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The Senate Office Building and the posturing of the minority

Complaints aside, what exactly would the Senate minority have done to solve the space issue?

Now that the Senate Office Building is nearing completion and ready for use, the Senate GOP wants to continue to complain and milk those complaints as a campaign issue indefinitely.
MinnPost photo by Briana Bierschbach

Senate Minority Leader David Hann has been curmudgeonly complaining about the “lavish” Senate office building for more than a year. He and his caucus are planning a kind of boycott of the building by staying in their current digs in the State Office Building. 

Yes, Hann is going to teach that Senate Majority a lesson. He is going to rob them of any Republican presence in the new building. What will the Democrats do?

Well, probably they will pick out the prime office space and go about their business. And since the 2016 Senate sessions will be held in the new building (because the renovation has forced them out of the Capitol), I guess the Republicans will get some exercise walking back and forth — and hope they don’t forget something in their office. (Might see interns beating a path between the buildings keeping up with that.)

But Hann’s complaints are a continuation of a Republican pattern. They continue their “no is the only answer” response to pretty much everything and then just expect somebody else to fix the problem.

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When the Senate office building was proposed, the need for the space was not in question. The Capitol renovation would be booting the resident majority Senators out of the space and the opportunity to have all the Senators housed in one building presented itself. The old State Office Building is probably still serviceable for awhile longer, but not without additional upkeep and renovation expense. So why not pool the money into a new building that will maintain the Senate for another hundred years. Yes, Sen. Bakk probably got carried away with his office wish list, but that was justifiably walked back. 

So now that the building is nearing completion and ready for use, the Senate GOP wants to continue to complain and milk those complaints as a campaign issue indefinitely.

Still, complaints aside, what exactly would the Senate minority have done to solve the space issue? Yes, they could continue in their current digs, but where would the other 40 plus Senators go? Senator Hann did not offer a Plan B to the “lavish” Senate office building. I mean a complaint is only legitimate if you have a better solution.

That seems to be the MN GOP modus operandi — MNsure, Medicaid, Senate Office Building, Transportation, Education — the same pattern presents itself. They vote no and then complain about what gets done, without ever putting something on record that provides an alternative.

My guess, when all is said and done, that the GOP Minority senators will end up trudging their way over to the new building and setting up shop. They will, of course, have to take up the leftover space because of the “hold out,” but even that will probably be an improvement on their aging space in the State Office Building.

When we finally get past all of the posturing maybe, just maybe the legislature can get back to doing what they are supposed to be doing — the people’s business.

This post was written by Dave Mindeman and originally published on mnpACT! Progressive Political Blog. Follow Dave on Twitter: @newtbuster.

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