Dayton on marathon, MNsure, mass shootings

Gov. Mark Dayton spoke to reporters on Friday, Oct. 2, after a meeting of the state Land Exchange Board. Tim Pugmire | MPR News

DFL Gov. Mark Dayton says the decision by Black Lives Matter St. Paul leaders to stay off the Twin Cities Marathon course is a “great relief.”

Dayton thanked the group Friday for agreeing to hold a protest Sunday near the race finish line and to not interfere with runners. He also commended St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman, who met privately with the group leaders Thursday.

Dayton told reporters that he respects the right of Black Lives Matter to express its views in a way that respects the marathon.

“I believe strongly that black lives matter, and I have throughout my career seen firsthand the injustice and the racism and the discrimination that they’re protesting,” Dayton said. “So, I think it’s a good solution.”

Dayton doesn’t like the solution that House Speaker Kurt Daudt and Republicans are proposing as a way lower health insurance costs. They want to abolish the state health insurance exchange MNsure and move to the federal exchange instead.

Dayton said the big premium increases for individual coverage announced this week would have been the same with or without MNsure.

“To blame MNsure for the rates that the health insurance companies are setting is just wrong,” he said. “Those rates exist independent of MNsure.”

On guns, Dayton says he’s not convinced that changes in state or federal laws would prevent the kind of mass shooting that took place at an Oregon community college Thursday.

Dayton said the campus shooting that left at least nine people dead and seven wounded was an example of “true insanity.” But he said he doesn’t think additional laws would stop “a maniac” from getting a gun, legally or illegally.

Dayton said President Obama’s call for tighter gun controls in the wake of the shooting lacked specifics.

“What is the remedy? I think that the president, with all due respect, needs to say what is the remedy that would prevent this from happening again. If he identifies that, then he ought to advance that as a national solution,” Dayton said.

Dayton said he still supports tighter background checks for gun show purchases. But he said Minnesota lawmakers are unlikely to pass any additional gun restrictions.

  • Fred

    It’s wrong to blame the health insurance companies for expensive premiums is wrong as well, Gov. Dayton. Do you expect them to operate at a loss?