Where’s the governor?

The DFL leaders at the Minnesota Legislature are scheduled to be on Midday today. House Speaker Margaret Kelliher and Senate Majority Leader Larry Pogemiller will discuss the upcoming session as well as the unallotment case.

A third member of the process is missing, however. Gov. Tim Pawlenty is not appearing on the program.

That set off this message on Twitter from Rep. Laura Brod.


As I’ve pointed out here several times, however, the story is in the details where Pawlenty’s involvement with MPR is concerned. Both Gov. Arne Carlson and Gov. Jesse Ventura made it a point to appear once a month with Gary Eichten on Miday. Ventura, you may recall, made his announcement that he would not run for governor again on Gary’s show, mostly because — he said at the time — that he realized how fair Eichten had been during his term, his preconceptions notwithstanding.

Pawlenty isn’t in a position to make that discovery. He hasn’t been on Minnesota Public Radio to take questions from the audience since last April, and his handlers have rejected regular requests for his time since.

Here’s his last appearance.

He also appeared on Midday several months earlier, just before he was to announce his budget. Some of the callers were pretty supportive of the gov.

But at the traditional live Midday broadcast from the Capitol on the first day of the session, Pawlenty did not appear. Governors traditionally have

The program did run a speech that Pawlenty gave to Republicans last summer. That prompted cries that Midday was favoring Pawlenty.

I’ve sent an e-mail to Brian McClung, the governor’s staffer who subs for Pawlenty on several interview shows, for his take on the situation.

Update 12:23 p.m. Here’s the response from Mr. McClung:

Governor Pawlenty has appeared on Minnesota Public Radio several times during the past seven years and previously as a legislator. As you can imagine, our office receives many interview requests that we are not able to accept. The Governor continues to be frequently interviewed by MPR reporters.


11:15 a.m. – Both Kelliher and Pogemiller dismiss the idea of a special session to deal with delayed payments to schools. Pogemiller says if the state were to delay payments, he sees nothing coming in the future that would allow the state to catch up on the payments. “Even under the best scenario, it might take us 6, to 8, to 10 years to pay this back,” Kelliher said.

11:18 a.m. – Pogemiller says the state is coming out of recession earlier than the rest of the nation and the Legislature should “reformulate our entire job creation strategy that has not been working well in the last 5, 7, 8 years.” He didn’t say what the strategy should entail.

11:20 a.m. – What about extending the sales tax to food and clothing? . “It’s not where we’re going to start,” Pogemiller said. He indicated he’d start with spending cuts. Kelliher says she’s not a fan of extending the sales tax but thinks the liquor tax should be increased.

11:25 a.m. – Nothing has changed at the Capitol since last year, Eichten notes. Won’t you end up in the same place this spring as last spring? Kelliher says lawmakers of both parties don’t like to see what’s happening. “We know we have to come together and work is being done bipartisanly on creating jobs, basic health care. We are going to work our hardest to both do what Sen. Pogemiller is talking about….”

11:27 a.m. – Pogemiller says he intends to ask Gov. Pawlenty to give a budget address to the Legislature.

11:29 a.m. – Pogemiller: We have an $8.3 billion problem in the state. You can’t just manage that; you have to make tough decisions. The three plan to meet with the governor “some time this week.”

Eichten: “We’ve invited the governor to come by, but so far no luck on that front.”

11:34 a.m. – Should there be a tax increase? “The ‘no-no-no’ part sounds like what I’ve been hearing out of the minority caucus… I hope the minority caucus is not taking a page out of the national playbook (of obstructionism).”

11:41 a.m. – On governor’s plan for a constitutional amendment to limit spending. Pogemiller: “It has been tried…in Colorado and they suspended it after awhile… Gov. Pawlenty has never submitted a budget that would accomplish what he’s proposing.”

Kelliher: “Our constitution already requires us not to spend money we don’t have.”

11:48 a.m. Eichten: Can you give us one area where the state might’ve spent money but now we can’t afford it anymore?

Kelliher: Confirmation authority is “a little out of whack” with other organizations.

Pogemiller: “We’re talking about the professionalization of departments. There’s been an overpoliticization of the agencies.”

11:55 a.m. – Will money be used for a Vikings stadium? Kelliher: “There’s no plan out there that does that; It’s very hard to justify public dollars at this point. Can we attract more private dollars. I’d like to see the Vikings stay, but when you look at what we’ve been talking about, it’s a difficulut sell.”

Pogemiller: “Without the governor leading and dragging the Legislature to a solution, I don’t see it happening.”

  • John O.

    You would think that a pol like Rep. Brod would ask the media services staff to find out if the Gov. was invited before posting a tweet like that. If he wasn’t invited, then her comment is relevant. If he was invited, but turned it down, c’est la vie.

  • BJ

    Agree with John O. – What Kind of person fires off something on the forever out in the public interwebs without knowing the facts is just lining up for a fall.

    The interwebs have been great at weeding out some stupid politicans.

    Not all, just some.

  • kennedy

    Inviting the leaders of the house and senate is appropriate, as is inviting the governor.

    I guess running a national campaing at the cost of publicizing local issues is the ongoing tradeoff being made.

    In case one cannot make an appearance, is it a viable option to offer a substitute? For instance, could Molnau substitue for Pawlenty? It would be nice to hear some objectives from the governor’s office.

  • Rod

    Governor Tim and the Laura Brods of the

    world are leading this state down the road to

    the sorry collapse of government revealed

    in present day California.

    Protect the rich from taxes while posing as a populist.

  • Jamie

    “Protect the rich from taxes while posing as a populist.”

    Well Said, Rod. And not only do they protect the rich from paying their fair share of taxes, they protect many of their friends from having to face the current job market. There are a surprising number of political appointees and other Pawlenty cronies in highly paid state jobs. State agencies are really top-heavy with crony weight (and others).

    We could save millions of dollars by eliminating a lot of those unnecessary jobs. But when there are layoffs, only the bottom parts of the totem pole are affected, leaving each person in a lower-level job to do the work of two or three people. Meanwhile, the cronies are making upwards of $100,000 a year and twiddling their thumbs or doing political work in their cushy, leather-trimmed upstairs offices.