Governor Dayton addresses a joint convention of the Minnesota legislature at his 2014 State of the State Address
Remarks of Governor Mark Dayton – As prepared for delivery
State of the State Address
Wednesday, April 30, 2014
When I ran for Governor four years ago, I promised “A Better Minnesota.” Tonight, I can report that the state of our State is better – much better -- than before. It’s better for us, and it’s better for those who will inherit it from us. But the economic growth and social progress we have achieved, also reminds us of the work we still have left to do.
Becoming a parent introduces a longer-term perspective. We begin to consider the effects of our actions not only on our own lives, but also on lives that will extend beyond ours.
Becoming a grandparent, as I did a year-ago, thanks to my terrific son and wonderful daughter-in-law, Eric and Cory Dayton, who are in the gallery tonight, adds another generation to that timeline. It also raises the stakes.
Somewhere down the road, my grandson and his generation will assess the state of the state we have left to them. They will decide whether we, through our actions or inactions, made their lives better. Let’s keep them in mind, as we choose our state’s path.
In my first State of the State, three years ago, I said, “I know what we must do to create that better future for all of us. To progress, we have to invest.
“We have to invest in more jobs. Invest in better education. In improved transportation. In the health of our citizens, our communities, and our environment. In the transformation of government services.”
In other words, we have to invest in growth, quality, and effectiveness.
JOBS & ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
Well, we invested in jobs. Minnesota’s private sector and public sector both invested in jobs. We are blessed with so many outstanding businesses, located everywhere in our state, operating everywhere in the world – and who, during the past three years, rediscovered that they can be successful and profitable here in Minnesota. As a result, we have the 5th fastest growing economy in the country.
There are more than 2.8 million jobs in Minnesota today. More jobs than ever before in our state’s history. 150,000 more jobs than when I became Governor three years ago.
This economic growth is happening all over our state. A recent newspaper story was entitled, “Lots of jobs find a home on the prairie in southwestern Minnesota.” It said that, for example, Jackson County reported a 5 percent increase in jobs during 2013. The City of Jackson’s economic development coordinator is quoted saying that, “Everybody who is able to work, and willing, is probably employed.”
Jackson’s largest employer, AGCO, has doubled its workforce to more than 1,300. Nearby, HitchDoc, which manufactures automotive and farm equipment for 300 customers, has grown from a dozen employees to 140. “And I’m looking for another 30,” said the company’s owner, Brad Mohns. “I’m turning down work, because I can’t find enough employees.”
Some people believe there is no role for government in private sector expansion and job creation. To see that they’re mistaken, just look around Minnesota.
There would not be a new stadium under construction in Minneapolis without the financial support of the City and the State of Minnesota. 7500 construction workers will have jobs building that stadium over the next couple years. Over one-third of them will be people of color.
Located right next to the stadium will be a $400 million private sector development, the largest in a generation. It will provide office space for 5000 Wells Fargo employees, residential apartments, stores and shops, a hotel, and a new, two-block public park. Its construction will employ another 1000 Minnesotans. And that is just the beginning of the area’s revitalization.
A storm cloud looms over Minnesota water. Photo credit to Flickr user JCK.
When severe weather is in the forecast, are you prepared? Governor Dayton declared this week to be “Severe Weather Awareness Week” to ensure that Minnesotans know how to protect themselves and their property during severe weather events.
Severe weather such as tornadoes, hail, winds, floods, and heat waves take physical, emotional and financial tolls on Minnesotans each year. In 2010, Minnesota set a state record with 104 tornadoes across the state, many of which left behind disastrous wreckage. Understanding the threat of severe weather and knowing how to react is essential and can even save lives.
In alignment with the goals of the “Unsession,” Governor Dayton supports legislation that would eliminate unnecessary special sessions during times of disaster. The Disaster Relief Reform initiative would avoid costly special legislative sessions and shift the focus to a swift distribution of aid where disaster strikes.
$986 Million Bonding Bill Invests in Needed Infrastructure Improvements across Minnesota
ST. PAUL, MN – Governor Mark Dayton today introduced a bonding proposal that would invest $986 million in infrastructure projects statewide, creating more than 27,000 Minnesota jobs1. This new jobs bill would help addresses many of the state’s critical infrastructure needs, while strengthening Minnesota’s economy and getting people back to work.
“My proposals will put thousands of Minnesotans to work throughout our state,” said Governor Dayton. “This bill gives priority to projects that are ready to go. Many of them have been delayed for years and are crucial to revitalizing downtown business centers, modernizing MnSCU and U of M buildings and classrooms, and improving parks, roads, and local infrastructure.”
Regional Civic Centers and Downtown Improvements
The Governor’s bonding proposal invests over $104 million in downtown areas and regional centers statewide – projects that will create jobs, attract additional private investment, and support economic development in communities across Minnesota. Some of those downtown investments include:
Nearly 400,000 military veterans call Minnesota home. We are proud to have them. Our veterans have bravely answered the call to service. From the Battle of Gettysburg to Iraq and Afghanistan, Minnesotans have fought to protect our country and our freedoms. Many of Minnesota’s veterans don’t stop serving when they leave the military either.
In 2013, Governor Mark Dayton signed new legislation to help our veterans make the transition. The new reform makes it easier for active duty service members to transition into jobs on the police force. The bill allows military service members to take a police officer reciprocity exam while they are on active duty. Previously, service members were only allowed to take the reciprocity exam after they were honorably discharged. This change allows men and women in the Armed Forces to move into civilian service without a long delay in employment.
