In the Minnesota House of Representatives on Friday, Representative Sertich and Speaker of the House Kelliher discussed the events of the week. It is always nice to hear the optimism of Kelliher and compare that to the frumpy attack machine that is Representative Seifert and the Republican Administration.

Of the items discussed, it seems fitting to note that without DFL leadership (and let us not forget the bravery of the "override six") we might not be on the fast track to a replacement bridge in St. Cloud. Something like 28 projects throughout the state have been bumped up in priority due in no small part to the Safe Roads and Bridges Improvement Act. Nobody likes road construction, but this summer and aftwards when all these projects are being undertaken throughout the state I would remind people that it was the DFL that kept our infrastructure intact and given that only 1,000 people showed up (who knows what percentage were M.O.B members) to scream into the wind about a nickel a gallon gas tax, it just might signal the death nail of the anti-progress forces in Minnesota.

Despite Republican portrayals of the DFL leadership feeling downtrodden about the line item vetoes, the leadership in this video looks far from downtrodden and rather than focus solely on the vetoes is able to tout the positive aspects of what remains. Optimism aside for a moment, Representative Sertich does provide Tim Pawlenty with a much needed smackdown for his "petty" cherrypicking of projects almost solely in Democratic districts.

When the conference turns to the Central Corridor and the veto by the Governor, Representative Kelliher brings up a good point as even people normally on Pawlenty's side have come out to express their disappointment. Chief among them is Senator Norm Coleman:

"I believe it's important," Coleman said on a conference call with reporters Thursday. "I will raise my voice as strong as I can, as loud as I can. The federal commitment is there."

This week, Pawlenty stripped $70 million out of a bonding bill for the light rail project, known as Central Corridor. It was one of 52 items Pawlenty struck from a $925 million borrowing plan that he said was too large.

"I've had this vision for 20 years of this connecting link between our twin cities," said Coleman, a former St. Paul mayor.

When asked about a second bonding bill and the Central Corridor, Representative Sertich makes another excellent point by reminding people that Pawlenty was "for the project before he was against it". Perhaps Mr. Pawlenty forgot bringing his neat little powerpoint to St. Cloud in order to highlight his spending projects. Just in case he has, I provide here a snapshot of the slide on Transportation. At this point, it would not be lying to say that Pawlenty is a flip flopper.

Oh, and on a side note to those howling about funding for the Como Zoo I would remind you that Mr. Pawlenty had a zoo of his own when he came to St. Cloud. He intended to provide over $7 million dollars to the Minnesota Zoo which, unlike the Como Zoo, charges admission prices. I would posit that a for profit zoo is far less deserving of bonding money than one geared towards those who cannot afford the admission.

Kelliher continues the conference by displaying the kind of willingness to work together on the budget that Minnesotans should be proud to have in the legislature. She even goes as far as to say that the House of Representatives is willing to move off the budget bill in order to come together. Although Kelliher stands firm on using the Health Care Access Fund to balance the budget, she also indicates that there are many areas in which she is ready to work with the Governor. No word yet on the willingness of the minority to work with the majority.

It is nice to see a legislature moving swiftly through its work after several years in which we have seen little more than the politics of obstruction by the Republican Party. Only time will tell if the forces of obstruction will find a way to destroy the progress that has been made.


1 Response to "DFL Press Conference: Week Of April 7th"

  1. Gary Gross On April 14, 2008 at 10:58 PM

    Of the items discussed, it seems fitting to note that without DFL leadership (and let us not forget the bravery of the "override six") we might not be on the fast track to a replacement bridge in St. Cloud.

    I was at the announcement last Thursday. Based on what Commissioner McFarlin told me, I'm of the opinion that we would've had the bridge replaced regardless of whether the Transportation Bill passed or not. Highway 23 is too important to St. Cloud's economy & building the bridge now keeps other transportation projects on schedule.