Coleman starts campaign with call for tax cuts

Brian Close

After months of speculation, St. Paul Mayor Norm Coleman announced Sunday that he would seek the Republican endorsement for governor of Minnesota.
“I announce to you today that I want to serve the people of Minnesota as their governor,” Coleman told an audience of about 400 spectators aboard the Harriet Bishop Paddleboat on the banks of the Mississippi River.
While Coleman did not mention higher education in his speech, he later made comments about the value of the University to the state.
But Coleman announced he would focus on limiting government and lowering taxes.
“In my first year as governor, there will be a significant and permanent tax cut for Minnesotans,” he said.
Coleman also addressed welfare, saying the current system makes people dependent and discourages work.
“Welfare does all the wrong things for all the right reasons,” he said, and promised that Minnesota would be a leader in welfare reform.
Coleman, who changed his political affiliation from Minnesota’s Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party to the Republican Party last year, assured the audience he was proud to be a Republican, pledging to support whomever the party chose to represent them.
This received praise from Republicans in the audience, who said his support would strengthen the party’s chances.
Coleman also assured the people of St. Paul that he would not abandon them.
“I will only be moving my home and office a few blocks, and you will have the best friend in the state Capitol that you have ever had,” he said, drawing applause.
Many audience members later praised Coleman’s speech.
Minneapolis resident David Moe said Coleman’s support for tax reduction and welfare change was right on target.
“He talked specifically about what Minnesota needs,” Moe said.
Another audience member, Marsie Leier, also agreed with Coleman’s priorities for the state.
“I don’t think there is a Minnesotan that can disagree with them,” she said.
After the speech, Coleman briefly discussed the value of higher education.
“The University is one of the strongest engines of development in the state,” he said. “I will do all I can to build a strong educational system.”
Others expected to compete for the Republican endorsement are Lt. Gov. Joanne Benson, state Sen. Roy Terwilliger, R-Edina, local businessman Dick Borrell, and former state legislator Allen Quist.