Elections have consequences.
We fought a spirited campaign here in SD 18, as did my friends in other districts across Minnesota. While I'm disappointed in the outcome, we don't have time to wallow in self pity.
With the Republicans in firm control of both the House and the Senate, a very conservative agenda is going to take hold and the impact in Greater Minnesota could be severe.
We all know we're facing a $6 billion budget hole. During the campaign Republicans across the state and here in SD 18 questioned whether or not we really have a deficit.
Last year the State of Minnesota spent over $30 billion but got about $35 billion worth of government. We offset that by "kicking the can down the road" for about $2 billion and by taking Federal Stimulus money for public safety, education, transportation and health care, saving many great programs and creating jobs across the state.
It's clear to me that a GOP majority will work to get closer to that $30 billion figure than the $35 billion figure.
Now, in 9 debates and forums across my Senate District, Senator-elect Newman (first time I've typed that) couldn't name a single budget area in which he would cut. Not one.
He'll combine the Boxing Commission with the Combative Arts Commission and save the state $50,000 at most, but has not named a single area in which he would cut.
And he won't raise any revenue either.
After Tuesday, the party with no answers or solutions cannot be the "party of no" any longer.
They must lead, and based on what I've witnessed firsthand the past 11 months, we have reason to be concerned.
Last February during Precinct Caucuses, the Tea Party pushed groups out here in Wright County and they've named themselves "Camp America Grassroots" and the "Meeker County Revolution". They're pushing a great amount of rhetoric and sheer craziness.
One of the talking points that emerged out of the craziness dealt with the size of government. Now I don't dispute that the growth of government is sustainable, but we don't need to overstate claims to try and prove a point.
Case in point, Senator-elect Newman has stated on countless occasions that "in 1960, the State of Minnesota had a budget of $500 million and 3.5 million people. In 2010, it has a budget of more than $30 billion and 5.5 million people."
Check out a simple inflation calculator, you'll find that $500 million indexed for inflation in 2009 is actually $35.81 billion.
Look at the demagoguery of Health and Human Services. Senator-elect Newman and other tea party "elite". Anyone who claims that we spend more on welfare than we do educating our kids is out of touch with reality.
In fact, out of the $10 billion spent in Human Services, more than $4.4 billion is spent on long term care and nursing homes. Is that "welfare"?
In the coming weeks, we'll continue to cite the extreme examples of what the tea party movement in Greater Minnesota really stands for.
This much is clear. We have to organize our communities to fight what's on the horizon. We have to have Governor-elect Dayton's back. He's going to play the role of goaltender, deflecting the strong conservative power play.
I'm ready to fight for places like Cokato, Annandale, and Silver Lake.
I'm ready to fight to make sure our kids have the same opportunities I did when I was a kid.
I'm ready to fight, are you?