ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — Minnesota lawmakers hit the halfway mark this week.
Lawmakers entered a 10-day Easter/Passover break on Friday. Next week, House Democrats will hit the road to talk about what they’ve done so far, and Republicans will be sharpening their election year message.
Democrats think they’ve done enough to keep their majority, and they’ll likely focus on middle class economic issues:
— A minimum wage hike to $9.50 an hour
— $500 million in tax cuts
— Equal pay for women
— Paying back school loans
“It’s really hard to work your way up that economic ladder. You get stuck,” said House Democratic Leader Erin Murphy of St. Paul. “You can’t make ends meet. You can’t make your way out.”
But Republicans have a game plan around a single, potent theme.
“Obviously, single-party control, with Democrats running everything, has been pretty bad for Minnesota,” said House Republican Leader Kurt Daudt, who represents District 31A.
Among the issues Republicans will press against are:
— The controversial $90 million Senate Office Building
— $9.50 minimum wage
— The 2013 tax hikes
— And Minnesota’s health exchange, MNsure
However, Blois Olson, who writes the daily political newsletter Morning Take, says the public “isn’t really paying attention yet.”
He says this upcoming election will be one of either pocketbooks or politics.
“If people are going to vote their pocketbooks, and they think things are doing just fine, Democrats have a better chance,” Olson said. “But if it’s policies and politics and kind of these very partisan issues that people get upset about, then it’s bad news for Democrats.”
DFL leaders will barnstorm the state in coming days, hitting their re-election theme: Building a Better Minnesota.