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These comments are responses to the statements listed below,
which were generated in regard to the
Tina Smith  Interview of

Governor looks to big ideas, big changes to improve government

Tina Smith, chief of staff to Gov. Mark Dayton, offers her insights on a variety of issues, emphasizing reforms and redesign of state services that will help to address the challenges of adjusting to the "new normal" of today's economy.    She reflects as well on Dayton's leadership style, the administration's focus on results-based accountability, the Mayo Clinic expansion proposal, increased funding for transit, smoothing the transition between high school and postsecondary education, and rethinking postsecondary education.

For the complete interview summary see:

Response Summary:  Readers have been asked to rate, on a scale of (0) most disagreement, to (5) neutral, to (10) most agreement, the following points discussed by Smith.  Average response ratings shown below are simply the mean of all readers’ zero-to-ten responses to the ideas proposed and should not be considered an accurate reflection of a scientifically structured poll.

1. Adopt results-based accountability. (9.0 average response) Results-based accountability should be the accepted standard in state and local government.

2. Healthcare data a plus for consumers. (8.0 average response) A major innovation in Minnesota state government is giving consumers of health care the opportunity to pick and choose among doctors and hospitals based on easily accessible information on service quality and price.

3. Add new grade level of 11-14.  (6.3 average response) A state-sponsored effort to treat grades 11 to 14 as a single unit, not partly high school and partly college, should be supported.

4. Support Mayo expansion. (6.7 average response) A proposal for a major state role in financing expansion of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, should be supported.

5. Postsecondary institutions must change. (9.2 average response) Colleges and universities need to change how they are operating in light of competition from free online courses, rising tuition, high student debt and significant unemployment among graduates.


Response Distribution:

Strongly disagree

Moderately disagree


Moderately agree

Strongly agree

Total Responses

1. Adopt results-based accountability.







2. Healthcare data a plus for consumers.







3. Add new grade level of 11-14.







4. Support Mayo expansion.







5. Postsecondary institutions must change.







Individual Responses:

Chris Brazelton  (10)  (10)  (7.5)  (7.5)  (10)

1. Adopt results-based accountability. The trick is in what is being measured, and how.

4. Support Mayo expansion. Infrastructure.

Scott Halstead  (7.5)  (10)  (10)  (10)  (10)

4. Support Mayo expansion. There would quantity and quality jobs produced.

5. Postsecondary institutions must change. Transit funding with sales tax increase.  Absolutely not.  The State of Minnesota has not produced performance standards that will ensure that transit funds are producing cost effective rail transit.

David Broden  (10)  (10)  (7.5)  (10)  (10)

1. Adopt results-based accountability. Accountability and measurable parameters of accountability must provide for confirmation of government service and function delivered and achieved. The key that must be the centerpiece of this is the definition, format, and database make up of the metrics used.

2. Healthcare data a plus for consumers. This is significant innovation that offers value to the health care industry as well as the consumer, provided that the metrics and the databases are well defined and rigorously and uniformly applied. Achieving the rigor to keep the process objective and balanced will be a major challenge for which I am concerned that there is no clear accountability for the objectiveness and uniformity.

3. Add new grade level of 11-14.  The concept makes sense and could be beneficial but without further details and approach to implementation this should be worked to understand and define clear objectives that can be used by the students, the schools; the parents, and the state. If utilized there must be a purpose and value not just another added metric and database.

4. Support Mayo expansion. This is without doubt one of the most important decision for Minnesota in many years. The Mayo Clinic is one of Minnesota trademark institutions-- one that shapes and communicates what we are. The negative debate that is emerging in the Legislature and the press is showing that the leadership of Minnesota has no real vision or connection with what is important as a statewide future. Clearly narrow minded self-interests and metro focused views seem more important than the value of the Mayo system. Leadership for Minnesota not for special interests must be shown and very soon or Minnesota will not have what is the best in the country. The question is does anyone recognize what could happen if Minnesota does not build on the strength of this special health care community? I challenge all to get on with the show of support for Mayo and Rochester.

