Gov. Mark Dayton and Sen. Mike Parry, R-Waseca, are having another war of words.
This time, Dayton is taking issue with a fundraising letter that Parry sent out. Parry, who is running for Congress in Minnesota’s 1st District, says Dayton was engaged in political payback when he issued an executive order that allowed a vote for some in-home day care providers to join a union.
“It’s no secret that the labor unions helped buy the Governor’s Office for Mark Dayton,” Parry wrote in the fundraising letter. “In the past few months, he began to return the favor, most recently by trying to help unionize some of Minnesota’s in-home, private child care providers.”
Parry also called the measure a “backdoor-unionization attempt” and worked to tie 1st District DFL Rep. Tim Walz into the issue. Parry said Walz, his possible opponent for Congress, also wants to “expand union control.”
Dayton wasn’t happy with the fundraising letter.
“Sen. Parry, this email is inaccurate and deeply offensive,” Dayton wrote in an e-mail to Parry and Rep. Steve Drazkowski, R-Mazeppa. “This is the second time you have falsely accused me in writing of actions which, since untrue, wrongly malign my character and integrity.”
Dayton canceled his meeting with Parry and Drazkowski as a result of Parry’s fundraising letter and suggested he won’t be meeting with Parry in the future.
“I will not meet with you and provide further fodder for your political activities,” Dayton wrote. “If you have questions of me, submit them in writing, and I will respond in writing to them.”
Parry, who chairs the Senate State Government Innovation and Veterans Budget and Policy Committee, responded to Dayton by saying the two need to work together to put the state on a sustainable fiscal path. He suggested they meet for coffee in the coming weeks to “bury the hatchet.”
This isn’t the first time Dayton and Parry have clashed. The two had a deep disagreement over the impact of the GOP budget plan on the state’s Veterans programs.
I contacted the governor’s office to get more details on the letter and this morning’s meeting. I’ll post an update if/when I get one.
Update: Gov. Dayton sent a follow up letter to Parry defending his executive order. He also said Parry’s e-mail “slurs against my ethical conduct and my character.” The governor said Parry should provide proof that Dayton is “returning the favor” to labor unions or retract his statements.
Dayton also said he’s be willing to host a breakfast with Parry and Drazkowski on Dec. 14 or Dec. 15.