Minnesota shutdown update: Carlson, Mondale create centrist group, more critical services, protests


UPDATED 7/6/2011 — Some Minnesota Republican elder statesmen (think former Governor Arne Carlson, former Senator Dave Durenberger) have teamed up with former Vice-President Walter Mondale to work on resolving the budget impasse.Their team will include business leaders and former government officials, such as John Gunyou, who was finance commissioner under Carlson, and Jay Kiedrowski, who held the same post under Governor Rudy Perpich. (Video from The Uptake.)

In MinnPost, Doug Grow’s writes about the “all-star politicians” seeking a “third way” to end the shutdown. Co-chairs for the committee will be former DFL state Representative Wayne Simoneau and former Republican state Senator Steve Dille. 

Predictably, the current GOP leadership is unenthusiastic about the effort, with state Senator Geoff Michel quoted by the Washington Post as saying the group “was put together by the governor.” MPR notes that some Republican legislators appear to be hardening their positions, with GOP Rep. Doug Wardlow quoted as saying the time for compromise is over, and that, “there’s no compromise between right and wrong.” 

Over at Bluestem Prairie, Sally Jo Sorenson quotes a letter to the editor asking, “Whatever happened to the ‘good old’ Republicans?”

As an 83-year-old Democrat, I long for some of the past. I was active when the Republicans were conservative, but with a “social conscience.” …

These were “pre-Pawlenty” times when Minnesotans were proud to pay taxes to keep us at the top nationally in areas of health, education, “lifestyle” and a university and state colleges of stature.

Mondale and Carlson said that, having convened the committee, they will leave it to do its work, and will not participate in the process. The committee members are former legislators Steve Dille (GOP) and Wayne Simoneau (DFL), who will serve as cochairs; James Campbell, a former Wells Fargo exec, B. Kris Johnson, a former Medtronic vice president, and former finance commissioners John Gunyou  (Carlson administration) and Jay Kiedrowski (Perpich administration). 

And more shutdown news …

Governor Dayton returned to Judge Kathleen Gearin with a request for classification of more services as “critical,” which would allow them to continue during the shtudown. The additional services:

  • Special education aid.
  • Chemical dependency and mental health services.
  • HIV case management and counseling services.
  • Services for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and other crimes.
  • Child care assistance.
  • Services for the homeless, the disabled, and other vulnerable Minnesotans.

Meanwhile, protests continue, with the Minnesota Environmental Partnership announcing plans for a Capitol Campout and “Rally for Minnesota’s Parks and Great Outdoors” at the State Capitol on Saturday, July 9, and the Blue Green Alliance announcing that local labor, environmental and community leaders will gather Wednesday morning under the Lafayette Bridge in St. Paul to call for an end to the state government shutdown and for a budget that will create good jobs and position Minnesota’s economy to compete in the 21st century economy.

And Wednesday afternoon from 4:30-6:30 p.m., AFSCME and MAPE are sponsoring a “Downeyville” rally on the front steps of the State Capitol. According to their press release:

The laid-off workers will set up an unemployed town called “Downeyville,” named after the state representative from Edina who would wipe out the jobs of 5,000 state employees and eliminate the collective bargaining rights of all state employees and public school teachers in Minnesota.