Ventura outlines Big Plan

Erin Ghere

Gov. Jesse Ventura said Thursday morning that his actions as the state’s leader will outshine his outspoken nature.
“I give you my word, my actions will speak louder than my words ever will,” Ventura told more than 300 state policy-makers at the Earle Brown Center on the St. Paul campus.
Ventura outlined his Big Plan during his keynote address at the 15th Annual Conference on Policy Analysis, Priorities, Practices and Politics.
The plan’s policy goals, revealed throughout the past month, include individual self-sufficiency and making Minnesota a world competitor.
Ventura said his four-part vision would guide the actions and intentions of the executive branch throughout his administration.
But because his plan is vague so far, he has come under criticism. He responded by asking policy-makers for ideas.
“Go ahead. Be frustrated,” Ventura said. “Good ideas come from frustration.”
“My challenge to you today is to join me in thinking new about your jobs,” Ventura said.
But Ventura said the ideas should focus on improving old programs and avoid spending more money.
“Your ideas are valued but have to be paid for by the taxpayers,” Ventura told the group. “You must value the relationship with the taxpayers; you are in service to them.”
Ventura said his first priority is to run the best executive branch the state has ever seen. He said his former opponent Hubert “Skip” Humphrey III told Ventura he had the best cabinet in the country. Ventura said he had put each member through his 12-step Republican-Democrat recovery program.
“I’m not here for the politics,” he said. “I’m willing to wait 20 years for my administration to be judged.”
Ventura said jokingly that he hopes to continually work on his goals during the next “three — or seven — years.”
Showing support for the University, Ventura said he and University President Mark Yudof would “show that a Texan and a Minnesotan can fight together.”
Yudof said he and other University officials looked forward to continued collaboration with Ventura and his state commissioners.
Calling him a “major supporter of education,” Yudof thanked Ventura for backing the University’s biennial budget request last year.
The University received $119 million from the state last year, although it requested $198 million. Additionally, a large portion of the University’s capital request this session would borrow state money through bonding bills, which Ventura has outspokenly discouraged.
Darwin Hendel, a University senior analyst and chairman of the conference’s planning committee, gave the governor a maroon-and-gold University flag in honor of Beautiful U day.
As Ventura towered a foot above him, Yudof joked that the governor’s address would not include an endorsement of Reform Party presidential candidate Pat Buchanan. Buchanan, who Ventura does not support as the Reform Party’s candidate, was signing books Thursday in the Twin Cities.
Of his speech before 300 policy anaylsts, Ventura joked, “This is not something a person thinks about before he becomes governor.”
The Minnesota Economic Group — part of the Minnesota Department of Children, Families and Learning — sponsored the event. The group also periodically reports to the governor regarding the state’s economic status.
Hendel said nearly two-thirds of the 316 conference attendees were state officials and legislators. Others included higher-education, city, county and nonprofit group leaders.
“This group represents A to Z in the policy world,” Hendel said.

Erin Ghere covers faculty and state government and welcomes comments at [email protected] She can also be reached at (612) 627-4070 x3217.