When Mark Dayton walked into Open Circle Church in Burnsville a couple minutes after 7:00 pm, he walked over to me, reached his hand out, said “hi” and introduced himself as “Mark Dayton.” There were about 20 people there at the time, but the crowd would grow to more than 30 before his presentation was done.
Mark Dayton does not look like the typical candidate. While some candidates wear business shirt and tie, with sleeves rolled up to look casual, Mark Dayton came to a speech wearing tan pants, a short sleeved, mostly purple plaid shirt, that didn’t really fit all that well, and oddly, a royal blue t-shirt underneath it. He looked casual and comfortable, but not that fake casual look politicians like Tim Pawlenty try to pull off to look like a common man.
Despite the non-politician appearance, Sen. Dayton came to speak as part of mnpACT!’s ongoing series featuring candidates for governor. He gave a very good speech, stressing that he knows how government works, doesn’t work, and how it should work. He talked about health care. The day before, he had a root canal, and didn’t find out his insurance wouldn’t cover it until he was at the dentist with a mouth full of Novocain. People find that out all the time with their healthcare. They run up a $30,000 bill for a medical emergency, and don’t find out until after the fact that their insurance won’t cover it. Dayton advocated for single payer healthcare. And stressed how immoral it is to not provide efficient healthcare for people, rather than for healthcare for profits.
Speaking of healthcare, a heavily lobbied for industry in St. Paul, a question came up about the unnaturally high number of lobbyists in Minnesota. Mark Dayton pointed out that after dealing with Washington lobbyists, he would have no problem dealing with them at the Capitol.
Dayton answered questions about is decision to close his office for a time in Washington, discussed ESL ideas, and commented that the wealthiest Minnesotans can afford a tax increase.
In the end, Mark Dayton gave a great presentation. His facial expressions sometimes throw me off, I don’t believe he is, but his eyes and smile sometimes make him seem uncomfortable. I don’t think he is uncomfortable, I just think those are his mannerism, unfortunately, some people find his smile a little creepy or his eyes worried or unsure about things. That isn’t going to change, that is who he is. As I said in a previous post, I really think he cares about people and is interested in people. This appearance didn’t change that. I would have liked him to speak longer in a speech format instead of cutting it short to take questions. As is often the case, I get thrown, and even annoyed by some of the crowd’s ramblings during the question and answer periods at events like this. The energy of a great candidate presentation, often gets bogged down during these parts. I am not saying some great points and questions were not contributed, I just think that period let’s a little air out of the tire.
After staying a little late Mark Dayton rushed out to visit his father who had been admitted to the hospital earlier in the day. I made note that he left in a shiny, black Ford Explorer with an E85 sticker on it. Probably not an important detail, but I like to add little things like that.
Mark Dayton’s quote of the night:
“The path this state is on now (under Pawlenty) I might have to move to a nice progressive state like Mississippi to retire.”
The June event will feature Steve Kelley and Susan Gaertner on June 12th at Open Circle Church in Burnsville, 7:00 pm. Check out the mnpACT! Website for more information.