By Esme Murphy

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The battle at the Capitol is a last stand for Governor Mark Dayton.

After nearly eight year as governor, this is his last legislative session. Dayton is once again going to the mat for education — something he has always said is one of his top priorities.

Governor Mark Dayton began his career of public service working in New York City schools in the early 1970s. It’s an experience he says has guided him throughout his political career.

It was Dayton who lead the fight for free all-day kindergarten that went into effect in 2014. Dayton has also fought for expanding access to pre-kindergarten programs. This year, he’s pushing for $138 million in emergency funding for 59 school districts that are facing budget shortfalls.

“It’s about the kids. It’s about what we owe them to give them the best chance in the future, in their lives,” Gov. Dayton said on WCCO Sunday Morning. “It’s about having the money available if they just close the tax loophole for multinational corporations.”

The governor has been so focused on early education, he even fought to get additional dollars for pre-k programs set to expire in the fall of 2019, months after he leaves office.

Republicans fired back saying the governor’s concerns were unfounded and they would take up the 2019 fall funding issue in next year’s legislative session.

You can watch WCCO Sunday Morning with Esme Murphy and MIke Augustyniak every Sunday at 6 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.

Esme Murphy