Sunday liquor sales? Nicollet: Yes. Johnson: Yes. Dayton: Yes
The next question has to do with the Destination Medical Center project, which is meant to boost Rochester. Question: Do you agree with how the DMC was structured as a way to promote economic development and would you support similar projects elsewhere?
Nicollet: She says there's a larger issue with the DMC, which is that members of the Dayton administration aren't working together.
Johnson: "The DMC is very good for Minnesota." But Johnson adds that he would have defined infrastructure differently, which is what the state is paying for.
Johnson says he would support similar DMC projects as long as there's universal agreement over what infrastructure means.
Nicollet: she also would support similar DMC projects.
The DMC answers were a good segue into a question about the candidates' transportation visions.
Johnson says we don't spend enough money on roads. He says the Dayton administration has focused transportation on rail, but the money would be better invested in repairing roads, which more people use.
Johnson also said he would support more significant bonding when it comes to transportation projects that focus on roads and bridges.
Dayton agrees with Johnson that the state needs to increase bonding capacity for transportation projects. He says that what the state takes in in transportation taxes to maintain roads is barely enough. He wants more money to improve the state's transportation system.
Annnnd... we got the first mention of the Senate Office Building. Johnson said the state is more focused on projects like that when it should be focused on roads and bridges.
Next question: Employers say they can't find qualified job candidates. What would you do to tackle this problem?
Dayton: We need to do better training starting in junior high and high school. But Dayton also points out that job growth is happening in Minnesota.
Nicollet: She starts her response by saying again that she would support the corporate tax. And she brings up bringing broadband to rural areas and closing the achievement gap. "We attack education, we go after the business taxes that have been prohibitive" and job growth will come.
Johnson: He goes back to a recent report that shows Minnesota has the worst job growth in the Midwest.
Johnson is really making a pitch to rural voters tonight. In his answer about job growth, he said the problem is particularly bad in greater Minnesota. Johnson said the state needs a "cheerleader" for rural parts of the state.
Dayton jumps to PolyMet, a mining project in northern Minnesota that has taken years to approve. Dayton says he doesn't want to ignore environmental concerns. Johnson says the project needs to get pushed through. Nicollet supports mining.
We're already at closing statements?! Nicollet goes first, Johnson then Dayton.
Nicollet: As the third party candidate, "This is the only debate that I've been confirmed to participate in." She is using the time to tell voters about herself. She's a mother of two, and a software developer. She said "I love to solve problems."
Nicollet: On being governor - "This is absolutely my dream job. I'd rather be governor of Minnesota than President of the United States."
Johnson says his vision for Minnesota is on where everyone has access to a good paying, full-time job. He also bashes talk about Minnesota's wealthiest. Closing remarks get big cheers.
Dayton: before he launches in to closing remarks, he said that Nicollet should be invited to all the debates.
In his closing remarks, Dayton says that he was inspired to run in 2009 because the state was "headed in the wrong direction." He's rattling off a list of things he believes are accomplishments: closing the budget gap by raising taxes on the wealthiest, all-day kindergarten and early childhood education. "That's the vision I have of the state and that's the one I wish to continue as governor."
And that's it! The candidates are shaking hands and the crowd is clapping.
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