Dealing with gangs helped Dayton deal with politics

Gov. Mark Dayton says his time dealing with East Coast gangs in early in his career has helped him with politics.

As a New York City teacher and Boston social worker, Dayton had to confront gangs from time to time, he said in an interview.

The main lesson he learned is to seek out the gang’s leader and talk. That is what Dayton has done during the few protests that have happened during his first year as governor.

The first instance was on his second day in office. During the signing of a controversial executive order, the governor’s reception room filled with opponents.

Security and protesters scuffled before the event, but opponents quieted down when he invited representatives to the microphone to explain their side of the issue.

There are times when such moves do not work, Dayton said. “You have to know there the practical limit for your success is going to be.”

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