Democrat Mark Dayton, Republican Tom Emmer and the Independence Party's Tom Horner took part in a live televised debate Sunday hosted by KSTP-TV and the League of Women voters. The debate focused on the state's budget, education policy and job creation.
On education issues, Emmer said Dayton would be in the pocket of the state's teacher's union if elected.
"If we can give our teaching professionals and the people that are administrating our schools the freedom to start putting those dollars where they need to go to get the highest return for the value--that's when we'll start seeing results," Emmer said. "But if we're going to be beholden to the union boss, Tom Dooher, and not let any reform get through that's not going to help our kids."
Dayton said he's beholden to no one.
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"If people know anything about me after my 35 years of public service in Minnesota it's that I'm my own man," Dayton said. "I will make every decision if I'm governor with one consideration: what is best for the people of Minnesota. In the case of education: what's best for our school children."
Horner said Dayton's career has been more focused on making promises to get elected rather than doing what's right for the state.
"The fact is that it's policy makers who have failed education," Horner said. "It is policy makers who have failed education, teachers, parents, children."
The candidates will take part in another debate on Tuesday in Mankato.