Sharing state power will be challenging

For the past eight years, the state government has been split in half between DFLers in control of the Legislature and a Republican governor. Now, we are about to embark on a new challenge. As a result of the 1998 election, state government will be shared three ways for at least the next two years.
Gov.-elect Jesse Ventura is affiliated with the Reform Party, which remains unrepresented among the 201 members of the Legislature. Republicans have gained control of the House, and the Senate remains firmly in the control of DFLers. Although unusual, this situation has a precedent — even in Minnesota.
We have a strong tradition of rocking the boat when the two major parties have failed to meet expectations. The populist Farmer-Labor Party was a major factor in state politics for a quarter century between the two world wars. Out of that period of great change came many important policy ideas that had a national impact, and great Minnesota leaders who had national and international influence.
Eventually, the Farmer-Laborites joined the Democrats to form the DFL Party. In my opinion, Democrats historically have been more receptive to new ideas and more willing to respond when voters have sent the message that the status quo is not acceptable. It is my hope that DFLers will respond in a positive way once again.
Although Gov.-elect Ventura does not take office until January, this is an extremely busy time as he prepares to take over the state’s executive branch. He has already named his transition team and an informal group of policy advisers. In the coming weeks, he will have to name dozens of department and agency heads who will make up his cabinet. Setting a course for public policies will follow, and a state budget for the next two years must be prepared within a few weeks of taking office.
It is my hope that outgoing Gov. Arne Carlson will assist the new administration to the fullest extent possible with the transition. I have met with Gov.-elect Ventura and promised him my full cooperation. In that meeting, it was heartening for me to hear the governor-elect stress the need for quality public schools and smaller class sizes. We also agreed to strive for efficient delivery of public services. The new leaders in the House have also indicated their willingness to help assure a smooth transition process for Gov.-elect Ventura.
Although it is certain that Senate and House leaders will have disagreements on a number of public policy issues, it is my hope that we will work out our differences in good faith, and find common ground resulting in innovative compromises.
The surprising results of the 1998 election have focused national attention on Minnesota. We are facing an unusual challenge. However, after traveling the state for the last five months, I have been reaffirmed of what a great state Minnesota is and all that it has to offer. For my part, I intend to work with the new governor and act in the best interests of all Minnesotans. That is what Minnesota’s voters expect and deserve.
Roger Moe, DFL-Erskine, is the state Senate majority leader. He ran as a DFL candidate for lieutenant governor in the general election.