Sen. Jeremy Miller, R-Winona, and Sen. Roger Reinert, DFL-Duluth, have formed a "purple caucus" with the hope of putting the needs of the state above party politics.
Miller and Reinert appeared at a news conference at the State Capitol today to announce the group. They say the goal is to start showing that lawmakers can cooperate across party lines.
"What is the price of admission?" Reinert said. "It's the idea that you're willing to be a Minnesotan first and some other label second."
Reinert says the group plans to start meeting on a semi-regular basis to discuss where they agree. Miller says he hopes the focus will mainly be on the budget, jobs and the economy. But he said they aren't coming forward with a legislative agenda.
"I don't think anyone is making any promises," Miller said. "I learned you don't make promises in politics. We have a commitment to create good relationship building."
They say Sen. Branden Peterson, R-Andover, Sen. Carla Nelson, R-Rochester, and Sen. Melisa Franzen, DFL-Edina, have also joined the group. It will also be open to House members but none has joined yet.
A news release said some of the proposed guiding principles of the "Purple Caucus" include paying attention, inclusivity, showing respect and "do not gossip"
Both Miller and Reinert say they intend to attend regular meetings of their respective party caucuses as well.
The fact that Senator Miller is a cynical talking head who ignores his own pedigree to blather on about the new "Purple Caucus" I suppose is to be expected. However the questions asked were by MPR were positive pablum. In 2010 this freshly scrubbed Tea Party IR Senator had no problem shutting down Minnesota Government rather than compromise with Governor Dayton. His IR Jobs caucus spent two year warning about voter fraud, gay marriage, abortion and socialized medicine to what end? Nothing was accomplished. So what was the purpose of the "Purple Caucus" again; oh yeah, compromise. What magical epiphany happened to the Cynical Senator seem to be a relevant question. Why it wasn't asked who knows? I guess it was more important to discover how they came up with the name (the Jobs Caucus - I almost spit my coffee). MPR I expect better.
How many times have political types heard of the national or state figure who either actively laments about or leaves office exasperated by the lack of dialogue in government bodies?
Here are two for beginning a list-- Olympia Snowe of Maine and Tim Penny of Minnesota.
How often do we have to hear of the wonderful 80's and the 1986 Tax Reform Act where Democrats and Republicans fashioned an agreement they may even have discussed over a beer afterward?
Glad to hear there are folks at the Capitol at least interested in fostering a cross-party dialogue.
Kudos to them.