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Public Statements

Issue Position: Opportunity for All

Issue Position

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Standing up for the African American Community

Mark has a long record of working with African-American leaders in Minnesota to create jobs, improve education, and improve the communities in which African Americans live. As Governor, Mark Dayton will continue to work with African-American leaders to achieve these goals.

From his experience teaching in a New York City public school, Mark Dayton knows the importance of education. As a U.S. Senator, he voted against No Child Left Behind, because its excessive testing label students and schools. He offered seven amendments to fully fund the federal commitment to special education. As Governor, he will work to increase funding for early childhood education and state-funded optional all-day kindergarten.

Mark will work to stop relying on property taxes to fund public schools, which creates inequality between school districts. He will work to ensure that all our children receive a world-class education wherever they live. Mark also knows funding alone is not the answer; he'll work to reform education to ensure better student achievement.

Mark also understands the severity of Minnesota's foreclosure crisis and knows that housing turnover devastates communities and neighborhoods. As Governor, Mark will work with Representative Jeff Hayden and other legislative leaders to help Minnesotans stay in their homes.

Mark Dayton will be Minnesota's next Jobs Governor. He has served twice as Minnesota's Commissioner of Economic Development. He helped businesses create jobs throughout our state. As U.S. Senator, he helped secure funding for transportation projects including Metro-area bus services, the Hiawatha Light Rail Line, the Central Corridor Light Rail project, and the Northstar Commuter Rail Line; he also secured funding for Youthbuild, a program that helps urban youth earn high school credit while developing their job skills building affordable housing.

As Governor, Mark will create a Clean Energy Savings Fund, which will put people to work, save taxpayer dollars, and reduce energy consumption by making public buildings more energy efficient. As Governor, Mark will enforce state laws giving minority-owned businesses percentage-preferences in bidding for state contracts.

Mark has worked with and for Minnesota's African Americans in the past, and he will do so again as Governor!

Standing up for the Hmong Community

Mark Dayton has spent his career in public service fighting on behalf of the Hmong Community. He has a record of accomplishment supporting the Hmong Community in the past, and a commitment to continuing this work if he is elected governor.

Mark Dayton's Record of Accomplishment Serving the Hmong Community:

In 2004, Mark Dayton helped increase funding for Hmong refugee resettlement by $3.3 million nationwide.

In 2004, Mark Dayton opposed normalizing trade relations with Laos until human rights violations were dealt with. At that time Dayton said, "We need to first address the real problems in Laos, including human rights violations and the lack of freedom and equality for the Hmong, before we consider normalizing trade relations with this region."

In 2006, Mark Dayton secured over $369,000 for the Lao Cultural Center in Minneapolis to help Lao children succeed in school and stay out of the criminal justice system, and to help resettle Hmong refugees arriving in St. Paul.

Mark Dayton's Commitment to Working for the Hmong Community as Governor:

Mark Dayton will work to honor the service of our Hmong Veterans by fighting to ensure adequate Veterans benefits and advocating for honorable Military Burial.

Mark Dayton will establish a state government that is inclusive and reaches out to the Hmong Community directly, and make sure that his cabinet and administration is representative of the state.

Mark Dayton will invest in quality education for all students, and work with school boards and local districts to ensure that our schools are sensitive to the needs of the Hmong Community, including expanding the number of Hmong-speaking educators in schools with a large Hmong population.

Mark Dayton will fight to make college more affordable for everyone--for families who already qualify for financial aid and for those middle-class families who currently do not.

Mark Dayton will work to support Hmong small businesses, particularly as they attempt to create new jobs.

Mark Dayton will continue to advocate on behalf of recent Hmong immigrants to Minnesota.

Standing Up for the Latino Community

Mark strongly opposes and will veto any legislation modeled after Arizona's terrible immigration law. People must know that they can trust their community police. Mark agrees with the Chiefs of Police in both Minneapolis and St. Paul, who said, "We believe this bill runs contrary to the values of community policing and problem-solving that the people we serve have rightly demanded and will make our communities less safe."

They went on to say that "mobilizing local police to serve as primary enforcers of federal immigration laws will throw up barriers of mistrust . . . impairing our ability to build partnerships . . . that improve the safety of all members of the community."

