ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Gov. Mark Dayton is asking lawmakers to authorize a better pension for the family of a state transportation worker who died after his backhoe was swept into the flooding Minnesota River last week.

Dayton proposed legislation Friday to benefit the family of Mike Struck, a 39-year-old Minnesota Department of Transportation worker. The Democratic governor would like to increase the family’s $191-a-month survivor’s pension to almost $2,000 a month.

It’s rare for governors to propose legislation that benefits one family, but Dayton said that amount would be close to what a family of a state patrol officer killed in the line of duty would get.

Struck is survived by his wife and two young children.

The governor said a bill will be introduced with bipartisan backing.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Comments (48)
  1. truth hurts says:

    Mandate life insurance polcies…where the companies can’t deny coverage just because you work in high risk careers like firefighters, police & sky diving.

    This guy should been able to buy life insurance to provide for his family just in case instead we get the media companies beggin’ us to donate to cover what he should have been able to purchase in the private sector.

    1. dan says:

      I’m a janitor for the State,and Its nice to have the security to know that if anything happens to me ,my famliy well be paid as much as a State trooper killed im the line of duty.
      This Governor is acting like a “king” and not represent the ppl.

  2. Jose Cuervo says:

    What part of “broke” does deer-in-the-headlights dayton not understand. Just give our money away why dontcha??

  3. kURT says:


  4. flyonthewall says:

    How about better training so this won’t happen again. I feel sorry for the family, but the solution is not to give my money away, that is a liberals answer to everything.

  5. Wondering says:

    This Man died on the job, shouldn’t he be covered by work Comp? All private businesses that have employee’s in the State of Mn are required to have workers Comp, doesn’t the State of MN itself?

  6. Erin says:

    It never ceases to amaze me what people will say in these comment boards. I wonder, are you the people that I see in the grocery store, on the street, or anywhere else? Do I really live among such mean spirited people? The ignorance and hatredposted on these boards so often goes beyond the pale. Let this man rest in peace and let his family live a dignified life. May God rest his soul, give his family peace and safety, and above all, may God forgive the hateful cowards who write such terrible things about their neighbors

    1. Chris says:

      Thank you Erin. I ask those very same questions every time I read comments from posters who have no respect for the value of workers rights and their lives. I wish to believe that they are just writing these terrible things just to get a reaction from people.
      I think its best to forgive those posters and hope they will one day awaken from their nightmares they must be living in.

      1. Kate says:

        Agreed. This poor family has been through enough without all this bitterness and hatred.

        Are you people jealous that the family will receive money? Does that mean you’re actually jealous that this family lost their husband/father/brother/son? Because I”m sure Mrs. Struck would be happy to trade places with you. I’m sure she would give anything and everything to get her husband back.

        Think about that before you post your vile comments.

        1. Susie says:

          Ladies, I feel for the family and I would be absolutely devastated if this were my husband BUT where does it end if this is done for her family. The state is BROKE and there is no money to even consider this. He should have life insurance just like the rest of us have to pay every month. I’ve read the comments, people are not being hateful, mean-spirited or disrespectful like you have described~ they are just making a lot of sense!!

          1. Chris says:

            Susie, We agree with you, as I think that the postings were objective and did not criticize or disrespect the family at all. These discussions should be made prior to a tragic iincident such as this or when the state is so broke that it is not an option. If this is fair for this guy, it should be changed for all, but there will be a cost to it… Also, the story leaves out the other benefits that are available and only lists the “pension”… there is social security and workers comp benefits for the family, so what are they? Also, as far as we or the author of this story knows, he may have had a big life insurance policy in addition to the state coverage, which isn’t even mentioned here either… I think Gov Daytom better do his homework before trying to play hero again! Isn’t there some sandbagging to do at some dikes so he can do some PR? By the way, Marky, get out your own billfold and fork over some of your own cash (billions) to help them out!

      2. Chuck says:

        Settle down already…
        This has been pretty mild…
        BTW, the story leaves out the most important facts:
        No other compensation = not true!

    2. hqr says:

      Right on Erin! It’s always about the money to the hearless souls of this country!

      1. Susie says:

        uumm, HELLO? Its money that Dayton thinks we should give her, right? And again its not about being heartless!

