On the anniversary of the start of last year’s 20-day government shutdown and on the early side of a critical legislative campaign season, DFL House Minority Leader Paul Thissen blamed Republican majorities for the historic shuttering of state government and asked Minnesotans to avoid a “shutdown sequel” by electing DFL majorities.
Thissen was surrounded by a handful of government workers in a Monday afternoon Capitol news conference, all who said it was Republicans who failed to compromise with Gov. Mark Dayton on a solution to the $5 billion budget deficit last summer. By doing so, Thissen said it was Republicans who drove the state into the longest known shutdown in the state and nation’s history.
“The Republican legislative majorities have shown they are unwilling to compromise,” Jason Moran, a Minnesota Pollution Control Agency employee who temporarily lost his job last year, said in a prepared statement. “They did it once, they’ll do it again.”
Thissen continued, calling out quotes from select Republican House members — several in key swing districts — made during the shutdown last year. “What we need to do to prevent another shutdown is elect people who are willing to work together,” Thissen said, pulling up selected newspaper quotations from freshman Reps. King Banaian, Doug Wardlow and Dave Hancock. “We need folks that are willing to work together and do what’s best for the state of Minnesota.”
The arguments are a reprise of criticisms made by DFLers after the shutdown last year, and mirror a ramped up campaign from DFL-aligned groups like Alliance for a Better Minnesota, which is trying and make the shutdown a campaign issue by running newspaper and online ads in select GOP districts this week.