(editors note : This is a reprint of a blog I published exactly 1 year ago to the day. I think it still has merit and with elections around the corner its something to consider as we pick our next governor. Although the field of governor candidates has diminished, and all are pretty much "city slickers", the needs of outstate Minnesota have not diminished.)
The Monday June 8th edition of the Albert Lea Tribune carried an interesting editorial. It stated “It has been since Jan. 7th, 1991 when Rudy Perpich of Hibbing, MN left office, that the governor of Minnesota was outside of the metro. That was 18 years ago, and, if an outstate man or woman wins, it will have been 20 years ago by the time a new governor takes office on Jan. 4th, 2011.” The editorial goes on to say its time for an outstate governor to take office to offset the political and economic advantages of the metro and their legislators.
Living in Bemidji the last six years and being somewhat politically active, I find this absolutely true. The Metro legislators stick together like glue, with nothing to offset this from outstate. I find the 20 year number to be disturbing and something that has got to change.
Here are my 8 reasons Why Our Next Governor Needs to be From Outstate Minnesota:
1) We need a Governor that knows that mass transit in outstate MN is a “Dial A Ride” regional bus service and is not $1 million dollar a mile high speed train.
2) We need a Governor that knows that tourism is a family camping, fishing, and biking and not someone who stays on the 22nd floor of the Marriott Hotel in Downtown Minneapolis.
3) We need a Governor that knows a large school district is where kids ride buses for 45 minutes, not 4.5 miles.
4) We need a Governor that knows what outstate unemployment is (14% in Bemidji/Beltrami County June 09) compared to metro unemployment (8.6% in Hennepin County June 09).
5) We need a Governor that realizes the need for strong rural hospitals, medical care and services and that everything shouldn’t be a 45 minute helicopter ride to Fargo.
6) We need a Governor that realizes the need for fully funding affordable existing 4 year institutions of higher learning giving options to those who want to stay in their own area of the state.
7) We need a Governor that realizes the need for a strong transportation infrastructure in areas where driving is a necessity.
8) We need a Governor that has knowledge and supports industries important to outstate Minnesota such as forestry, mining, and agriculture.
I for one hate to have one subject be an overriding reason for voting or supporting a candidate, but this has got to be a factor when considering a Governor. 20 years is just too long a time not to be represented.