        1. KM says:

          Erin, Chris, Kate and hqr: It has nothing to do with being heartless here, it has to do with spending others’ money they are not authorized to do. All of us are free to give out of our own pockets to this worthy cause, but to mandate all MN citizens give is not right. And where do you draw the line? Who decides who is worthy of state funding and who is not? Maybe you all should be reading the “Not Yours to Give” congressional speech by Colonel David Crockett.

          And BTW, I have not seen one “hateful” or “bitter”comment here at all! I have seen compassion and accountability, but nothing has been said that could be taken as hateful or bitter.

          1. Chuck says:

            KM, We are with you, as some of these people need to stick to the facts and the story… Also, the story omits critical details: there is other compensation coming their way, so get the story straight! It only mentions “pension”, but how about social security, workers comp, and life insurance? I guess that would make the story less sensational…

  7. SoMN says:

    Hard to change it when the GOP wants to eliminate bargaining rights!

    1. Randy says:

      Yup all this is Bushes fault. You libs are disturbed. Take a pill and collect your check.

      1. Koch says:

        Take a pill and prevent another Randy from being born.

  8. Sam says:

    did he not have life insurance?why is it when someone loses someone they set up donations at banks and stuff.. life insurance should take care of this family as well as social security. no reason to change his pention…I feel sad for the family but his life insurance should be able to take care of them. and if he didn’t have any well SHAME on them way to watch out for your loved ones
    (I bet he did!)

  9. Dave Campbell says:

    Don’t worry folks! The GOP led House and Senate will not act on it. You can bet it will go no further that an idea fronm a Governor who cares!

  10. Todd says:

    I do have to wonder why workers comp wouldn’t give them a pretty good settlement? I feel for the family and hope the best for them but a) he was a volunteer fireman, most volunteer firemen get life insurance. b) he was working for Mndot at the time, no life insurance benefits in their contract?

    Just wondering?

    1. JKB says:

      We wonder also about that too. Surely the children are eligible for survivors benefits through social security too. Possibly the wife hasnt taken the time to investigate her other options, and its no wonder, so soon after his death to check into these. Even so, I wouldnt think she could live on a $1200 a month ($191 plus possibly 300 plus, for each child/herself from SS)., IF she were able to get these two assisted services plus a lesser amount from which your Gov proposes, maybe then shed be able to raise her children My question, why arent/werent there better benefits in place for workers that lose their lives on the job?

  11. pat says:

    This man’s family will also be able to draw social security, workman’s comp, least we forget the lawsuits over this. Mr. Dayton is a multi millionaire, I am not. If he wishes to set up a foundation that gives extra to city workers if they perish in an accident so be. The unions have already made an over the top deal for these workers as it is. Remember collective bargaining?

    1. Kate says:


      What “over the top deal” do these workers receive? As the spouse of a state employee (correctional officer at a “treatment facility”) – I can assure you that there is no “over the top” deal benefitting our family. He makes $18 an hour. While I would agree with you that the vacation/sick benefits are pretty nice – he can’t use them. Any more than 5 sick occurrences within a year, and he’s written up. So what good is accumulating sick pay that he can’t ever use? Same with vacation – due to the minimum staffing levels (and bare-bones staff), he can’t take a day off right now either. Again, he’s got all this accumulated vacation & sick time, and gets less time off than I do, with 2 weeks of PTO each year. I can also assure you that our health insurance benefits, while they look nice on paper, are CRAP. We have a deductible, an annual out-of-pocket max – but then something called “co-insurance.” Which doesn’t go against deductible or out-of-pocket max. So, last year, we paid well over $7,000 in medical costs on a policy with a $2200 family out-of-pocket max due to “co-insurance” fees on services (such as the removal of a stillborn baby from my womb) that the State Employees Group Insurance Plan doesn’t feel are “necessary.” Because, when the baby died, I was apparently no longer covered under the prenatal care benefit. When I called BCBS about this I was told “Well ma’am, your baby isn’t alive so the prenatal benefits had to cease.” Just b/c we pay less in premiums doesn’t mean we pay less in health care expenses. My parents pay over $500 a month in premiums – my mom had cancer last year and paid less in health care than we did.

