Inaugural notesYvonne Prettner Solon is walking into the lieutenant governor’s office as a greater Minnesota advocate.
On the job for region
Yvonne Prettner Solon is walking into the lieutenant governor’s office as a greater Minnesota advocate.
The Duluth resident, who gave up a state senator gig to be Mark Dayton’s running mate, told about 600 people at St. Paul’s Landmark Center that she knew “there were no easy solutions to the challenges we are facing.”
But she said that the Dayton-Prettner Solon election is “a new page,” presenting an opportunity to work together, as Dayton often encouraged in his 14-minute speech after the pair took office Monday.
“We extend a hand to all of you across the aisle, across the river, across the state,” Prettner Solon said.
After saying she spent a dozen years on the Duluth City Council, Prettner Solon admitted to the crowd, and a statewide radio and Internet audience: “I am passionate about Duluth.”
But, she quickly added, it is not just Duluth. “A decade ago I brought my passion for Duluth and all of greater Minnesota here to the state Capitol.”
It was one of the few mentions of specific areas of the state during the hour-long inaugural ceremony.
Back in the chamber
Prettner Solon’s first official task this week may have been one of her hardest.
She had to return to the Senate, where she served since 2002, and convene the body until a new president could be elected and take control.
“It is really emotional,” the Duluth woman said as she prepared to ascend the raised podium:
Later, she called it “quite an experience.”
Dayton and fellow office-holders certainly received applause during Monday’s inaugural, but a Buffalo Lake sixth-grader electrified the crowd.
After McKaia Ryberg finished her touching and powerful rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner,” Senate Minority Leader Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook, expressed the common reaction: “Wow.”
Ryberg, a Bird Island St. Mary’s Elementary School student, also sang the national anthem when President Obama campaigned for Dayton in October.
Attorney General Lori Swanson, State Auditor Rebecca Otto and Secretary of State Mark Ritchie took their oaths of office for second four-year terms Monday.
All are Democrats.
Earlier, Pawlenty received a standing ovation from the Democrat-heavy crowd.
Ritchie talked about the writing of the state Constitution, which occurred near the Landmark Center, where the inaugural was held.
“They did not allow partisan divisions along the way,” he said, an obvious reference to liberal Dayton and conservative Republicans who will control the Legislature beginning today.
In the spirit
An announcement before the swearing-in ceremony illustrated Dayton’s efforts to work with legislative Republicans. He delayed until Wednesday signing a document to enroll Minnesota in a new federal Medicaid health program for the poor because Republicans oppose the action.
Steve Murphy of Red Wing spent part of his last day as a state senator at the Dayton inaugural because he believes in the new governor.
“Mark Dayton’s a person who believes strongly in creating jobs by creating opportunities,” the Democratic-Farmer-Laborite said. “Since becoming a grandpa, I want that, too.”
Murphy said he does not worry whether Dayton will be able to deal with Republican legislative leaders. “Mark Dayton can work with anybody.”