Last night, Governor Tim Walz (DFL-MN) returned to the House Legislative Chamber to deliver his State of the State address. It was clear from the tenor of the speech, the highlights of accomplishments were far greater with DFL control of the governorship and the legislature, it is far easier to rattle off a list of accomplishments compared to what occurs in a divided government.
At the time of his speech, the governor has signed 26 bills into law.
ICYMI, the Governor’s Speech starts at 17:47 and runs 49 minutes https://www.house.mn.gov/hjvid/93/896820
The majority response from House Speaker Melissa Hortman (DFL-34B, Brooklyn Park), Senate President Bobby Joe Champion (DFL-59, Minneapolis), and House Majority Leader Jamie Long (DFL-61B, Minneapolis), runs 16 minutes https://www.house.mn.gov/hjvid/93/896851
The minority response from House Minority Leader Rep Lisa Demuth (R-13A, Cold Spring) and Senate Minority Leader Mark Johnson (R-01, East Grand Forks), runs 16 minutes https://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/hjvid/93/896852
Walz presented a veritable checklist of wins and made many victory laps with his rhetoric putting on verbal display what a unified government can achieve. He opened with a hat tip to the Minnesota Miracle, though he did not mention former Governor Wendell Anderson (DFL-MN) by name. Once again, stated his goal for our state to be the best in the nation to raise a child. Each successfully passed legislative piece was tied to how this makes Minnesota a better state and in comparison, to others, top of the heap. This is not a traditional Minnesota approach of understatement, coupled with self-satisfying confidence.
As he stated what was attained, included cutting taxes by $100 million, unlocking millions in infrastructure dollars to rebuild and repair our roads and bridges, passing financial assistance for housing and emergency funding for food shelves, assistance for workers on the Iron Range, establishing a carbon-free energy standard, and free school breakfast and lunch for every child in Minnesota.
As he said, “Our strength comes from our values. The forces of hatred and bigotry are on the march in states across this country and across the world. But let me be really clear about this, that stops at Minnesota’s border.
“I’m going to do something a little unMinnesotan, and I am going to talk about what we are really talking about now. I have seen some of my fellow governors on TV, they find a lot of time to be on TV, and I hear them talking about ‘freedom,’ Yeah, but it turns out what they really mean is that government should be free to invade your bedroom, your children’s locker room, and your doctor’s office. Here in Minnesota, when we talk about freedom, we talk about our children being free to go to school without worrying about being shot dead in their schools.”
In a direct shot at Governor Ron DeSantis (R-FL) Walz said, “Look, I am only the governor of this great state, it’s not up to me how folks in those places, folks like Florida go about their business, but I have to tell you I am pretty glad we do it our way and not that way. If you need any examples, “They’re banning books in their schools; we’re banishing hunger from ours. They look at their most vulnerable people and they see scapegoats. We look at our most vulnerable people and see neighbors and that’s why we’re giving undocumented Minnesotan’s drivers licenses to live their lives with dignity. They see people trying to vote as a threat to their power, we see it as a source of pride, and that is why we restored the vote to 55,000 of our citizens. I don’t know why, but apparently, they’re afraid of facing up to this great nation’s entire history, and maybe here in Minnesota we’re just made up of stronger stuff, and that’s why we are recognizing Juneteenth as a state holiday, this year in the state of Minnesota. Some of these folks want to put bullies in charge of your health care. We’d want to put you in charge of your health care and put bullies in their place and that is why we protected access to gender-affirming care and the ironclad right to reproductive freedom.
Look, I get it, I get it, politicians want to be seen as fighters. What they don’t seem to understand is it’s not enough to be a fighter, you got to choose the right fights. And if there’s one thing, I hope folks across this country and take away from what you are doing here in Minnesota, is this. It’s amazing what you can accomplish when you stop complaining about corporations going ‘woke’ and start giving a damn about real people and real lives. It’s not that hard.”
When looking at the variety of successes and a little more than 30 days until the end of the first year of the biennium, we anticipate there is much more to follow.