Dayton stops in A.L. for candidates

Published 8:05 pm Monday, October 22, 2012

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

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton called on Albert Lea residents to end the gridlock in the state government Monday during a campaign stop at Prairie Wind Coffee downtown.

Gov. Mark Dayton answers questions from area residents during his visit to Albert Lea at Prairie Wind Coffee.

While stumping for fellow DFLers, incumbent District 27 Sen. Dan Sparks of Austin and 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.”

Gov. Mark Dayton talks with a local supporter during his visit to Albert Lea at Prairie Wind Coffee.

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 in his party 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.

Shannon Savick, DFL candidate for District 27A House of Representatives, speaks to local residents.

Savick said she is also running because she said 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.

She said it is these two reasons she decided to run for office, and she was pleased to have Dayton show his support.

“I’m honored to have the governor come out,” Savick said. “It was a real thrill.”

Gov. Mark Dayton greets a local resident during his visit to Albert Lea at Prairie Wind Coffee.

Blue Earth City Councilman John Huisman made the trip to Albert Lea to see the governor and to show his support for Savick, who before the redistricting, would have been running to represent Blue Earth.

During the brief question-and-answer session with Dayton, Huisman asked Dayton if he supported LGA.

Dayton said he believes in LGA and described it as “income sharing,” not state spending.

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.