Sen. Mark Dayton once gave himself a failing grade for his time in Washington. He’d spent millions of his own fortune to get elected but left after one term, frustrated by his inability to get things done, writes MPR News reporter Mark Zdechlik.
It’s an altogether different story for Gov. Mark Dayton. He’s found the job he wants.
He’s already made big changes as governor, most notably turning his predecessor’s staunch opposition to tax increases on end. He intends to seek a second term next year and some analysts say the battles he’s fought and won in his first three years have him well-positioned to win in 2014.
Health problems — he had back surgery last year and tore a hip muscle in the summer — have slowed him a bit, leading some observers to suggest his health may still lead him against running again. But in an extended interview with MPR News, Dayton insisted he is seeking re-election.
And though he’s proud of his efforts to raise taxes to pay for state programs, he suggested he’s open to cutting income taxes across the board if Minnesota’s finances continue to improve.
“I am who I am. I am 66 years old,” he said. “But I think with age comes a lot of experience and wisdom that I hope people will decide has held the state in good stead.”
Elected by a slim margin in 2010, Dayton got off to a rough start. Halfway into his first year, a showdown with the Republican-controlled Legislature led to a government shutdown. On the eve of the shutdown, Dayton accused Republicans of protecting the wealthy.
“Instead of taxing their friends, they would prefer very damaging cuts to health care, K-12 and higher education, state and local public safety, mass transit and other essential services to the people of Minnesota,” he told reporters. [Full story]
Today’s Question: Does Mark Dayton deserve another term?