As a businessman and non-politician, I’d only heard stories about Star Tribune Editorial Board meetings until my recent visit. Given my philosophy of lower taxes, reduced spending, ending MNsure, eliminating teacher tenure, favoring buses over light rail, and calling on President Obama to not send unaccompanied illegal immigrant children to Minnesota, I was pretty sure I wasn’t likely to be endorsed (“Johnson is top pick in bid for governor,” Aug. 4).

My perspective on leading the state of Minnesota is very different from the Editorial Board’s and also differs in many respects from those of my three Republican competitors in the GOP primary. The board would continue many of Gov. Mark Dayton’s policies that I think are taking our state in the wrong direction and denying opportunity to thousands of Minnesotans. I won’t continue them.

Though my opponents differ philosophically from the Editorial Board, they seem to share the belief that a growing government taking more of our money and our opportunities is a fact of life.

Maybe because I don’t come from the political culture in St Paul, I see things very differently. When you’re the governor, when you’re a leader, your job is to figure out a way to get things done, not make excuses for why you can’t. Of course it’s not going to be easy to get our agenda passed; if it were easy, it wouldn’t matter who held the governor’s office.

Unlike my Republican opponents, I’m not going to give Sen. Tom Bakk or the Senate DFL veto power over our agenda. As I have throughout this campaign, I’m taking our case to the people so they know our agenda will make their lives better and help move this state forward.

Too many Republicans have nothing to offer other than the word “no.” I ’m strongly opposed to what Gov. Dayton and President Obama are doing, but that can’t be the end of the discussion. We need leaders who can explain how conservative principles will help all Minnesotans and who have a sense of urgency about the changes we need to make.

I owe it to the people of our state to present real solutions that will make their lives better: make it easier for them to find a job, keep more of what they earn, educate their kids, get quality health care, save for retirement, and the other important priorities in our lives.

I’ve offered a detailed set of policy proposals that will promote economic growth and job creation and another that will control spending and make government more accountable. With them, Minnesota will have a chance to reach its full potential.

I plan to work cooperatively with the Legislature to get this done. But if legislators say no to good ideas, if they get bogged down in the usual political games, I’ll subscribe to Ronald Reagan’s adage: “If they won’t see the light, make them feel the heat.”

When political insiders talk about being “realistic,” it’s code for “we just have to keep doing it the way we’ve always done it.” I completely reject that point of view. In politics as in business, it takes leadership to get results. Minnesota will have to beat the St. Paul insiders if we’re going to pass major tax reform, overhaul spending, or fix health care and education.

It doesn’t take much skill or leadership to jam through an agenda when you have big majorities. Barack Obama proved that. But having participated in more high-stakes negotiations than I can count, I’ll tell you that you don’t start a negotiation by throwing away key points and giving up important principles. You start from the best ground possible and work from there.

Our most effective leaders made the biggest and best changes when they marshaled the people behind them, helping prod reluctant Republicans and Democrats to do the right thing. That’s what I’ll do as governor, and I ask for your vote in the primary on Tuesday.


Scott Honour is an Orono businessman and Republican candidate for governor.