Gov. Mark Dayton did not attend a meeting on Monday with GOP legislators on the education budget – the first of a series of meetings scheduled in the coming weeks to work out a deal to solve the $5 billion budget deficit before a required government shutdown.
GOP and DFL education legislative leaders, including Reps. Pat Garofalo and Sondra Erickson, and Sens. Carla Nelson and LeRoy Stumpf, attended the meeting with Education Commissioner Brenda Casellius and her staff. They all expected the governor to be present as well.
“This was just the first meeting,” Nelson, a Republican senator from Rochester, said. “I sure hope he shows up to the other ones.”
Dayton’s office says the targeted budget meeting is “just for show” if GOP leaders and the governor can’t first agree on an overall spending figure. Dayton is scheduled to meet with Republican leadership on the budget this evening.
But Nelson, who said she canceled several other appointments to be at the Capitol today, said she is “disappointed” and “frustrated” that the governor wasn’t there. “We never got any explanation as to why he wasn’t there. This is a critical time,” she said. “He needs to be in the room.”