The new license plate unveiled at the Pheasant Opener.
On Friday Governor Mark Dayton announced that a new ring-necked pheasant critical habitat license plate will be available later this fall. Governor Dayton made the announcement during the Governor’s Banquet at the Pheasant Hunting Opener, hosted by the City of Madelia.
The first critical habitat plate was created in 1995 as a way for Minnesota citizens to voluntarily contribute to conservation and show that commitment with a special outdoor-themed vehicle license plate. More than 100,000 Minnesota vehicles have critical habitat license plates, with the 2002 loon plate being the most popular. These plates generate about $3.5 million per year. They have generated more than $44 million for habitat conservation since the program began.
Motorists who have purchased habitat plates have helped wildlife in every corner of the state. They have funded Wildlife Management Area acquisitions, trout stream easements and helped support loons, eagles, rare plants and many other species. The new pheasant plate will help us preserve some of our rapidly disappearing grasslands – which are critical to the future of pheasants.
Photo Credit: Flickr user David Lipscomb
Keeping our Kids Safe and Healthy
The health an safety of our youngest Minnesotans is at the center of Governor Dayton’s Budget for a Better Minnesota. His budget proposal includes new funding to help prepare Minnesota schools for emergencies, provide expanded mental health services to our students, and prevents child abuse by expanding proven outreach strategies to at-risk families.
Every parent deserves the peace of mind that comes with knowing their child is safe at school. That’s why one of Governor Dayton’s budget priorities is the reestablishment of the Minnesota School Safety Center. The Center will provide training and education in the areas of emergency preparedness, response and recovery to schools, law enforcement, and outreach to community partners.
Governor Dayton’s budget expands access to mental health services for children with complex, high-cost conditions through increased funding to schools. This proposal doubles the percentage of Minnesota schools providing these services, ensuring that more Minnesota students have the resources they need to be healthy in the classroom. Finally, Governor Dayton’s budget also invests in the prevention and early detection of child abuse. The proposal expands proven outreach programs to at-risk families.
Governor Dayton is committed to investing in all aspects of public safety. For more information about Governor Dayton’s budget, visit http://mn.gov/governor/budget or follow the conversation on Twitter at #BetterMN.
Two years into his administration, Governor Mark Dayton is making important progress toward building a Better Minnesota. Measuring that progress by the improvements Minnesotans have seen in their lives, families, communities, and economy, the Dayton Administration is taking inventory of what has been accomplished thus far, and considering the work that still remains to be done.
One crucial measure of that progress is ensuring the safety of Minnesotans, which is one of the most important functions of state government. Our quality of life depends on the safety of our homes and communities. Governor Dayton is committed to improving safety on or roadways, in our workplaces, and in our neighborhoods. Governor Dayton is working to reduce the incidence of violent crime in our communities, keep drunk drivers off the road, and ensure that emergency personnel have the tools they need to do their jobs effectively.
The Department of Public Safety has launched several new programs to keep drunk drivers off the road in Minnesota.
The Triple Check program is designed to ensure that Minnesota does not issue a license to anyone with an active record of drunk driving in other states. To date, the program has prevented almost 15,000 drunk drivers from unlawfully obtaining a driver’s license in Minnesota.
The Ignition Interlock program requires convicted drunk drivers to prove they are sober with a breath test before their car will start. Nearly 2,900 drunk drivers are currently enrolled in Ignition Interlock, with 289 drivers successfully completing the program.
The MPCA is a major partner of Clean Air Minnesota’s Project Green Fleet (PGF). Since it began in 2005, PGF has worked with school districts and school bus fleet operators to retrofit buses with Diesel Oxidation Catalysts and closed crankcase filtration systems.
After two years in office, Governor Mark Dayton is continuing to make important progress toward building a Better Minnesota.
One crucial measure of that progress is improving the health of Minnesotans, which is essential to a high quality of life in Minnesota. Governor Dayton is pursuing a variety of strategies to improve the health of individuals, families, and communities across our state, including increasing access to high quality, affordable health insurance and promoting strong community health programs. The Dayton Administration is focused on improving the quality of life for all Minnesotans, and lowering the cost of health care in our great state of Minnesota.
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) has worked to reduce diesel emission in school buses, snowplows, fire trucks, and other large vehicles. Emissions retrofits on school buses alone have improved air quality for nearly 85,000 kids in 91 school districts statewide.
In 2012, MPCA focused on reducing diesel emission in long-haul semi-trucks. At current fuel prices, retrofits made to 282 vehicle engines, and reduced idling on 155 trucks, will save trucking companies $600,000 each year in fuel costs. Health benefits derived from these emissions reductions are estimated to total $123.5 million.
Lt. Governor Yvonne Prettner Solon recently visited the 148th Fighter Wing in Duluth, Minnesota and experienced the full-workings of the facility, including a tour, safety and survival skills training. The visit culminated in a ride in an F-16 Fighter Jet. The Lieutenant Governor donned an anti-gravity suit, or G suit, and rode in the F16, experiencing complex aerial maneuvers – even taking the wheel at one point.
The Lieutenant Governor said she was impressed with “the precision, expertise and professional capabilities of both ground and air personnel” and that she feels “confident that Minnesota has a superior National Guard”.