Tom Emmer has said that the Arizona law is a "wonderful first step." Mark strongly disagrees.

Mark also supports a state DREAM Act. As a United States Senator, he was a co-sponsor of the federal DREAM Act. The students who graduate from Minnesota's high schools, colleges, and universities are the keys to our state's future success. Their success will benefit all Minnesotans by creating a more prosperous state. And we need more workers to support the health care and other services needed by our aging population.

Finally, regarding federal immigration reform, as Senator, Mark supported the legislation proposed by Senators Ted Kennedy and John McCain, which included, in addition to better security of our borders, a pathway to earned citizenship for otherwise law-abiding undocumented workers, currently living in this country. As Governor, Mark would support that type of federal legislation.

Standing Up for Native Americans

The Native American community is a vital part of the state of Minnesota. Mark respects your full sovereignty and admires your essential contributions to our state. As Governor, he will form a partnership with the Native American community not only to address inequities and racial injustice, but also to work broadly to build a Better Minnesota.

Paul Wellstone said, "We all do better when we all do better." That principle has been championed by the leaders of our Party, and Mark would bring it back to the Governor's office by rejecting the politics of exclusion. Whether you choose to support Mark's candidacy or not, he will work in partnership with you if elected.

As United States Senator, Mark advocated successfully on behalf of Minnesota's 11 Tribes. He helped secure millions of dollars for renewable energy grants, affordable housing projects, the Indian Health Board, the American Indian Neighborhood Development Corporation.

Those were important contributions to our Native communities, but much more needs to be done. Native Americans tend to die younger, have less access to high quality health care, and have higher poverty rates than non-Native Minnesotans. It's unjust, and Mark will work collaboratively in a government-to-government relationship with Tribal leadership to address these terrible inequities.

In particular, as Governor, Mark will:

Work with the Federal Government and our Congressional delegation to ensure full implementation of health care access through the Indian Health Services as guaranteed by treaty rights.

Ensure that all Minnesotans learn about the richness of Native culture and history by enforcing the law that guarantees the inclusion of those subjects in school curricula across the state.

Reach out and support urban Native Americans (in conjunction with the Urban Indian Advisory Council), in addition to creating an equal partnership directly with the Tribes.

Ensure that his appointments represent all of Minnesota's communities.

Strengthen the Minnesota Indian Affairs Council. It is essential as a liaison between the Tribes and Minnesota's state government.

Mark will work with Minnesota's Native Communities. He will establish a strong government-to-government partnership with all 11 Tribes. Mark fully respects Tribal treaty rights and he will honor them, as he would be legally and Constitutionally bound to do. Together, we can build a Better Minnesota.

Standing Up for the Somali Community

Mark Dayton has stood with Somali Minnesotans on several key occasions in the past, particularly in times that have been difficult for the community. As Governor, he will stand with the Somali community with an inclusive agenda that advances the prosperity of the entire Somali community across Minnesota.

Mark's Record:

Mark helped secure $19 million in funding nationwide to help Somali refugees resettle in the United States.

Mark helped secure funding for the Neighborhood House in St. Paul, a center that assists refugees during their relocation.

As both a United States Senator and a private citizen, Mark stood in solidarity with the Somali community when Somali Minnesotans were targeted in hate crimes. When a Somali woman was beaten at the Mall of America, Mark stood with the Somali community to condemn the crime. When a Somali youth was beaten in Rochester, Mark went to Rochester and contributed personally to help launch a "Not in Our City" program teaching acceptance and understanding.

Mark's Pledge to the Somali Community:

Mark will work with Minnesota's Congressional delegation to speed up the family reunion process, helping families splintered by war and the refugee crisis to reunite.

Mark will work with the Congressional delegation to ensure that Green Card and Citizenship applications are processed quickly and fairly.

Mark knows that Somali Minnesotans are struggling to find good-paying jobs in this tough economy. He will stand up for economic justice and work to ensure that Somalis have access to state job-training initiatives.

Mark is alarmed by the Minnesota Department of Health's findings that autism is seven times more prevalent in the Somali community than in other communities. As Governor, he will charge the Department to work with the Somali community, public health experts, and researchers to find the reasons for that disparity and how to overcome it.

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