      I get really sick and tired of people slinging false accusations and generalizations about ALL state employees. The ones you should be peeved at are the legislature, who get paid over $30K a year for 5 months of work (not required to show up for every day’s work either!), plus per-diem, plus living allowances … And all the state agencies for creating more middle-management (read: unnecessary) positions with higher salaries and ever-better benefits.

      1. Fellow DOC Employee says:

        I’m just now reading this on June 27 – days before the impending shutdown. I applaud your statement here – I only hope some of the Repubs read this and comprehend, though I’m not hopeful. Thanks to the Repubs – the masters of hater-rhetoric – they have characterized state workers as beasts who should be starved! Which means they completely disavow the dignity of what we do in SERVING OUR STATE! I work for the DOC in Education and although my salary is the lowest I’ve received in my 30 years as a working professional, with two graduate degrees to boot, I thought it was a noble job to take on. Trust me, working with felons, trying to reduce recidivism and hopefully return some of them back to the streets with skills that will prevent them from re-offending is not easy, nor fun, but it is important work — even if I couldn’t support my family on my salary. If it weren’t for my husband’s income, my salary alone would put our family BELOW THE POVERTY LINE! That said, I am also THANKFUL to have a job in this economy that has been completely destroyed by Bush’s de-regulation that has granted carte blanche to corporate and political greed. I went to college believing that if you work hard, do more than what is asked of you, you will be rewarded. But I saw what happened back in the early 2000’s under Bush and we are reaping the fruit sewn by the Republican’s greed. They are shameful. I know the grunt work the corrections officers do with the demands placed on them that no private sector person would ever tolerate. I’ve worked in corporate offices and I’ve seen firsthand the waste that occurs in the private sector – so for the Repubs to vilify state workers while promoting private business as if it is some God to worship is so far from reality, it is insane. Our economy works because of BOTH the private and public sectors. It is a balancing act, yes, but making governance and good leadership out to be a crime…well, it is certainly something the Republicans are turning into a self-fulfilling prophecy. Their actions are absolutely criminal – criminally ignorant, that is. We need leaders with the political will to take on greed and write policies that prevent the power grabs we are seeing now at historically high levels. Republicans have failed on every front – instead of creating jobs, they take food from people’s mouths. Instead of shared sacrifices, they wordsmith their tax shifts to make sure their sugar daddy corporate backers don’t have to pay their fair share. When will they understand you cannot crush labor forever? It will catch up to them…but I worry that they won’t get it until it is too late. I truly believe their goal is to live in extravagance while the rest of us barely get by.

  12. ohoh says:

    Let’s pay all their bills, and oh yeah ivy league college, and vacations around the world. I am sure his family could use a bigger better house, let’s make it mandatory that we buy them one. Where does it end?

  13. Ed says:

    Feel bad for the family and all but helping one family at a time is not the answer.
    He knew the risks and details of the pension when he took it and was ok with it then.
    If the pension is that bad then change it for all so the next guy won’t need the the Gov to step in. How about the family of the last guy or the next guy that had a claim, gonna help them out too?

  14. J says:

    Maybe there is something left out of the information we have about this that is the reason behind the request for the change. Seems odd that such a request would be made if not warranted in some way.

  15. scott says:

    Mike Struck sure would be so proud with all of the crappy comments here. (The last was a sarcastic comment for the slow)Working for the public as a firefighter and a Mn/DOT employee, I am sure that he didn’t give it a second thought to assist someone when asked for help. Political opinions, race, creed or religion probably never entered his mind as we went to work. So why is this garbage being said here? I hope that this is passed with the state. This man gave his life making the roads safe for you. Now his family has given up their husband, father, son, brother and should be compensated rightfully so.

  16. M. says:

    Apparently Mr. Dayton has not read the “Not Yours to Give” congressional speech by Colonel David Crockett.

    1. KM says:

      I was thinking the very same thing!

  17. Cache says:

    Dimwitted Dayton doesn’t not have a clue and lives in LA LA Land all this moron can do is block real spending reform and he proposes more spending and taxes. His constituents are all the individual/corporate welfare and illegal rats who get a free check from the government stolen from taxpayers. I’d like see bozo and ask him for what ever money he has in his pocket…take half and give it to who ever is standing around…then ask him how it feels! Markie hides his huge pot of money in South Dakota so he doesn’t have to pay MN taxes…ask bozo about that?

