Minnesota business leaders assess election impact

Business leaders gathered at the Minneapolis Club were eager to hear about the election impact. Charlie Weaver, executive director of the Minnesota Business Partnership, spoke for Republicans; Mike Christenson, Minneapolis’ director of planning & strategic partnerships, represented Democrats; and I moderated as the nonpartisan in the middle.

We opened with my assessment that Minnesota voters delivered a “split decision” with what appears to be all Democrats in constitutional offices and Republicans controlling the Legislature. So why make change that still means divided government?

Weaver said it’s weird but “Minnesotans like balance and they saw a lack of balance in D.C.” In a year when experienced politicians such as longtime Congressman Jim Oberstar were tossed out, Christenson said, “Mark Dayton’s secret weapon was experience.”

On the national scene, the Democrat surmised “health care was a bridge too far for Obama.”

But both Weaver and Christenson agreed that Minnesota should market itself as a health care hub as a way to help get the state out of debt. The Business Partnership head also said “Dayton won’t be too bad for business.”

Both men expected business regulations and permitting will be streamlined by the new Legislature.  They said new gambling revenue will surface at the Capitol.

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