Gov. Mark Dayton and his commissioners are fanning out across Minnesota.
Education, revenue, pollution control and agency heads are following their boss' lead by hitting the road to take the pulse of the people.
"I think it makes a better relationship between Minnesota citizens and their government," Dayton said. It is essential, he said, for administration officials to "get out from behind the desk and the office and really see firsthand what's going on there in the real world and get the dialogue going. I really encourage commissioners to do that. I am very proud of them for doing so."
As a candidate, Dayton toured Minnesota's 87 counties in 87 days, covering 9,000 miles in less than three months. At the tour's conclusion, he bragged that he'd probably been to more counties more often, "than all the other candidates combined."
The Opportunity Index ranked all 50 states using indicators such as the unemployment rate, poverty rate, on-time graduation rate, and others to assign a first of its kind Opportunity Score. Minnesota earned an Opportunity Score of 81.2 out of 100.
According to the announcement, Minnesota earned high marks:
Minnesota outperformed almost every other state in the union, earning an Opportunity Score of 81.2 out of 100. A few of the highlights that helped set Minnesota apart include:
- Weathering the Economic Downturn: During a time when a majority of the country is struggling to make ends meet, Minnesota’s residents earn a slightly higher on average income than most Americans ($57,007 vs. $51,425). In addition, their statewide poverty rate is just over 10% compared to the national average of 13.47% and their unemployment rate is significantly lower than the national unemployment rate (7.4% vs. 9.1%, respectfully).
Technology has been a driving and innovative force in Minnesota’s economy. The state's deep and diverse technology base, which crosses many sectors and fuels Minnesota's economic engine, helps provide the tax base and economic support for Minnesota's high quality of life.
Minnesota is committed to promoting the success, sustainability, and global competitiveness of its technology industries. It has become a powerhouse of technological innovation, fostering groundbreaking collaborations across educational and industrial spheres.
The continued health of Minnesota’s technology sector is crucial to the future prosperity of our state.
To read the proclamation, click here.
According to MinnPost:
The reason: He was clear and deliberate in spelling out what changes he could order and where he'd be relegated to the role of cheerleader.
Regarding the former, he appointed specific staffers to keep tabs on his administration's commitments. And those staffers answer the phone.
Regarding the latter, well, it's been a l
ong time since such a highly placed cheerleader has kept the community's priorities on the front burner.
'Pretty authentic in his approach'
"The governor has been pretty authentic in his approach to this and has only pushed what he has the ability and the authority to get done," said Sen. Jeff Hayden, the former state representative from South Minneapolis who was recently elected to fill Linda Berglin's seat.
"He has been more visible and more accessible," Hayden continued. "He has more people of color around him and as his commissioners."
Today the Minnesota Department of Commerce announced that Governor Dayton appointed 15 members to the Governor's Task Force on Broadband, which will be charged with developing policies to promote the expansion of broadband access in Minnesota — including an action plan for identifying and correcting disparities in urban, rural, and suburban communities.
“For the short- and long-term success of our economy, every school, business, and consumer in Minnesota must have affordable, high-speed access to information and the online marketplace,” said Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman. “That is what the work of this Task Force is all about.”
Members of the Task Force represent a balance of broadband interests, including consumers, business and residential users, educational and health care institutions, traditional telephone and cable companies, wireless providers as well as metro and rural local units of government. The Task Force was established by Executive Order 11-27.
For a list of Task Force Members, click here.
Two weeks upon returning from a trade mission to China, Lieutenant Governor Yvonne Prettner Solon is still feeling good about the progress made, the discussions had, and the relationships built during the weeklong trip that took place in October.
In a discussion with Politics in Minnesota published yesterday, the Lieutenant Governor shared her thoughts on important outcomes that came out of the China visit.
Last week, Governor Dayton concluded his economic development tour with a statewide Jobs Summit. The event was a huge success and hosted more than 800 business, academic and government leaders. During the day, discussions were held on the role of government in job creation, access to capital for small businesses and how we can continue to improve and align our state’s workforce. Governor Dayton has developed a list of next steps we need to take to approach job creation moving forward. Those steps are:
Improve access to capital for small businesses, and expanding medium sized businesses
Align our educational system – particularly higher education, technical training, and workforce retaining for displaced workers – with the jobs available now and most likely available in the future
Continue streamlining the permitting process and reducing permitting timetables
Improve both physical and communications infrastructure by increasing our investment in highways, bridge repairs and improvements, and achieving the goal of creating border to border broadband and cell phone access for all Minnesotans regardless of where they live
Continue reform efforts under Better Government for Better Minnesota, bringing better state services to Minnesotans at a lower cost
Increase exports as well as reverse investment by encouraging foreign companies to make investments here in Minnesota and expanding opportunities for Minnesota companies to export goods and services
Close achievement and employment gaps among both minority groups and non-minority groups in Minnesota
Approximately $100 million to $200 million will be deposited in Minnesota's community banks for lending to their customers - principally small businesses throughout the state.
The announcement comes on the heels of the Governor's Jobs Summit, where over 800 business, government and academic leaders came together to discuss how to create jobs and build a better Minnesota.
“Entrepreneurs need to know that we are going to work aggressively to give them the tools they need to create jobs,” Dayton said, according to the Star Tribune . “Today, I am taking action to spur investment in the small businesses that fuel Minnesota’s economy.”
Check out other coverage of the announcement below:
The Governor’s Job Summit came to a close with short takeaways given by the moderators of each of the day’s 15 breakout sessions and closing remarks by Governor Dayton.
In his closing remarks, Governor Dayton thanked the participants for coming together in shared purpose to get Minnesota back to work, but also reminded them that the work is only just beginning, and that the progress they’ve made in one day needs to sustain itself and continue in the coming months and years.