Lt. Gov. Mae Schunk had to ask her husband about Jesse Ventura when his campaign committee recruited her to be his running mate.
Schunk’s husband showed her a photograph of the former wrestler with his long, bleached hair and feather boa.
“I always thought wrestling was a foolish sport,” Schunk told about 40 people Thursday afternoon at the Hubert H. Humphrey Center.
The state’s second-in-command also talked about education, politics, the upcoming presidential campaign and the governor’s trip to Japan.
As a first-time politician, Schunk said she feels common sense is necessary for good government.
“Common sense is doing what you feel in your heart,” she said.
Schunk said she has often jumped party lines to vote for the “right” candidate.
The lieutenant governor opposes former Republican Pat Buchanan’s recent switch to the Reform Party because he doesn’t fit the party’s platform. But Schunk added she is confident the Reform Party will make the right choice.
“Right now, everybody is throwing their hat in,” Schunk said.
In her first year in office, Schunk has visited more than 100 schools, and said elected officials should “do what is best for kids.”
“I only made one campaign promise: to visit every district in the state,” she said.
Schunk also commented Thursday about state educational policy.
She said graduation requirements are necessary, but she is critical of their implementation. The latest plan was forced upon teachers and students too quickly, she said.
Additionally, Schunk wants to lower class-size ratios to 17 students per teacher. She also wants parents to have more involvement in their students’ studies.
Dean Harve, a political science sophomore and secretary of the Undergraduate Political Science Association, said he agrees with Schunk about maintaining high student standards.
“It’s a conflict between having standards and teachers having the freedom to do what they want,” Harve said.
He said school administrations need to find a “happy medium.”
Schunk also proposed improving teacher education.
Elementary-education majors should spend the first three years in the college classroom, but also spend more time at the schools, interacting with children.
In the fourth year, education majors should work with students and teachers as elementary-school apprentices, she said.
While Schunk is touring Minnesota, Gov. Ventura has been touring Japan. Schunk said Gov. Ventura’s Japan visit will strengthen existing agricultural ties between Japan and Minnesota.
Steve LeBeau, a Schunk spokesman, said Ventura is popular in Japan and is well known from his days as a professional wrestler.
“They broadcasted Ventura’s inauguration live,” LeBeau said.
When Schunk asked the governor for advice in his absence, he told her to be careful of the media.
Thomas Douty welcomes comments at [email protected] He can also be reached at (612) 627-4070 x3223.