Dayton stumps for DFLers in AL

Published 10:28 am Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Gov. Mark Dayton talks with a local supporter during his visit to Albert Lea at Prairie Wind Coffee. — Danielle Boss/Albert Lea Tribune

ALBERT LEA — Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton called on Albert Lea residents Monday to help end the gridlock in the state government.

While stumping at Prairie Wind Coffee downtown for fellow DFLers incumbent District 27 Sen. Dan Sparks of Austin and Representative District 27A candidate Shannon Savick of Wells, the governor said there needs to be a cooperative Legislature to move the state forward.

“The only way to get that accomplished is to have a DFL Legislature and a DFL governor,” he said to a crowd of about 35 people.

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In his 37 years in public office — including time as a U.S. Senator — the last two years have been his most challenging at getting work accomplished, he said. He described the freshman legislators as “right-wing extremists” not willing to compromise.

“It’s their way or no way,” Dayton said. “You can’t govern like that.”

He also talked of concerns about local government aid, the market value homestead credit, property taxes and challenges facing schools.

“There’s so much at stake in this election,” he said.

Though he is not on the ballot himself, he said he is making it a priority to show his support for others who are.

In Albert Lea that means Savick, who faces incumbent Rep. Rich Murray, R-Albert Lea, and Sparks, who faces candidate Linden Anderson, R-Waltham.

Savick, the former mayor of Wells, said she knows what it is like to have to worry about local government aid cuts. When she was mayor, the state cut $254,000 out of the city’s $2 million budget.

She said to make up for the cut, which came in the middle of the year, the Wells City Council took a cut to their wages, staff conducted energy audits on the city’s buildings, the city refinanced its bonds and staff even lowered the temperature in the pool.

Savick said she is also running because the state needs to take advantage of the “IT revolution,” and invest in education, rather than borrow from it.

As a former employee of a high-technology company, she said she knows these companies need people with skills.

The governor shook hands with people in attendance, posed for some photos and even gave a few autographs.

Prior to his stop in Albert Lea, he made similar stops in Northfield and Owatonna.