By Ken Martin, chairman, Minnesota DFL
For most people, Minnesota is known for its 10,000 lakes, cold weather and amazing natural resources like the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. For those in political circles, Minnesota is also known as the only state with a Democratic-Farmer-Labor (DFL) Party. Our unique political party was the result of a merger between the Minnesota Democratic Party and the Farmer-Labor Party 70 Years ago. This year as we celebrate our 70th anniversary it is important to reflect on how the DFL has helped build a better Minnesota for all of its citizens.
The DFL has stood the test of time because it has stayed true to the principals on which it was founded – fairness and opportunity for all. The DFL believes that we’re greater together than we are on our own—that this state succeeds when every Minnesotan gets a fair shot, does their fair share, and plays by the same rules. As the DFL moves into its 70th year, our DFL leaders remain committed to these principles that have made our state a success story.
Countless DFL leaders over the years have put Minnesota on the map as the shining star of the north from Former Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey, a crusader for social welfare and civil rights, to former Vice President Walter Mondale, chief sponsor of the federal Fair Housing Act, and former Sen. Paul Wellstone, who taught us that, “We all do better when we all do better.” Minnesota has found success in helping those in the shadows of life as well as creating a state where corporations known throughout the world thrive.
The DFL believes that every Minnesotan, regardless of their background or other immutable traits, has a right to stable employment with fair wages, to a proper education, to raise and provide for a family, to accessible and affordable healthcare, to live in safe communities, and to retire with dignity and security. In the course of our Party’s history much has been accomplished and we at the DFL Party will continue working for a better Minnesota and nation into tomorrow and beyond.
It is these core values and principles which continue to grow and expand our party particularly with new voters. During the 2013 precinct caucuses we saw an amazing number of new people come into the political process. Thanks to their hard work and determination, voters in the Twin Cities elected young, energetic leaders from the Somali, Latino and Hmong communities to elected office, and in Minneapolis they elected the second female mayor in city history – all of these new electeds are members of the Minnesota DFL. New Americans and young people see that the DFL Party offers a space for their voice to be heard and their hopes for fairness and opportunity for all to take shape.
To this day, the DFL has continued to deliver on its values. After 10 years of disinvestment by Republicans, Gov. Mark Dayton promised to Build a Better Minnesota and with the support of the DFL-led Minnesota House of Representatives and Minnesota Senate, that’s what he did. The DFL paid back the $2.8 billion Republicans borrowed from schools, and they provided free all-day kindergarten for all students and increased school funding. Middle class families benefited from DFL legislative majorities through a college tuition freeze, property tax relief and a fairer tax system. There are more jobs in Minnesota than when Gov. Dayton took office and for the first time in 15 years, the state has a budget surplus. And now, Minnesota is noted as having the fifth fastest growing state economy is the U.S.
The DFL Party is at one of its strongest positions ever, both financially and as a statewide grassroots organization. While DFL leaders have made substantive progress for our state, there is more work to be done. With 70 years of history behind us, through the lens of fairness and opportunity for all, the DFL Party will continue to be the Party that moves Minnesota forward.