Daudt, Gazelka weigh in on session, Governor's veto threats

Republican leaders heap praise, Dayton dispenses scorn

Al Schoch
May 21, 2018 - 10:17 am

Exhausted and admittedly not too sure what time of day it was, Minnesota House Speaker Kurt Daudt Monday morning had nothing but praise for the work completed less than 10 hours earlier by the GOP-controlled state legislature.

"I would give it an A, and I'm very sincere about that," Daudt told WCCO's John Hines. "We accomplished every major thing we set out to accomplish." 

That was in sharp contrast to Governor Mark Dayton, the two-term Democrat in his final session who was talking more about vetoes than victories.

"I've never seen a session this badly mismanaged, I've never seen a session less transparent, I've never seen a session more beholden to special interests," Dayton said late Sunday night before the House and Senate adjourned.

"With this governor, we just couldn't win," said Daudt. "He was refusing to meet with us or talk with us. It almost seemed like he wanted to veto the bills and set us up for some sort of blame game."

Which is what Dayton had suggested earlier.

"It's all about themselves and their own re-election, the governor said. "It is disgusting."

That struck a nerve with Senate Republican leader Paul Gazelka.

"You know, I heard that, and I can tell you, I'm not up for re-election," Gazelka told Dave Lee on the WCCO Morning News. "None of the senators are."

For the record, all House seats are up for grabs in November. Gazelka has two more years on his term.

"In the end, when you have two parties that share power, it is never, ever easy," Gazelka said. "All of the things that need to be done are there. Are they perfect for either side? No."

Gazelka said he and other Republican leaders responded favorably to the governor's requests on the tax bill, which Dayton is threatening to veto. 

"In the end, it is what it is," said Gazelka. "I hope he signs it, it's really important for Minnesota. But I can not control that."

Dayton also said he sees nothing in the supplemental budget bill that would win his approval. 

The governor has 14 days to decide whether to sign the bills into law or veto them. He began that two-week period with an overnight trip to Washington to attend the United Steelworkers Rapid Response and Legislative Conference.

Any legislation not signed into can't be brought up again until the 2019 legislative session. There will be a new governor in office by then.

"I think I'm done here," Dayton said while wrapping up his Sunday night press conference, possibly without realizing the irony of his statement.

Listen to both interviews here: