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Minnesota Governor Candidates at Economic Development Association

NISSWA -- The state’s gubernatorial candidates -- with the notable exception of Tim Pawlenty -- converged on the Grand View Lodge in Nisswa Thursday afternoon to tackle economics. Though this was hardly a superficial take on the subject reminiscent of an introductory course in Econ 101 -- the candidates, including DFLers state Attorney General Lori Swanson, Rep. Tim Walz, D-Mankato, and state Rep. Erin Murphy, DFL-St. Paul, as well as Republican St. Louis County Commissioner Jeff Johnson, were asked to expound on a number of complex topics that look to shape much of Minnesota’s future. In their opening remarks at the Economic Development Association of Minnesota’s 2018 Summer Conference session -- billed as “All Things Legislative: What to Expect Moving Forward” -- each candidate was invited to introduce their compulsions for running and their general economic positions as gubernatorial hopefuls. Murphy: The DFL-endorsed candidate for governor pointed to a career of service in the state Legislature -- under both GOP and DFL governors -- as well as an upbringing that emphasized the wellbeing of people. “I grew up in a family who taught me about a powerful kind of politics about improving people’s lives,” Murphy said in her opening remarks. “And when we use that together as Minnesotans we can build a future for the people of Minnesota. That’s exactly what I want to do as this state’s next governor and I want to do it with you.” Johnson: “I came to give people more control over their own money, more control over their own businesses, and over their own kids and education, and over their own health care,” said the St. Louis County Commissioner, who often challenged what he sees as a state hostile to business, a product of bloated, overbearing government agencies and regulations that hurt the endeavors of individual entrepreneurs. Walz: The former high school teacher and former enlisted soldier extolled on Minnesota’s strongest resource -- it’s people -- and said he would push for bipartisan coalitions that build up the workforce in a holistic manner, through improving wages, working conditions, infrastructure, health care, housing, etc. “The highest measure (for prosperity) is quality of life,” Walz said. “Are our people happy and safe and have opportunities?” Swanson: The three-term Minnesota state attorney said government plays a vital role in ensuring people have the right social foundation -- from cradle to grave -- to pursue a secure, prosperous life. “That’s what it’s really about,” said Swanson, who touted her credentials as a “problem solver” in this regard. “It’s making sure people can have a shot at a decent job, they can pay the bills, that they can have health care that isn't going to bankrupt their families, they their children can get a good, affordable education and that someday when they retire they can have a pension and a dignified retirement.”