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Anderson’s hope for bipartisanship faded

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District 12A state Rep. Paul Anderson

By Reed Anfinson
“The whole session was frustrating,” District 12A Minnesota House Rep. Paul Anderson said of the recently completed legislative session. “The last night of session was surprising and frustrating.
“As Republicans, we tend to deliberate and slow things down. They are the party that is in control, the DFL, they run it. They did what they had to do to get their things done,” he said.
District 12A House includes all of Swift, Stevens, and Big Stone counties, most of Pope County, and 12 townships in western Stearns County.
Anderson, who farms south of Lake Minnewaska in Pope County, has filed for reelection. So far, he doesn’t have an opponent. In his 2022 race, he won with 71.1% of the vote.
Minnesota’s Democratic-Farmer-Labor (DFL) Party controlled the state Senate by one vote, 34 to 33. In the House, the DFL had a six member majority with 70 of 134 seats. With Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz also a Democrat, the DFL had full control of the Legislature for the 2023-2024 biennium. That control allowed it to set the agenda for what would pass into law and what wouldn’t.
“I think we need to somehow try to find how to get along better and plan better to have endings that are better in terms of image but also we didn’t get some things done that I think are critical for rural Minnesota,” Anderson said.
Democrats angered Republicans as they pushed through at 2,860-page omnibus bill that was a compilation of many other bills introduced during the session in its final days.
“I am very, very proud of the work that we’ve done over the last two years,” said Senate Majority Leader Erin Murphy is quoted by MinnPost. But she acknowledged the chaos triggered by the DFL tactic.
“I don’t like when we get to the end of the session and we experience what we experienced tonight,” she is quoted. “I don’t think anybody does. But nor do we like or appreciate when people use hours and hours of repetitive debate and repetitive questioning to slow the debate down. They’re both barriers to the work we need to do for the people of Minnesota.”
Republicans saw it differently.
House Minority Leader Lisa Demuth said.
“What you just witnessed, what just happened in the House of Representatives in the state of Minnesota, I would have never expected,” House Minority Leader Republican Lisa Demuth told MinnPost. “The minority voice was shut down by the Democratic majority.”
Anderson said that as a result of the acrimony in the final days of the session, there was needed legislation that didn’t pass.
A bonding bill for infrastructure improvements in the state and for public building upgrades or expansions didn’t pass. It means that the University of Minnesota – Morris will miss out on funding for its facilities.
Another bonding provision would have helped out the City of Litchfield with handling the discharge from First District Association. First District was relying on improvements in Litchfield to help it continue to serve the region’s dairy farms. The impact of Litchfield not getting the fund could have an impact on hundreds of dairy farms, Anderson said.
“I would be in favor of some sort of special legislation or special session to get that money out so that First District can maintain its production,” he said.

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