  18. DJ says:

    I’m all for this Governor Dayton. Helping out a widow and her two small children is a very noble thing for the state to do and will look very nice when you run for re-election. My only question is – where will the money for this come from ? It could easily exceed 1 million dollars if she receives the benefit over the rest of her life. Is something else going to be reduced or cut so we can make this payout happen ?

  19. Working mom says:

    A LOT of people lose their lives while at work and did not, for whatever reason, have life insurance… my own mother included. My sympathy to the family, however, I don’t agree the pension should be increased. Why should it? Because he worked for the government? It’s my understanding that gov’t employees already have better health insurance and other benefits than the general public. In addition, there will be Social Security benefits paid out on a monthly basis to this family, they will not starve. Unless Dayton is going to provide all grieving families with this benefit, he shouldn’t now.

    1. Working mom says:

      do NOT have life insurance, I mean

  20. Sam says:

    maybe they would like a little black dog

  21. Concerned Citizen says:

    I am almost in disbelief at the comments that are being made. If you people are so worried about their tax dollars being spent on legal US citizens who service in the public sector perhaps you should start looking at the programs the state offers for ILLEGAL immigrants. Did you know that an illegal pregnant woman can get medical assistance during their entire pregnancy, this is paid by you, tax payors. A illegal immigrant gets cancer and needs treatment…who pays for it, you. Please start looking into the public assistance programs our state provides and where money can be saved.

    This family has suffered a great loss, his wife a fantastic nurse who works hard for her money just went from having two incomes to support her family to her one income and is having to figure out the future for her children. Perhaps we shouldn’t put so much worry in helping out the ones who have helped us, Mike was a VOLUNTEER firefighter and EMT, he put his life at risk for us.

    Contact your legislator now about funding of illegal immigrant medical assistance instead, put energy towards that!

  22. lib says:

    Everyone who is for this idea, please please feel free to give as much of YOUR own money to the widow, a nurse, who also has good benefits, as you wish. But please leave my money alone. I am sorry for this families loss, but I have my own family to feed, and I pay out of pocket for my own health care and life insurance. I can’t afford after tithing, income and property taxes to give any more.

  23. Mary says:

    This family will get a lump sum life insurance payout, plus work comp, plus social security benefits until the kids reach age 18 or stay in school. Now, the broke state of MN should pay more? I don’t mean to sound cold either, but where does it end?

  24. Rick says:

    You can’t tell me her phone hasn’t already been ringing off the hook with lawyers ready to win a huge lawsuit against the state. Do we really need to pay twice?

  25. Sean says:

    There are income protection plans people can purchase in cases of accidental death to protect the welfare of their families. State laborers earn decent wages and it is their responsibility to ensure the right financial footings are placed for their families.

    I work in the private industry and will never see a pension in my life time. Although I have invested in the proper insurance policies and set up my financial portfolio to protect my surviving family in case of such events. Other than those resources that I have had to take my own initiative to put in place I don’t expect an elected state official to pay my family anything out of our tax dollars.

    By no means am I saying this to disrespect a man whom has passed. My deepest condolences go out to to his family.

  26. Bubba says:

    i am very sorry for the family but its up to each family to make sure their famly will be provided for should they pass. Just because you work for the state or federal gov., doesn’t make you any better than the rest of us that pay out of pocket for health and life insurance. He chose to do the work he was in and knew the risk. I’m sure when the whole story comes out, the family will be well provided for. Dayton do not even waste our taxpayers money on this proposed legislation.

  27. Susan says:

    Why is it always about the money. I am sure that the Struck’s would rather have Mike then the MONEY! in a heart beat!!

  28. RUK says:

    It’s a tragedy for this family and my heart goes out to them, but Mr. Dayton, I don’t think you want to go down that road. Bad idea!!

  29. pj says:

    The point is people why is the state police life worth more than any other state life ? know the facts of the statement before you downgrade the speaker or the mans life lost……

  30. pj says:

    the libs did the state patrol not the state worker………….everyone likes to comment but nobody wants 191 dollars “only” for a loved one….