It’s the start of the last day we’ve traveled over 1,000 miles already (I think the exact reading on the trip-o-meter is 1,170) and we still have several hundred to go today. Last evening we checked out the Tim Walz townhall which was filled to the brim. For more on what happened over there, you can check out the regular ABM page, which should have those pictures and video up shortly.
Over the past several days several themes have started to emerge. Though the name on the city sign may change, the general feeling between the cities roughly the same. Minnesota, as a state, can do better than this. People from the start of the trip to the end of it have said Tim Pawlenty and his allies took the easy way out. They ducked out of the hard choices, leaving a massive deficit lasting for long after he skips town. He didn’t do this in a smart of fair way. The people most impacted by these cuts are those with the least means to cope with them. I’m thinking here of Wadena, who’s LGA has been gashed, but doesn’t have the kind of tax base that can handle a huge property tax hike so their core services are going to be rocked. Of Cassie and the nurses at Mercy Hospital that are working doubles more and more for patients that are coming in sicker after waiting until they had to go to the emergency room.
Every city with a college or university is seeing a main driver of their future economic growth put in danger. Classroom sizes are getting larger in the k-12 area, an area where the state prides itself on being a national leader. Every hospital is going to be filling their emergency rooms with folks who could’ve been cared for in a smarter way, but they were kicked off their health plan. We’re seeing a state that’s great, but a state that see’s the things it uses and loves under increased pressure to provide more to the community, but with no means to do so. We’re seeing a state that is figuring out how to survive, rather than thriving, as our state has done through booms and busts alike before. We’ll have some more stories from Mankato, Rochester, and Red Wing throughout the day and then a massive round up probably during the weekend. Ok enough typing from me, time to hit the road.