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Pawlenty launches anti-DFL campaign

Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty has launched a new campaign.

It is not for re-election, or even for the vice presidency, something many think may be in his future. This one is against Democratic legislators.

The Republican governor's campaign committee is buying radio spots complaining about Democratic-Farmer-Laborite tax increase proposals.

"When you finish a diet program, you don't celebrate by going to the all-you-can-eat buffet," a soft female voice says to open the commercial. "When you finally pay off your credit cards, you don't go on a spending spree. But that's exactly what Democrats at the state Capitol want to do with Minnesota's budget."

At the end, Pawlenty himself chimes in: "Call your legislators and tell them you are taxed enough."

His campaign Web site ( goes even further. It gives supporters a five-step program to fight DFL tax plans, including encouraging Minnesotans to write letters to the editor and, of course, it explains how to contribute to the Pawlenty campaign.

Partisan exchange

Most of the first three months of Minnesota's legislative session has been civil, but not all the time.

Take, for instance, an exchange in a recent committee hearing.

House Majority Leader Tony Sertich, DFL-Chisholm, accused Republicans of doing GOP Gov. Tim Pawlenty's work. "The governor says 'jump' and you say 'how high?'"

But Rep. Steve Sviggum, R-Kenyon, delivered a quick reply: "I'm proud to be the governor's water boy."

Vet memorial

The state would provide transportation to any Minnesota World War II veteran who wants to attend a June 9 war memorial dedication if Rep. Tim Faust, DFL-Mora, gets his way.

A provision in a larger bill due soon in the full House provides funding for the transportation plan. The World War II memorial is being built in front of the state Capitol.

"World War II veterans answered their country's call like no other generation," Faust said. "It's only fitting that as many of these veterans as possible have the opportunity to attend as we honor their service."

About 50,000 World War II veterans remain in Minnesota.

More E-85

U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar is working to get more E-85 pumps installed.

In a letter co-signed by 11 other senators, congressional agricultural leaders are encouraged to provide federal funding for installing the pumps.

The Minnesota Democrat said Minnesota is the country's leader in selling E-85 fuel, a blend of 85 percent corn-based ethanol and 15 percent gasoline, but other states need to sell more. Of the 170,000 gasoline stations in the country, fewer than 1,200 sell E-85, she said.

A quarter of the country's E-85 pumps are in Minnesota.

Don Davis
Don Davis has been the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau chief since 2001, covering state government and politics for two dozen newspapers in the state. Don also blogs at Capital Chatter on Areavoices.