By Ken Martin, chairman, Minnesota DFL
There is an old saying that a hypocrite is someone who conveniently forgets their faults to point out someone else’s. Republican Minority Leader Sen. David Hann’s editorial last week exposed his blind spot when it comes to the behaviors of his own GOP Senators.
If Sen. Hann believes it necessary to review the actions of parties and individuals when discussing legislative matters then it is just as fair to review the record of the Republicans in Minnesota:
- This past year, Republican Sen. Sean Nienow defaulted on a $613,000 federal government loan and was relieved of $840,000 of debt by the taxpayers when he filed for bankruptcy. Ironically—at the same time—the senator from Cambridge was attacking government for spending too much money and not living within its means.
- The Republican Party of Minnesota is now in a public spat with some of its vendors, as detailed by a Star Tribune article, for not paying its bills from the 2014 campaign. This is a party that is still over $1,500,000 in debt—but just this week announced a $150,000 advertising campaign telling legislators how to do their job. So much for the party of fiscal responsibility.
- In 2012 Senate Republican members were fined for printing campaign literature at taxpayer expense when they used the State Capitol Printing Presses for their campaign literature. Later that year they were video recorded running campaign door knocks out of their taxpayer funded state senate office—during the workday.
- The Senate Republican sex scandal of 2012, which ousted the sitting majority leader, eventually cost the taxpayers of Minnesota $400,000.
- Republicans have so little regard for fundamental fairness, they’ve even tried to buy votes for endorsement. In a Star Tribune story from December, 2014 Sen. Julianne Ortman of Chanhassen, while seeking higher office, was caught trying to buy the support of challengers.
In his attempt to keep the light off of Republican legislators’ misdeeds and his party’s fiscal mismanagement, Sen. Hann is also hoping to draw attention away from the fact that Republicans lack a plan for economic prosperity. The public would benefit more from hearing the Senate minority leader’s plans to provide an educated workforce for the jobs employers need filled and to keep the state’s budget structurally sound to ensure the state continues to lead the nation in economic growth?
While Republican leaders struggle to convince Minnesotans they can give back the budget surplus, provide schools and nursing homes more money and that fixing our deteriorating roads and bridges isn’t necessary, the DFL will continue its work to build even better Minnesota. Minnesota is leading the country in economic growth, and we have more people working at higher wages than any other time in state history.
Thanks to DFL leaders’ honest state budget, we’ve moved from reacting to budget deficits to being able to lay the foundation for continued economic growth by investing a budget surplus. The DFL’s work this session will build on last session’s successes for children and families, including:
- Passing universal voluntary all-day kindergarten for all children regardless of family income, saving families an average of $2,500 a year.
- Raising the minimum wage to $9.50 an hour for the first time in nine years, giving more than 325,000 Minnesotans an increase.
- Halting tuition hikes at the U of M and MnSCU schools by freezing tuition for more than 100,000 students.
It is disappointing that Sen. Hann and other Republicans don’t understand when campaigning ends and governing begins. Sen. Hann tries really hard to make this leap but he should not get away with ignoring the facts of the accusations or neglect his own Party’s actions.
Voters can count on hearing Sen. Hann’s battle cry of corruption for the next 20 months. Luckily for Minnesota on Election Day, citizens will have the final say and will determine if an improved economy, investments in education and safe and efficient roads for all are more important than the destructive rhetoric of politicians like Sen. Hann.