Democrat known for compassion highly critical of Gov. Pawlenty
ST. PAUL -- A state senator known for her compassion wasted none of it Tuesday on the man she wants to replace as governor. "We have a record of failure with the Pawlenty administration," Sen. Becky Lourey said as she became the fifth Democratic-...
ST. PAUL -- A state senator known for her compassion wasted none of it Tuesday on the man she wants to replace as governor.
"We have a record of failure with the Pawlenty administration," Sen. Becky Lourey said as she became the fifth Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party candidate for governor.
"We have a governor who would rather play word games," the Kerrick senator added, bringing up Gov. Tim Pawlenty's refusal to call an increased fee on cigarettes a tax.
About Pawlenty's chief rural development program, Job Opportunity Buildings Zones, Lourey said it "leaves behind whole areas of Minnesota and pits business against business." She called areas involved in the program "jobfree zones."
It was one of the harshest attacks on the governor by any DFL candidate.
Although Lourey is known as one of the Senate's most liberal members, she spent considerable time Tuesday playing up her Republican roots.
"My Republican father instilled in me a strong sense of fiscal responsibility," she said in a Capitol news conference.
Lourey ducked many questions about specific issues, such as refusing to directly say if she would raise taxes.
She said that while she favors a universal health care plan for Minnesotans, she would support something that could pass.
"I do the possible," Lourey said. "Advocate for the ultimate and put into place the possible."
Lourey's DFL opposition includes another state senator, Steve Kelley of Hopkins, as well as Attorney General Mike Hatch, businessman Kelly Doran and perennial unsuccessful candidate Ole Savior.
Pawlenty says he plans to announce his bid for re-election later this year or early next year. Peter Hutchinson, a former state finance commissioner, is expected to join the fray under the Independence Party banner.
Lourey, who unsuccessfully sought the 2002 DFL governor's nod, has been a state legislator for 15 years, often working on health care, welfare, women's rights and related issues.
Lourey grew up in Little Falls and she and her husband run a health-care business in Bruno, in east-central Minnesota.
The senator gained statewide attention earlier this year when her son died in an Iraq helicopter accident while serving in the military.
In her announcement, Lourey said that as governor she would do whatever she could to bring National Guard members home from Iraq, but did not have a specific plan to do so.
-- Alexandria Echo Press reporter Celeste Beam contributed to this story.
Tribune photo by Don Davis
In announcing her second run for governor Tuesday, Sen. Becky Lourey criticized Gov. Tim Pawlenty as too political. Lourey is part of a crowded Democratic field of candidates.