I attended the Chamber luncheon yesterday too. I usually do. I thought this luncheon would be an especially interesting one with the Governor as our keynote speaker, and I was right. Governor Pawlenty is a fantastic speaker. He is smart, witty, quick, and engaging. He is a good story teller. He had good command of his facts and was moderately respectful of differing points of view.
On of the things I liked best about his style is that he answered questions. Not that he just took questions. He answered them too. I did not expect the Governor to get any tough questions at this venue, and he did not, but it is refreshing to watch a politician of his stature actually respond to citizen questions with answers instead of spin. I thought he did a good job of that.
One of the policy/political areas that the Governor spoke about yesterday was his plan to veto the Transportation Bill. There is a story in the Star Tribune today about the veto. He announced his veto plan at the luncheon to cheers, hoots, and a lot of “You go Guv” exclamations from the audience.
I suppose I should have expected that reaction. Partisan feelings are strong right now for everyone with something at stake in the Legislature. It is the proverbial “crunch time”. I don’t believe this particular veto is anything to cheer about though. All it really means is that we’ll go yet another legislative session without reform in the way that we fund transportation in our state. Regardless of how you might feel about the gas tax issue, another year of legislative stalemate that prevents us from solving our state’s transportation shortcomings is certainly nothing to cheer about.
We videotaped the Governor’s speech. We will replay the speech on the City’s cable access channel, EPTV-16, starting tomorrow. It will be broadcast at 11am, 4pm, and 10pm on the following dates: Saturday, May 21; Sunday, May 22; Monday, May 23; Tuesday, May 24; Wednesday, May 25; Thursday, May 26; and Friday, May 27.