Providing a nonpartisan model for generating and sharing          

    essential information on public issues and proposed solutions              

Shining a light on Minnesota public policy since 2005

                                                                                                  About Civic Caucus   l   Interviews & Responses  l   Position Reports   l   Contact Us   l   Home  

        Please take one minute to evaluate our website. Click here to take the survey.

These comments are responses to the Civic Caucus interview with

Keith Downey, former Minnesota Republican Party Chair
October 6, 2017

Reduce taxes, cut state government, offer complete school choice


According to gubernatorial candidate Keith Downey, Minnesota must: 

1.     Focus on the private-sector economy. To improve Minnesota's business climate and make Minnesota more competitive with surrounding states, Downey believes the state must reduce the tax burden and fix the regulatory environment.

2.     Constrain the size and growth of government. He pledges to reduce state government by 15 percent in his first term as governor.

3.     Address the failure in the urban schools and beyond. He says we must fix the achievement gap, largely by using complete school choice programs (allowing parents to choose either public or, if their children are in failing schools, private schools for their children) and by refocusing on technical training in high schools. He opposes state-funded universal preschool for four-year-olds and agrees with the idea of making the role of teachers central and diminishing the roles of superintendents and principals.

In the area of transportation, Downey says he would focus on funding roads and bridges and favors using some of the general fund to do that, rather than relying exclusively on user fees. He believes the Twin Cities area does not have the population density for light-rail or heavy-rail transit. He says the state spends way too much money on health care and human services and not enough on core infrastructure.

When discussing the current legislative process, Downey says the governor should use the power to veto as a way of pushing the Legislature to abide by the Minnesota Constitutional mandate that bills be limited to a single subject.

For the complete interview summary see: Keith Downey interview

Individual Responses:

Scott Halstead

Help America Vote Act requirements in Wisconsin, Indiana and New Jersey. Mr. Downey should never be the Governor of Minnesota based upon Wisconsinís policies to harm voting rights.

"Government is coming at people and not from them," he said. The Republican Party has demonstrated at the National level that Government is coming at people! Developing policy behind closed doors, not communicating to the public, development of public policy that is very beneficial to the wealthy, environment and climate public policy that is causing rising sea levels, rising temperatures, more and larger tornadoes and hurricanes and wildfires. The 2nd District Congressman office operation is not readily available to the constituents! Both the 2nd District and 3rd District Congressman do not conduct town hall meetings! Yes, many of the Republican political leaders, is the "Government coming at the people".

Education: Yes, Minnesotaís public education system is still one of the best in the nation but has declined especially in St. Paul and Minneapolis. Most of those issues are rooted in other causes, which are increasing government costs at all levels throughout the budget. I agree, we need to address the problem of technical education to provide workers for our manufacturers and service businesses with good paying jobs. I agree on early education. Minnesota has far underestimated the cost, especially for additional classrooms. Minnesota residents shouldnít be paying for private schools!!!!!

Taxes: Yes, they are toooooo high. In the Twin Cities we have an excessive # of Governments. I believe around 182 versus around 52 in Denver, Colorado. There is a migration out of the state by students attending higher education and seniors. Those issues need to be addressed.

Public Policy: I totally disagree with Mr. Downey. People have lost confidence in Politicians that are dependent upon big $$$$$$ in enacting policy. Iíll rest my case on the opiod legislation that is resulting in many deaths. Federal tax reform certainly has not sought input from the public or in a bipartisan manner and the same for health care. We have worst Government $ can buy and buy they dooooo$$$!

Business Climate: We need to address education; Vo-tech, Mpls/St. Paul concentration of poverty and other issues, retaining our graduates, Twin Cities excessive Govt. and Metropolitan Govt./transportation/transit and retaining our executives for business investment and assisting new businesses.

Transportation: State Politicians messed up the Met. Council from the beginning by allowing the Governor to appoint the council and as a result they are not responsible to the citizens. State politicians gave control to the counties, which is dominated by 2 counties that feel that their economic development is more important than effective transit and the rest of the region. Denver has done a much better job with transit than other U.S. Cities and Calgary and Vancouver do it even better. Perhaps, a Metro area income tax surcharge for everyone working in the metro.

Aging in place: The metro area is growing out and consuming far too much land and costing citizens excessive costs in infrastructure; water and sewer, electrical, schools, government, roads, bridges, transit etc. Perhaps their should incentives for metro retirees to move to rural communities which should result in more jobs in the rural area, better health care and stronger communities that can retain their schools and reduce busing costs and time.


To receive these interview summaries as they occur, email         Follow us on Twitter


The Civic Caucus   is a nonpartisan, tax-exempt educational organization.   The Interview Group  includes persons of varying political persuasions,
reflecting years of leadership in politics, public policy,
business, nonprofits and government.   Click here  to see a short personal background of each.

  John S. Adams, David Broden, Audrey Clay, Janis Clay (executive director), Pat Davies, Paul Gilje, Rob Jacobs, Dwight Johnson, Randy Johnson, Sallie Kemper, Ted Kolderie,
 Dan Loritz, Marina Lyon, Tim McDonald, Bruce Mooty, Jim Olson, Paul Ostrow (chair), Wayne Popham, Dana Schroeder, Clarence Shallbetter, and Fred Zimmerman



The Civic Caucus, 01-01-2008
2104 Girard Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55405.


contact webmaster