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Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Walz hopeful about agenda in second term

During a post-election win news conference, Governor Tim Walz said that complete Democratic control of state government will enable his administration to implement a long-delayed progressive agenda. Walz gave few details on his top goals for the next months, perhaps because he was as stunned as other politicians by the result of what many believed would be a resounding Republican triumph.

Still, he said that possibilities exist. “There is a different dynamic in terms of a Senate that is not so much attempting to block (my) agenda as it is trying to drive it forward,” Walz said.

On the agenda, according to the DFL governor, are additional financing for schools and public safety, steps to reduce the impact of increasing inflation on families, the legalization of cannabis, and the codification of abortion rights in the Minnesota Constitution.

Some of his past proposals that are broadly popular among Minnesotans, such as so-called “red flag” gun control laws that would confiscate a person’s firearms if they pose a threat, “have a much better chance of passing” now that Minnesota Democrats control the state government for the first time since 2014, according to the former governor.

Walz said, “We will not allow things that Minnesotans need to delay.”

Last year, Walz advocated leveraging the state’s $9 billion budget surplus to provide households with rebate checks to mitigate the effects of inflation. Republicans in the Senate, who had their own tax reduction proposal, refused to go along. Later, Walz pledged to reduce income taxes and the state charge on Social Security payments, but neither compromise materialized. Wednesday, Walz expressed his want to “put money back in people’s wallets.”

Diverse interest groups demand that Walz and the DFL-controlled legislature implement their agenda. Education Minnesota, a staunch friend of the former educator, interpreted the election results without delay.

Denise Specht, president of Education Minnesota, stated, “The mandate is clear for the governor and the leadership of the House and Senate to come together and pass the multibillion-dollar investment in public schools required to provide every student with personal attention from their educators, a healthy learning environment, and access to world-class educators in every classroom.” “Minnesota’s citizens and educators want nothing less.”

Walz said that his goals are reflected in the $52 billion budget he presented last year, which includes tax hikes on rich Minnesotans and big companies, support for businesses impacted by COVID-19, and more education spending.

Walz said, “You can look at the things we said we wanted to do; we’re going to achieve them.”

Regarding his victory on Tuesday, Walz said that his optimistic message and policy plans helped drive him to victory. He also attributed his support for abortion rights and the support of younger Minnesotans, especially Generation Z, who exceeded expectations in this year’s midterm election.

Walz highlighted that he wants to guarantee that the majority of Minnesotans, even those who did not vote for him, benefit from his initiatives.

“My optimism and feeling of hope are not only the result of winning the election,” Walz said. “It validates how we won this election… by rejecting a nasty and divided vision of Minnesota.”

Cedric Blackwater
Cedric Blackwater
Cedric is a journalist with over a decade of experience reporting on local US news, and touching on many global topics. He is currently the lead writer for Bulletin News.

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