Political Notebook: Race for governor heating up
The list of Republicans signing up to run against DFL Gov. Mark Dayton continues to grow.
On Sunday, former Speaker of the House Kurt Zellers announced outside his Maple Grove home that he will challenge the first-term governor in 2014. Zellers is expected to stop in Rochester Monday as part of a media tour across southern Minnesota.
A video posted on Zellers' website starts off by attacking Dayton and legislative Democrats, with the narrator saying, "In St. Paul, one party rules. Unchecked power to tax, spend and grow state government larger than it's ever been before." Later in the video, the narrator states "We need a turnaround. A new governor. Someone who's fought Gov. Dayton before and won."
In a press release, Zellers said he is running for governor "to make sure all Minnesotans have the opportunity to experience prosperity. Right now, state government takes too much, spends too much and wastes too much. A renewal of personal opportunity, educational opportunity and entrepreneurial opportunity will make Minnesota the greatest state in the nation."
He joins two other Republicans who have already announced they are running. They are Wayzata businessman Scott Honour and Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson. Plus, state Sen. Dave Thompson, R-Lakeville, told Minnesota Public Radio his formal announcement for governor will come Wednesday.
Minnesota DFL Party Chairman Ken Martin attacked Zellers for being part of the Capitol leadership team in place during the 2011 state government shutdown.
"After finally seeing some progress this past legislative session, the last thing Minnesotans need is to return to the times of 'Shutdown Kurt' where we would undoubtedly see gridlock, partisanship, and shutdowns once again."
Klobuchar wants TV coverage of Supreme Court
Minnesota DFL Sen. Amy Klobuchar has co-sponsored a bill that would allow television cameras in the U.S. Supreme Court. Klobuchar said in a written statement that the change is needed to improve transparency.
"Supreme Court decisions can have a transformative effect on the lives of Americans, and the Court should not operate outside of the view of the public that is so greatly impacted by the justices' rulings," Klobuchar said."Allowing television cameras in the courtroom would increase public confidence in government and help promote a well-functioning democracy."
The Cameras in the Courtroom Act of 2013, authored by Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., would require television coverage of all open sessions of the court unless a majority of justices vote that doing so would constitute a violation of due process rights or one or more of the parties before the court. Klobuchar sponsored similar legislation in 2011.
Drazkowski among GOPers named "Liberty Laurels"
Mazeppa Republican Rep. Steve Drazkowski was honored last week as one of six "Liberty Laurels" awarded by the Liberty Minnesota PAC.
The group describes itself has having a goal of "empowering liberty-minded voters in Minnesota to take control of their government once again."
The group issued their first legislative scorecard based on 17 votes in the Minnesota House and 14 votes in the Senate "that were uniquely essential to individual liberty."
Drazkowski is the only lawmaker to receive a 100 percent score from the group. He and five other senators who tied for a 93 percent score will be honored as "Liberty Laurels" at an awards ceremony last week in Spring Park. The senators being honored are fellow Republicans Bruce Anderson, Paul Gazelka, Dan Hall, Warren Limmer and Branden Peterson.
Among the votes considered are ones to allow in-home child care workers to unionize, a ban on formaldehyde in the manufacturing of children's products and raising the minimum wage to $9.50 an hour. The group considers a "Liberty Vote" to be a "no" on all of those proposals. The group supported an amendment to the omnibus liquor bill that would have allowed Sunday off-sale liquor sales.