November 08, 2018 06:54 PM
Minnesota Governor-elect Tim Walz and Lt. Governor-elect Peggy Flanagan arrived at the State Capitol to begin work on their transition to office Thursday.
“It's not lost on us the honor that was given to us to have received more votes for the governor of Minnesota than anyone in the history of the state and that comes with a responsibility,” Walz said during a news conference inside their new transition offices on the third floor of the Capitol. Flanagan will lead the transition team.
Meanwhile, Walz has already had conversations with leaders of the Minnesota House and Senate. The House will be controlled by Democrats and the Senate by Republicans, making it the only divided state government in the country.
“We have an opportunity in divided government to show a unified one Minnesota,” Walz said.
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However, it immediately became clear it won’t be easy to bridge that divide on several issues, including health care and transportation. For instance, Walz proposed during the campaign to raise the gas tax to help pay for roads and bridges. He promised on Thursday to follow through on his promise to propose an increase.
“You can't just say we're not going to do anything in terms of revenue or budgets and you're magically going to get roads, bridges and transit,” Walz told reporters. “So yes, you can expect to see that.”
However, just after being unanimously re-elected Republican majority leader of the Minnesota Senate, Sen. Paul Gazelka said he will oppose a gas tax increase.
“If you look at the last two years we've had massive increases in spending towards roads and bridges,” Gazelka said at a news conference outside the Minnesota Senate Chambers. “We can do that without a gas tax.”
Sen. Jeremy Miller, R-Winona, was elected the new Senate president.
The House DFL caucus will elect new leaders during a meeting at the State Capitol Thursday night.
Updated: November 08, 2018 06:54 PM
Created: November 08, 2018 05:54 PM
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