Editorial: Despite health, Dayton will do what’s best

Published 9:00 am Sunday, January 29, 2017

Gov. Mark Dayton has prostate cancer but expects to serve out his term.

Dayton’s health issues have been many, varied and no secret. The governor has had two spinal surgeries and a torn muscle in his hip during his term in office. He is a recovering alcoholic and been treated for depression in the past. And his fainting spell Monday night as he delivered his State of the State address to the Legislature was his second such in public in little more than a year.

Still, the collapse during such a high-profile event was a shock to many Minnesotans. So too the governor’s announcement on Tuesday that he had been diagnosed a week ago today with prostate cancer.

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Dayton, who turned 70 on Thursday, is to meet with doctors at the Mayo Clinic next week to determine his treatment options. We are confident that all Minnesotans, whatever their political affiliations, wish him the best.

We are also confident that his cancer will not force Dayton to abandon his post. Two other current governors — Tom Wolf of Pennsylvania and Bill Walker of Alaska — were diagnosed with prostate cancer last year. Another governor, Larry Hogan of Maryland, has been treated for stage 3 non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma; his cancer is in remission. All three continue to serve. There is plenty of precedent for Dayton to be treated for his ailment and still do the job of governor, and that, he said this week, is his intent.

And if our optimism about Dayton’s prognosis is unwarranted — if the cancer or the treatment proves too debilitating for him to do his job adequately — we are also confident he will do what is best for the state he has served so long in so many posts. We don’t expect it to come to that.

— Mankato Free Press, Jan. 27

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