5:00 PM | Posted in
As the end of the legislative session is upon us (count them two years in a row that the legislature ended on time) and Gary Gross desperately tries to spin this session as a loss for Democrats and a win for Republicans, I offer a different viewpoint. There is much to herald in this session for both sides of the aisle. Being a liberal and a Democrat, I would have liked to see more in terms of real health care reform but living under a divided government means that we don't always get what we want. Is that a bad thing? Probably not, it simply means that we have to do more to convince people that single payer health care can work and is necessary to keep our state and country moving forward.

So, the highlights from the session?

1. The Transportation Bill: We can finally begin the process of keeping our infrastructure strong by funding it responsibly. Without the help of this obstructionist Governor, the legislature was able to keep projects such as the DeSoto Bridge at the forefront rather than scrambling to find the cash with which to replace it.

2. Bipartisanship: This is a necessary part of governance. Democrats do not hold a veto proof majority in both houses of the legislature and do not control the Governor's office. Thus, bipartisanship is a significant key to success. While some may feel as though Democratic bipartisanship was brought about by purely Republican efforts I take a far less cynical view. Democrats certainly had the ability to give Republicans nothing and take a message of obstructionism into an election that already looks grim for Republicans. Could it be that Democrats were bipartisan because they wanted to accomplish things even if some of those things would make Republicans look good come November? I would like to believe that is true. Also, one has to wonder how much bipartisanship the minority truly wanted when their leader equates Democrats to an evil empire and himself to Luke Skywalker. Unfortunately, the bipartisanship that the Republican Party appears to prefer is complete acquiescence to their agenda.

3. Health Care: Did I get everything I would like? No, and I rarely expect to get everything. What we did get will allow upwards of 12,000 more people with affordable health care. This brings us ever closer to universal coverage which should be the goal of every politician be they Republican or Democrat.

4. Money for Education: A per pupil increase of $51 doesn't seem like a lot of money but with the increasing demands of educating our children every little bit helps insure that we have a strong public education system.

All in all I would say that the session offered something for all sides to point to as a victory. That is precisely what a representative government should be about.

Cross Posted on St. Cloud Times