Kelliher for DFL ticket

In politics and policy, Margaret Anderson Kelliher is best for the DFL.

Minnesotans go to the polls Tuesday to choose who will compete for the governorship. DFLers trying to win a governorâÄôs race for the first time since most students were born face a three-way choice between some of the more experienced politicians in the race. Yet they must nominate the candidate with the ideas necessary to pull the state out of its upcoming $6 billion budget deficit. That candidate is Margaret Anderson Kelliher. 
Since funding determines the level of services the state can provide âÄî education, health care, safety âÄî any candidate who wants to make changes in these areas must be able to find a way to pay for them.  The key question for the upcoming DFL primary is simple: Who among the candidates has a solid plan for the state of Minnesota and the political acumen to implement it?
The Editorial Board interviewed every candidate and we think Kelliher has the smartest approach to filling the $6 billion budget gap. In the new budget cycle, she plans to cover the shortfall through 40 percent revenue increases, 30 percent spending cuts and 30 percent in spending shifts. Mark DaytonâÄôs budget plan relies largely on 80 percent revenue from taxes on those making more than $130,000 a year and 20 percent budget cuts. He did not say where the other 20 percent needed to reach $6 billion would come from, and itâÄôs unrealistic to think these increases would pass in the Legislature.
Dayton is the most liberal of the three, and his political record and lack of experience in the statehouse damage his electability. Whether Time magazineâÄôs unfortunate 2006 label of him as one of the five worst U.S. senators has merit matters less than how he explains to voters that it does not. What he told us was that he was one of the only senators to vote against the Iraq war. Minnesota needs a candidate experienced in the complexities of balancing the state budget âÄî and rallying the support to do so. Dayton hasnâÄôt even taken that test here.
We found KelliherâÄôs ideas for the University to be veritably fresh. She sees the University as an engine for growth, but she acknowledged that professors here still actually need to teach. Hence, Kelliher, who has children about to attend college, said she would fight for increased support of public instructional costs. âÄúUnless youâÄôre supporting public instructional costs, youâÄôre not going to be able to shave back that tuition,âÄù she told us.
Like the other two candidates, she called for tuition increases here to remain at the rate of inflation. Kelliher also said she wants to put pressure on central offices at the University and state college system to cut administrative costs, a reform needed here at the University.
We do like Matt Entenza, the former DFL House minority leader whose campaign centerpiece is education. His call for abandoning a failed policy, No Child Left Behind, is admirable. But Minnesota would lose hundreds of millions of dollars in federal education money by withdrawing from the law. That would cripple a state already facing billions of dollars in repayments to schools. Kelliher would push MinnesotaâÄôs Congressional Delegation for reform of No Child Left Behind.
Entenza, a sharp policy wonk who founded the smart liberal thinktank Minnesota 2020, does not differ much from Kelliher in policy. Yet his campaign conduct does. The decision to select former Fox 9 news anchor Robyne Robinson âÄî who has no political experience âÄî as his lieutenant governor contrasts sharply with KelliherâÄôs pick of John Gunyou, a former finance commissioner. Entenza is also the only candidate on the DFL side who refused to release a detailed financial disclosure statement. He told us that he followed all of MinnesotaâÄôs campaign disclosure requirements, but those requirements are some of the weakest in the nation. We want a governor who values, in action and not rhetoric, transparency, especially about him or herself.
Kelliher did release a detailed financial disclosure statement, but there wasnâÄôt much there to find: She is, by a long shot, the least wealthy candidate on the DFL side. Her humble and hardworking life story is sure to connect with voters âÄî she grew up in a farming family in southern Minnesota âÄî and we hope she has a chance to tell it in the general election.