No Grade This Time, Other Than ‘good’

Mark Dayton learned.

After Dayton left the U.S. Senate in 2006, he told Renville County West High School students that he would give himself an “F” grade.

Tom Cherveny, a West Central Tribune of Willmar reporter, reported that to his readers and the news quickly spread across the state. Dayton, Cherveny wrote, was frustrated and not satisfied with his accomplishments during his one-term Senate stint.

His opponents mentioned that “F” grade time and time again when Dayton ran for governor last year.

So how does the now-Gov. Mark Dayton grade himself after his first legislative session, and extra-inning special session to pass a state budget?

“Given the condition as that surrounded me, I would give myself a very good grade,” Dayton told Forum Communications. “I learned from my previous experience not to get reduced down to a letter because it is more complex than that.”

Beyond that, Dayton learned how to accentuate the positive. “Four of my five major objectives were achieved: a balanced budget, a reasonable budget, a bonding bill, elimination of the social policy items that I couldn’t accept and getting Minnesota back to work.”

The governor said he fought long and hard to raise taxes on Minnesota’s top earners, but Republicans would not go along.

“I don’t fault myself for that,” he said. “I did my utmost for six months. They have a majority in the House and the Senate. They voted in lockstep. … People of Minnesota put them in the majority.”