UNITED STATES NEWS

Minnesota Gov. Walz draws sharp contrasts with red states

Apr 19, 2023, 5:41 PM | Updated: 7:10 pm

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Gov. Tim Walz drew stark contrasts between Minnesota and Republican-led states Wednesday night, using his State of the State speech to highlight how he and his fellow Democrats have used their new control over state government to push through an ambitious liberal agenda.

Walz, now three months into his second term, told lawmakers and other dignitaries in the House chamber how Minnesota Democrats are bucking the backlash seen in red states across the country against abortion rights, trans rights, pushes for racial equity and other cultural flashpoints.

“I’ve seen some of my fellow governors on TV — they find a lot of time to be on TV — and I hear them talking about ‘freedom,’” Walz said. “But it turns out what they really mean is that government should be free to invade your bedroom, your children’s locker room, and your doctor’s office.”

Walz didn’t name fighting against the “woke” left, but his targets were clear.

“It’s not up to me how folks in those places, folks like Florida go about their business,” he said. “But I got to tell you, I’m pretty glad we do it our way here and not that way.”

Republican Senate Minority Leader Mark Johnson, of East Grand Forks, quipped afterward that DeSantis is probably off Walz’s Christmas card list now.

The 2022 elections gave Minnesota Democrats control over both chambers of the Legislature and the governor’s office for the first time in eight years. Walz called it “a new mandate for action — a chance to set aside the old fights in favor of doing something truly historic for our children and our grandchildren.”

The governor noted that he has already signed legislation or issued executive orders this year to gender-affirming care.

While other states ban books from their schools, Walz said, Minnesota schools are banishing hunger from theirs. He has already signed a bill making school meals free for all students beginning this fall. He also signed a bill allowing 100% of their electricity from carbon-free sources by 2040.

“If there’s one thing I hope folks across this country recognize and take away from what we’re doing here in Minnesota, is it’s amazing what you can accomplish when you stop complaining about corporations going ‘woke’ and start giving a damn about real people and real lives.”

Walz also used his speech to promote his budget proposals. The House and Senate have been debating enormous $17.5 billion budget surplus. And he mentioned his support for bolstering funding for public schools.

The governor also highlighted his support for gun safety legislation that’s been advancing this session — background checks and a red flag law — after being blocked by Republicans for years.

“Minnesotans, and I especially amongst them, are not going to stand by and let people keep making this about the Second Amendment when it’s really about our first responsibility — keeping our children safe,” Walz said. “Be very clear: the time for hiding behind thoughts and prayers is long gone. What we need is action and we need it now.”

Republican legislative leaders told reporters afterward that they wanted to hear the governor support bigger tax cuts and more about fighting crime.

“What we saw was a national campaign speech out there, ignoring the needs of Minnesotans across this state,” Johnson said.

“With a record budget surplus of $17.5 billion, returning that to Minnesotans, reducing government, and the costs, is what our Minnesota residents are looking for,” said House Minority Leader Lisa Demuth, of Cold Spring.

But House Speaker Melissa Hortman, of Brooklyn Park, said she and her fellow Democrats came away inspired and share the governor’s apprehensions about what’s happening in Republican-led states.

“All you have to do is read in the newspaper what’s happening in some of these other states. It’s horrifying and it’s frightening,” Hortman said, citing abortion, trans rights and the culture wars. “It’s frightening and there is definitely a very big difference between red states and blue states right now.”

United States News

A report published by a Native American-led nonprofit examines the dispossession of $1.7 trillion w...

Associated Press

Report finds Colorado was built on $1.7 trillion of expropriated tribal lands

A report published by a Native American-led nonprofit examines the dispossession of $1.7 trillion worth of tribal homelands in Colorado.

3 minutes ago

Associated Press

Judge rejects religious leaders’ challenge of Missouri abortion ban

A Missouri judge has rejected the argument that lawmakers intended to “impose their religious beliefs on everyone” in the state when they passed a restrictive abortion ban. Judge Jason Sengheiser issued the ruling Friday in a case filed by more than a dozen Christian, Jewish and Unitarian Universalist leaders who support abortion rights. They sought […]

23 minutes ago

Associated Press

Malfunctioning steam room sets off alarm, prompts evacuation at Rhode Island YMCA

MIDDLETOWN, R.I. (AP) — A malfunctioning steam room at a YMCA in Rhode Island pumped out so much steam that it triggered an a sprinkler system alarm on Saturday morning, prompting an evacuation. In a statement, the Middletown Police Department said officials rushed to the Newport County YMCA in Middletown around 9 a.m. for a […]

4 hours ago

Associated Press

Think cicadas are weird? Check out superfans, who eat the bugs, use them in art and even striptease

FOREST PARK, Illinois (AP) — Mayumi Barrack sees a pair of mating periodical cicadas getting together, whips out her phone, says, “Hi guys!” and takes their picture. “I’m not really a bug person, but as I look more and more I feel they are adorable,” Barrack explained, noting that many other creatures — birds, squirrels, […]

9 hours ago

Associated Press

Police in Maine cancel shelter-in-place order after explosions and fire are reported

AUBURN, Maine (AP) — Police in Maine have canceled a shelter-in-place order in the city of Auburn after reporting that an armed person was in an area where a series of explosions and a house fire erupted early Saturday. The Auburn Police Department said on Facebook that the situation had been resolved and that there […]

10 hours ago

The Supreme Court on Friday struck down a Trump-era ban on bump stocks. (Photo by George Frey/Getty...

Associated Press

Supreme Court strikes down Trump-era ban on rapid-fire rifle bump stocks, reopening political fight

The Supreme Court on Friday struck down a Trump-era ban on bump stocks, the rapid-fire gun accessories used in the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.

19 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

COLLINS COMFORT MASTERS

Here are 5 things Arizona residents need to know about their HVAC system

It's warming back up in the Valley, which means it's time to think about your air conditioning system's preparedness for summer.

...

Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinics: transforming health care in the valley

Midwestern University, long a fixture of comprehensive health care education in the West Valley, is also a recognized leader in community health care.

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s 1 way to ensure your family is drinking safe water

Water is maybe one of the most important resources in our lives, and especially if you have kids, you want them to have access to safe water.

Minnesota Gov. Walz draws sharp contrasts with red states