Reporting Holly Wagner
ST. PAUL (WCCO) — There haven’t been any negotiations between Gov. Mark Dayton and Republican lawmakers on day 12 of the state shutdown, but there’s been plenty of talk.
As the Gov. tours the state, activity on the state capitol grounds is full of heated rhetoric.
Some of the protests in St. Paul Tuesday were planned and some were spontaneous.
In fact, Minnesotans weren’t the only ones with signs. A tour bus from Florida filled with seniors who are touring Capitol buildings around the country arrived and said this is the only one they can’t get into.
They had harsh words for state leaders and those not standing up for their jobs in Minnesota.
“I don’t know why we outsiders have to come here and stand on your steps. I came here one time and there was one man protesting,” said Martha Harrow, who lives in Florida. “Why are you all sleeping? Why are you sitting on your ass? Why don’t you get out and march and protest?”
Meanwhile, Dayton left St. Paul Tuesday and started his tour of the state in St. Cloud. He met with parents and teachers of special needs students to highlight the impact of budget cuts on special education.
Dayton told the group he has a nephew with autism.
“The purpose in me coming here today — and going elsewhere around the state — is to communicate to Minnesotans what’s at stake for them, for us, in these budget deliberations,” he said. “And how important it is that all of our voices are heard so that we have a balanced compromise quickly as possible; one that protects those with special needs … education … home health care. It’s about people.”
Dayton will visit Rochester Wednesday and Moorhead on Friday.
Republicans and Democrats continue blaming each other for the shutdown impasse. While Dayton took his budget message on the road, Republican Majority leader Amy Koch was critical of Dayton for not allowing her to accompany him on the tour.
Dayton said the Republicans’ time might be better spend coming up with a budget offer.