After Governor Mark Dayton won reelection last November, it was clear Minnesotans chose him because of his accomplishments during his first term, including legalizing same-sex marriage, repaying Minnesota’s schools and raising the minimum wage for the first time in nearly a decade.
Last week, the investigative magazine Mother Jones published an article about Gov. Dayton that highlighted how far the governor has come during his time in Minnesota’s government. The article paints Gov. Dayton as somewhat of an underdog: shy, introverted and someone who had to fight hard for his spot as governor.
At public events, Dayton hunches his shoulders, which makes him appear shorter than his 5-foot-10 frame, and often appears to be trying to disappear into the crowd. No one wonders whether he’ll seek national office someday. He’s not the leader of the free world—he’s your dad, struggling to make small talk with you and your friends after you get home from school.
The most interesting part of the article emphasizes the differences between Gov. Dayton and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s leadership styles. Where Scott Walker, in the fashion of a typical conservative, signed Grover Norquist’s anti-tax pledge, Gov. Dayton asked the wealthiest 2 percent of Minnesotans to pay their fair share. The differences have created vastly different states.
But the article digs much deeper. In juxtaposition to our neighbors in Wisconsin, it seems the progressive way of doing politics works better for everyone. The article breaks down some of the more important notes:
•172,000 jobs were added during Gov. Dayton’s first four years of office (compared to 102,000 jobs under Gov. Walker)
•our 3.6 percent unemployment rate is among the lowest in the country (compared to 5.2 percent in Wisconsin)
•Minnesota has increased its economic confidence under Gov. Dayton more substantially than Wisconsin has under Gov. Walker
•the rate of growth for Minnesota has been much higher under Gov. Dayton’s administration than it has for Wisconsin under Gov. Walker’s
Despite dire warnings from conservatives that the sky would fall in Minnesota with Gov. Dayton’s policies, the state has become a progressive framework in which the rest of the country can follow suit.
Minnesota is proof that asking those who earn the most to pay their fair share results in a state where everyone does better.