Rochester lawmakers react to State of the State - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Rochester lawmakers react to State of the State

ST. PAUL, Minn. (KTTC) -- Governor mark Dayton delivered his State of the State address Wednesday night.

With only a few weeks left in the legislative session, he focused on what has been accomplished so far, what he would like to see in the coming weeks and what he plans to do if reelected in November.

Dayton hit on many of the issues he was expected to address.

He praised several pieces of legislation that have passed so far this session including the anti-bullying legislation, tax bill and the increase of the minimum wage.

Dayton also talked about work that has been done throughout his term including increasing funding for education -- specifically statewide all-day kindergarten.

He also commented on the legalization of gay marriage in 2013, the new Vikings stadium and the low rates and high sign up numbers on MNsure.

When it comes to economic development, Dayton gave special recognition to last year's Destination Medical Center legislation.

"It will establish Minnesota as one of the world's best locations for advanced medical research; the development of new medical treatments and technologies; and the thousands of good new jobs they will create," said Dayton. "This project would not be happening without Mayo's extraordinary commitment.  It would not be happening here in Minnesota without the significant state investment approved by the legislature last year, along with investments by the City of Rochester and Olmsted County."

Looking to the rest of the term, Dayton urged lawmakers to pass the $1.2 billion bonding bill he supports, expand funding for school lunches and pass the rest of his unsession bills.

Dayton also brought up his goals if he is reelected this November.

His focus is on education -- expanding access to early childhood programs and reevaluating standardized tests and the length of the school year and day.

When it came to reaction from legislators, one thing everyone agreed on was that it was nice to see the governor healthy after his February surgery at the Mayo Clinic. That surgery is part of the reason this year's State of the State happened so late in the year.

When it comes to the content of the speech there were some differences of opinion.

Democrats praised the governor's focus on education as well as the progress they say Dayton has made this year and during his term as governor.

Republicans say while they agree with Dayton that Minnesota is a great state to live in, they say he attributes too much of that greatness to government.

"His tendency is to make all things that are positive the responsibility, if you will, and the result of government action," said Republican Dave Senjem. "It probably isn't that. There's a lot of good people in Minnesota that work hard each and every day and put a lot of effort into our state and made it very successful. I think we're very proud of that."

DFL Rep. Tina Liebling, as well as other Rochester lawmakers we talked to from both sides of the aisle say they were glad to see the governor draw attention to Destination Medical Center.

"He read a huge list of economic development initiatives that have been undertaken all over the state," Liebling said. "Of course Destination Medical Center is probably the largest and it fits in there very well. It's clear that his strategy of jump starting growth in state is really working because our economy is doing very well compared to the rest of the nation."

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