- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 3, 2019

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - The Latest on Gov. Tim Walz’s State of the State speech (all times local):

9:55 p.m.

Legislative leaders from both parties are welcoming the conciliatory tone of Gov. Tim Walz’s first State of the State speech, saying they’re ready to make the compromises needed to finish the session on time

GOP Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka says Republicans share many of the Democratic governor’s goals but have different ideas for how to achieve them. He says that if Walz is committed to negotiating in good faith, Republicans are too.

Democratic leaders also expressed optimism for reaching the difficult agreements needed to end the session by the May 20 deadline.

House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler says Democrats know they’re going disagree with Republicans. But he says he has every expectation that they will finish the budget on time and do good things for the people of Minnesota.


8:20 p.m.

Gov. Tim Walz has called on Minnesota to write a new story about how a government divided between Democrats and Republicans puts aside ideology and comes together for the good of the people.

The Democratic governor used his first State of the State speech Wednesday night to say the state of the state is “strong.”

And he used it to share the stories of eight Minnesotans watching from the House gallery to put human faces on the policy debates underway at the Capitol, highlighting education, health care, stronger communities and transportation.

Walz told lawmakers that debate is healthy, but urged them to keep in mind that behind every single debate they have, real people are impacted.

Leaders from both parties said afterward they’re ready to try to find common ground.


4:30 p.m.

Gov. Tim Walz has invited eight special guests to his State of the State address to put human faces on the policy debates at the Capitol.

They include Will Handke and Ross Pomeroy, twin brothers who were students of Walz when he taught at Mankato West High School and went on to start a snack bar company. Walz will use their story to highlight the need to invest in education so every child gets the opportunities they did.

He’ll also use a Twin cities pediatrician, Dr. Nathan Chomilo, and Goodhue County dairy farmer Deborah Mills, to highlight the need for access to affordable, quality health care. And he’ll use the mother of a Mankato family who lost their father in a crash on U.S. Highway 14 to emphasize the need to improve the transportation system.


3:35 p.m.

Lawmakers who support Enbridge Energy’s hotly disputed plan to replace its aging Line 3 crude oil pipeline across northern Minnesota plan to wear pins to Gov. Tim Walz’s State of the State speech in hopes that he’ll come around and support the project.

The “Go Line 3” pins are being publicized by House Republicans, but they’re hoping for support from both parties.

The independent Public Utilities Commission gave its final reaffirmation to the project last week. Walz has not yet said whether his Commerce Department, which had raised legal objections, will go to court to challenge that decision.

The GOP-controlled Minnesota Senate last week voted to force the Commerce Department to drop any further appeals, but the Democratic-controlled House blocked the legislation from further consideration.


12:20 a.m.

Gov. Tim Walz says he’ll use his first State of the State address to appeal for overcoming political gridlock and to stress the need for lawmakers from both parties in a divided Legislature to work together to solve Minnesota’s problems.

The Democratic governor is scheduled to speak to the House and Senate at 7 p.m. Wednesday.

Walz attended plenty of State of the Union speeches during his 12 years in Congress, but says he doesn’t intend to use his speech “to hammer the other side” as he’s seen presidents do. Instead, he says, it’s a “unique opportunity” to seek unity.

The governor’s office says it’ll be the first time that a Muslim imam, a Jewish rabbi and a Christian bishop will deliver the invocation before a State of the State address.

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