bills related to education, jobs and urban agriculture.
Gov. Mark Dayton joined other prominent Minnesotans in filling out a March Madness basketball bracket.