Lower tuition is priority for DFL candidates

Coralie Carlson

Hubert H. “Skip” Humphrey III’s running mate delved into the college lifestyle with pizza and pop before revealing his plans to keep college costs down to a group of University students Thursday night.
Roger Moe, Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor, promised investments in the University’s budget and a financial aid tax credit to about 35 students at a College Democrats meeting in Coffman Union.
Humphrey and Moe face Republican Norm Coleman and Reform Party candidate Jesse Ventura in the race for governor.
Moe, the Minnesota Senate majority leader and a former math teacher, said he wants increasing the University’s rank to become a state goal.
“We’d like to have the whole University up or near the top — and that takes investment,” he said.
The candidate said a Democratic administration would deliver cash for buildings and instruction on campus. By supplying money to the University, school officials can keep tuition down, he said.
Moe also told about Humphrey’s proposed tax break for students. The $1,000 tax credit would supplement the federal HOPE scholarship, a $1,500 rebate for lower- and middle- income college students who just graduated from high school.
Moe criticized Gov. Arne Carlson’s record on education funding. Although Carlson supported the University’s $242.8 million budget package passed in the spring, Moe cited four instances in which Carlson vetoed previous higher education spending bills.
“Arne Carlson was good to the University one year out of eight,” he said.
College Democrats ate up Moe’s message.
“We’re on the verge of a new era in Minnesota in which working families and education will be put first,” said Adam Tillotson, College of Liberal Arts sophomore and president of the College Democrats.
In the Senate, Moe has filled one of the most powerful positions in the state Legislature for the last 18 years. He has served in the Senate since 1970. He said he would give up his Senate career for the lieutenant governorship because Humphrey wants to work as partners — Moe would do more than cut ribbons and attend funerals.
For example, Moe said he would take a more hands-on approach to get the governor’s agenda passed in the Legislature.
“I know the Legislature. I know how it works. I think I bring that to this administration,” he said.
Moe added that he and Humphrey complement each other in their areas of expertise. Humphrey specializes in health care and consumer fraud policies, while Moe focuses on education and budgetary projects.
The pair have also discussed appointing the lieutenant governor to be commissioner of a state agency, Moe said.
“That’s why we’ll have a good relationship, because he won’t be afraid of the lieutenant governor,” he explained.
Brian Shekleton, a public policy graduate student at the Humphrey Institute, said he was excited to see the state senator speak.
“They’re constantly on the road — just to see them is kind of lucky,” Shekleton said. “It’s not often you get him in a small room where you can ask one-on-one questions.”
College Democrats quizzed Moe on topics ranging from farm policies to housing shortages to child care during the open-forum meeting. Afterward many students signed up to help his campaign by registering voters and staffing information tables.
“We just think this is a natural constituency for us,” Moe said. “These are people that know of the critical nature of the campaign.”