Governor Tim Pawlenty spoke to businesspeople from two dozen states at Minnesota’s historic Grandview Lodge in Nisswa. Before his speech, we spoke one on one for several minutes. Pawlenty confirmed he had a “private meeting” with the Republican-endorsed candidate for governor Tom Emmer last week in advance of Emmer’s staff shake ups. Pawlenty said “The tailwind is at Emmer’s back and he has to take advantage of that opportunity.” Moving past Tuesday’s primary Pawlenty said “I feel good, the tailwind across the country is at Republicans’ back.” He added that Minnesota has the 7th lowest unemployment rate in the country and he thinks Republicans will do well on holding the line on taxes versus the Democratic candidates’ plans to raise taxes.
Taxes were something Pawlenty mentioned in speaking to the 2010 Conference of State Manufacturers Associations. Many local chambers of commerce from across the country are there. Minnesota’s chamber head David Olson was on hand. Pawlenty called the chamber a “tireless advocate” for pro-business and pro-jobs agendas. The governor said his goal was to “brag a bit about Minnesota” to this national audience in his home state. He mentioned our high ACT scores, graduation rates, health care, lifespan, economy from high tech to ag, and a productive well-paid workforce. The possible presidential candidate was asked about the global political scene and he talked in detail about Iraq and his many trips there. He said the new national health care law will be “financially corrosive” and his “watch people at a cash bar” line got a big laugh.