In a speech to a high school class, Speaker of the Minnesota House of Representatives Kurt Daudt (R-Crown) provided candid comments about his role in negotiating a compromise between Governor Mark Dayton and Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk (DFL-Cook) over pay raises for Dayton's commissioners.
In 2013, the DFL-controlled legislature granted governors the authority to set the salaries of their commissioners. Daudt's comments offer an insight into the decisions he made in working to re-establishing the Minnesota Legislature's oversight role in establishing pay increases for commissioners
In his remarks to the class in May, Daudt explained how the inter-party fight which erupted in February between Dayton and Bakk was a benefit to him politically. Daudt also described the political calculations he made in brokering the resolution.
Yesterday, Dayton reignited the political fight when he announced he would be reinstating the pay increases he originally had granted to his commissioners in February. Dayton described the Republican complaints about his decision "beyond the theater of the absurd."
The full video of Daudt was posted online to a YouTube account assigned to Saint Francis High School. The video above is Daudt's comments about the pay increase issue. Staff for the Minnesota House of Representatives confirmed today Daudt spoke to the class on May 22, just days after the end of the legislative session.
In response to a question while speaking to the class, Daudt said he believed Dayton would increase the salaries of commissioners. Daudt predicted the aftermath of Dayton's decision, saying "we'll have another two weeks of stories about how horrible that is and it will be very good for me politically." Daudt then jokingly adds, "which was I did it."
In his speech to the class, Daudt said he worked on the compromise because it was "the right thing to do" and the outcome was "the best deal" he could negotiate with Dayton.
Daudt told the class there was "almost no way" he could lose in the fight between Dayton and Bakk. Daudt, who said every option for addressing the issue for him "was a win" politically, said yesterday that Republicans would use the issue of the pay increases during the 2016 legislative elections.