OPINION | The choice for governor is clear


Minnesotans go to the polls November 2 to elect a new governor and the choice couldn’t be more clear: Mark Dayton is on the side of working families and the middle class. Tom Emmer and Tom Horner are not on our side.

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Since the August primary, the endorsed candidates of the Minnesota’s three major parties have criss-crossed the state campaigning and debating. I doubt if any campaign for governor has featured so many debates.

Here’s what we know about the candidates and their positions on the issues that matter to working Minnesotans.

Tom Emmer, endorsed by the Republican Party, is a true extremist. In his six years in the Minnesota House, he has earned a voting record of only one percent on working family issues tracked by the Minnesota AFL-CIO. That’s quite an accomplishment. Emmer has voted against education, against transportation, against jobs. In fact, during his six years in the legislature, he has voted against every bonding bill – opposing job creation and investments in the state’s infrastructure.

Tom Horner, endorsed by the Independence Party, is in many ways taking positions just as extreme as Republican Tom Emmer. A long-time Republican, Horner is a recent convert to the Independence Party. Horner has proposed expanding Minnesota’s sales tax to cover clothing and personal services. His sales tax proposals would increase taxes on working families. In sharp contrast, Horner has proposed eliminating Minnesota’s corporate income tax.

That’s no surprise. For years, Horner carried water for Minnesota’s biggest corporations as a public relations consultant. In fact, during the recent nurses’ strike, Horner continued consulting for the hospitals’ management even after abandoning all his other corporate clients.

Horner made his anti-union views crystal clear when he participated in a June 16 candidate screening with the Minnesota AFL-CIO. I listened incredulously as Horner flat-out said he did not support collective bargaining. Horner also said he did not support prevailing wage – longtime policies that ensure government retains high-quality construction contractors who pay decent wages.

Mark Dayton, endorsed by the DFL Party and the Minnesota AFL-CIO, is the one candidate whose lifetime of public service shows his commitment to making Minnesota a better place for working families. Dayton led the state’s economic development efforts as a commissioner for the last jobs governor,  Rudy Perpich. As U.S. Senator, Dayton earned a 99 percent voting record on working family issues tracked by the national AFL-CIO. As governor, Dayton will grow jobs by supporting a
$1 billion jobs bill and investing in infrastructure, clean energy, and education.

In Mark Dayton, we will have a governor who will be on our side and put Minnesotans back to work.