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2015 Session:Lost Opportunities for Dems Thanks To Sen. Bakk

Category: Mark Dayton
Posted: 06/09/15 20:22, Edited: 06/09/15 20:24

by Dave Mindeman

Governor Dayton decided to end his holdout on the State Auditor language and press ahead on some other issues prior to a special session.

I expected this would happen. Although I admire the Governor's intentions and motives, he was sitting out on a limb without the key support he needed.

And when I say support, I mean Majority Leader Tom Bakk.

Time after time in this legislative session, Tom Bakk has undermined DFL positions. When the Democrats should have had the higher degree of influence, Senator Bakk was dealing with the other side for a different agenda.

The Commissioner salary issue was only the beginning. In nearly every instance in regards to policy, Governor Dayton and the House Democrats were on their own.

Senator Bakk advocates for his region. And that, by itself, is fine - in fact, admirable. But he is supposed to be in a more general leadership position. He has a responsibility to work with the House minority and the Governor. But way to often he was at odds with one or the other or both.

His "deal" making with Daudt gave the House Republicans a much more persuasive argument about bipartisan stances and the wrong type of united front in confronting the Governor on end of session positions.

The Governor stood alone. The House minority gamely tried to give Dayton support, but, as we well know, a House minority has little opportunity to have an impact on final negotiations.

Which brings us back to Bakk once more. If he had stood with the House, their ideas would have had more influence and merit. And if Bakk had even tried to stand with the Governor's positions, better compromises would have been possible.

The session was disappointing and a large step backward from the progress that was made inn 2014.

Bakk has not been very visible during these last days - probably because he would have to be continuously explaining why he gave tacit approval to the House GOP's agenda.

Democrats need to remember this. I hope the rank and file Senators in the DFL caucus are not damaged by this ridiculous personal power play by a man who uses power for personal politics.

Democrats could have gone into 2016 with a renewed opportunity to take back control of the reins of government. But thanks to Bakk, we now have to hope we can hold on to what we still have.

Democrats deserved better than this. Governor Dayton deserved better than this.

As for Bakk, let's consider this a lesson learned that this man cannot be trusted.

Now we have to try to move ahead with damage control.
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