With the August 10th primary just over a week away, the three DFL candidates for governor are trying to highlight their differences.
Mark Dayton, Matt Entenza and Margaret Anderson Kelliher addressed issues ranging from taxes to leadership skills during a 90-minute debate Friday night at Minnesota State University-Mankato.
One of the biggest disagreements was over education funding. Kelliher took issue with Entenza's proposal to cut Minnesota's ties with the federal No Child Left Behind law and said she favors reforms instead. Entenza countered that there's nothing worth reforming.
"Well you can put lipstick on the pig, but it's still a pig," Entenza said. "And NCLB is one heck of a pig, and it's not working in Minnesota."
Kelliher said she favors reforming the school accountability requirements without giving up the federal money.
"We can't afford, in a $6 billion budget deficit, to lose another $500 million, and we would become the first state," Kelliher said. "Do we think President Obama, with the accountability and the emphasis on accountability, is going to allow Minnesota out? I don't think so."
Dayton repeated his pledge to increase taxes on wealthy Minnesotans. He also appeared to scold some business leaders for opposing that plan.
"Can I find middle ground with the CEOs of Target Corporation and Best Buy who are putting hundreds of thousands of dollars already behind the Republican candidate for governor because they don't want to pay higher taxes, people who are making millions or tens of millions or hundreds of millions of dollars?" Dayton said.
Dayton also restated his promise to increase funding for public education every year under his administration. The three DFLers will face off three more times before the August 10th primary.