(Photo by Glen Stubbe/Minneapolis Star Tribune/TNS/Sipa USA)

Transcript: Jeff Johnson’s opening and closing statement at the Greater Minnesota debate

"We're going to actually start holding government accountable to taxpayers again."

October 10, 2018 - 3:51 am

Congressman Tim Walz and Jeff Johnson debated Tuesday night in Wilmar around issues affecting Greater Minnesota.  The event broadcast live on WCCO Radio and was moderated by Chad Hartman and Blois Olson, the full audio can be found here.  As the race enters its final stretch, we're also publishing the opening and closing statements of each candidate. 

Below are those of Jeff Johnson — Tim's Walz's statements can be found here.

Jeff Johnson—Opening statement. 

Thank you, Chad. Thank you. Thank you all for being here. I am Jeff Johnson. I was born and raised in Detroit Lakes Minnesota. My wife is from Crookston and we went to college in Morehead so we are children of northwestern Minnesota but we have lived in Plymouth now for 20 some years. We have two teenage boys. Thor is in college, Ralph is in high school. I have spent most of my adult life in the private sector I've actually been self-employed the past 18 or 19 years and also served six years in the Minnesota House a while back. Now I'm in my third and final term on the Hennepin County Board and we have traveled probably over 100,000 miles in this governor's race. I've talked to many tens of thousands of Minnesotans and I can't tell you how satisfying how meaningful it is for me to be able to meet so many people and look them in the eye and tell them how we're going to change Minnesota and make their lives better how we are going to let them keep more of what they earn to spend on their own families around their own businesses. 

How we're going to actually start holding government accountable to taxpayers again and how we're going to change the culture, the attitude in our state government from that of controlling and directing and helping us all make better decisions about our own.... (Blois Olson slips, crowd gasps)

Blois Olson: We're good! 

Johnson: You alright? 

Blois Olson: There was not a stage there. 

Chad Hartman: We just wanted to lighten it up for everybody. I won the coin flip so I did not have to fall. Go ahead, Jeff.

Yes. So as I was saying how I was able to tell them how we're going to make life better in Minnesota and the last one I was mentioning was how we're going to change the culture in government especially some of our state agencies from that of controlling and directing to actually serving the people who pay their salaries. We've kind of lost that in state government particularly some of our agencies and that is such a personal message for people in the state of Minnesota whether I'm talking to sportsmen or women about the DNR or whether I'm talking to childcare providers about the Department of Human Services or farmers about the MPCA or BWSR. It is a very personal message and people just want their government to serve them again and it's what I will wake up every single day to do as your Governor. So thank you for having us. I'm looking forward to tonight. 

Jeff Johnson—Closing Statement

Thank you for coming out to kick the tires tonight. We had four weeks left in this campaign. I believe Minnesota is the greatest state in America to live. It has been my entire life and I've lived 46 in my 51 years here, but I do have concerns about the direction government has been taking Minnesota particularly the last eight years and maybe just a little bit longer than that and where we go from here as government I think will really determine the greatness of Minnesota going forward and Tim and I just have very different views about where we go from here. 

I believe that Minnesotans are overtaxed and Tim has promised to raise taxes.  I believe that Minnesotans should have more control over their healthcare and more options in their health insurance. And Tim believes government should control our healthcare. I believe that we should cooperate with the federal government to enforce our immigration laws and Tim believes we should be a sanctuary state. I believe that our second amendment rights are absolutely critical to our liberty and our freedom in this state and Tim touts his "F" from the NRA as a badge of honor and I could keep going. I and I won't tell them that you're gonna steal their puppies...

But just suffice it to say this rather than more of the same rather than a  third Mark Dayton term a few steps to the left. I believe we need just a fundamental change in the status quo in Minnesota where we are holding our government accountable again to taxpayers. We are where we are demanding that are state employees are actually serving us rather than trying to control us all the time and where we are lifting up, where we are promoting empowering not government, not the bureaucracy, not the politically well connected, but our amazing hard working people in this state. And if we can change that attitude, if we can make those changes, then I truly believe Minnesota has, days are only going to be better going forward. So thank you for being here and I hope to earn your support. 

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