Gov. Dayton holds "Meetings with Mark" in Rochester - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Gov. Dayton holds "Meetings with Mark" in Rochester

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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC)- Governor Mark Dayton is continuing his state-wide tour to gather public comments on his policies, and Thursday his focus was on Rochester and the numerous issues facing the area.

Governor Dayton seemed relaxed as he walked into the Heintz Center, anxious to hear what Rochester wanted to discuss.

It is a period of time that Governor Mark Dayton relishes.

"It's just a great breath of fresh air to get out of the Capitol, which gets harder and harder to do within the last six weeks. So, that's where I'll be most of the time and I relish the chances to get out."

He is touring the state to gather comments and concerns about his policies, and Rochester came out in large numbers.

Nothing was off limits as he received questions ranging from the health concerns for those who live around wind turbines to the level of student debt.

He took extended moments of time to speak about issues like an increase in a cigarette tax, which is viewed by some as a regressive tax.

"I hope we lose money and revenues as a result because more and more people will be able to quit and fewer and fewer people will start."

He also laid out his position on Minnesota's current efforts in education funding.

"I think people would be shocked if they knew that in real after-inflation dollars, the state government's support for higher education, which is the University of Minnesota, MNSCU campuses and student aid, this year is the lowest it's been in 30 years."

But since he was in Rochester, the topic of Destination Medical Center was on the tip of everyone's tongue.

"The mark of stewardship in government is what you leave as a legacy when you're gone. This project is one that I'm optimistic that will be great for all of us who have been involved."

With a new list of comments and concerns to sort through, Governor Dayton heads back to St. Paul set for more legislative battles ahead.

It was 90 minutes that really gave people from the area a chance to, in a way, vent about what is frustrating them about the way the state is going. Regardless of if they disagreed with the Governor or not, the audience appreciated the opportunity to say what they needed to say.

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