The following is a press release from North Star Tea Party Patriots.
ROCHESTER, Minnesota (July 14, 2011) - The Tea Party rallied dozens of protesters to an event attended by Governor Mark Dayton on Wednesday. The roundtable forum held at the Rochester Senior Center provided an opportunity for voters to confront the governor about the ongoing state government shutdown, now the longest of its kind in American history.
Cindy Maves, coordinator of the Rochester Tea Party Patriots, indicated the group was eager to send a message to the governor. "We waited for him outside with our signs and shouted 'sign the bills' as he entered the building," she said. Maves referenced several budget bills passed by the Republican controlled legislature and vetoed by the governor in favor of a shutdown.
The roundtable was populated by the disabled and caretakers of the disabled. Each took turns bemoaning alleged budget cuts, in spite of the fact the budget vetoed by Dayton increased state spending by 12%. "The audience was largely populated by unions and the DFL," Maves said. "[State] Representative Kim Norton [DFL-29B], who facilitated the meeting, kept trying to frame the discussion as 'about health care for seniors and the disabled--not about taxes or the budget.'"
"If only those topics were mutually exclusive," commented Walter Hudson, chair of North Star Tea Party Patriots, the statewide coalition of which the Rochester group is a part. "The question is not whether health care is good, but good for whom and at whose expense."
One day after House Republicans urged the governor to call a special session and finalize negotiations on six budget bills which would put state employees back to work and restore services to Minnesotans, Dayton claimed they were unwilling to meet with him. "It was pointed out that the legislature asked for a special session and a 'lights on bill' repeatedly--before the shutdown," Maves reported. "Funny, he had no comment."