minnesotans are on their second day without a functioning state government as the democratic governor and republican lawmakers still cannot agree on how to fill a $5 billion budget hole.
last week i spoke to over 50 minnesota residents (part of my new job includes financial/pr support for al franken’s political campaign and the minnesota DFL house caucus). on the phone thursday evening, at least five people told me - point blank - that if governor dayton and the republican-dominated legislature didn’t reach some sort of budget compromise in four hours (which they obviously didn’t), that they would be jobless by friday morning.
i spoke to a senior citizen literally months away from her retirement, a single mother trying to scrape together enough money to put a meal on her table each night, and an older gentleman celebrating his 55th wedding anniversary. the man reminded me that if the government did in fact shut down for the 4th of july weekend, that it wasn’t governor dayton nor his stubborn GOP opponents who were going to suffer: it would have the greatest impact on the state’s most vulnerable,
ending reading services for the blind, silencing a help line for the elderly and stopping child care subsidies for the poor.
i keep replaying the conversations in my head, hoping the minnesotans most affected by this childish situation have loving and supportive extended families with whom to share their anxiety and frustration. if nothing else, i hope they all have a friendly voice on the other end of some telephone somewhere - someone with a few minutes to spare.