5. Postsecondary institutions must change. Like all organizations and individuals education must adapt and change as the capability, capacity, and technology of education and life evolve. Change and evolution of the system from teaching, to form, to cost and content and measure of learning as related to employment, employment adaptability, and overall citizenship must reflect what society is adapting to and [how it is] changing.

Michael Martens  (10)  (2.5)  (2.5)  (7.5)  (10)

1. Adopt results-based accountability. There is [a lot] more talk about this than actual implementation.

2. Healthcare data a plus for consumers. This is a great idea but I see much more talk about it than actual information about quality and prices, which seems very hard to find.

3. Add new grade level of 11-14.  There is a huge disparity in graduation rates for K-12 for whites & non-whites; why continue that for 2 more years?   The same disparity in results is not seen in college. [Grades] 10-12 should be separated from k-9 and made part of college or trade school.

4. Support Mayo expansion. The devil is in the details of this idea. The details have not been explained to the public.

5. Postsecondary institutions must change. I think the new model for education should 1-2 years of skilled training after HS carpentry, computer programing, smart phone apps, truck driving, pharmacy tech. welding, x-ray tech, etc. Work 2-5 years, then go to college to get the knowledge to move up in management or for more skill-based training to advance a technical skill.

Adam Harrington  (10)  (5)  (0)  (0)  (5)

2. Healthcare data a plus for consumers. I am skeptical that the high level of service and costs can be maintained, but do not know enough about this at a state level.

3. Add new grade level of 11-14.  What does this mean?  Adding additional public school grades?  Additional requirements for all? It seems that public schools need a different model 1-12 to prepare for life, rather than adding more for 11-14.

5. Postsecondary institutions must change. Colleges and Universities should consider adjustments to their business model of their own volition.  They should not be further subsidized to become cost competitive.

David G. Dillon  (10)  (0)  (5)  (10)  (10)

1. Adopt results-based accountability. This is such an obviously good idea one wonders if some of those agreeing to this idea hope to define results and inputs, not outputs.

2. Healthcare data a plus for consumers. This would be a good idea of consumers had real power.  They do not.  This would be a good idea if consumers felt as this they were spending their own money.  They do not.  This would be a good idea if the measurements intended addressed service quality in terms of outcome.  They do not.

4. Support Mayo expansion. Never been for a state supported ballpark as I have heard a credible argument for how Minnesota can create wealth by entertaining itself. A world-class destination health care facility brings in out of state and out of country dollars and gives us a platform to innovate and create real wealth.

5. Postsecondary institutions must change. Other segments of our economy have become more efficient and more relevant. Time for the colleges and universities to recognize that their time has come.

Don Anderson  (5)  (7.5)  (7.5)  (5)  (7.5)

Dennis L. Johnson  (7.5)  (7.5)  (0)  (0)  (10)

1. Adopt results-based accountability. Old wine in new bottles? A buzzword does not a reform make.

2. Healthcare data a plus for consumers. Get rid of Obamacare; we have these choices now.

3. Add new grade level of 11-14.  Wrong solution to the problem of poor teaching.

4. Support Mayo expansion. Why? If they are so good, they should be able to fund their own expansion.

5. Postsecondary institutions must change. Boil out the fat, fire all the progressives, and concentrate on education. While you are at it, try getting a few constitutional conservatives on the Civic Caucus, and listen to a few speakers who are not just progressive flacks for the Government.

Joy Marsh Stephens  (10)  (7.5)  (5)  (2.5)  (10)

3. Add new grade level of 11-14.  I don't have enough information to form an opinion.

4. Support Mayo expansion. Here is a great example of an opportunity for the private sector to step up with resources to help fund this expansion instead of putting the burden on taxpayers.

5. Postsecondary institutions must change. Absolutely.  Post-secondary education needs to be more accessible.  Taking advantage of innovations like online delivery of course content is a no-brainer, particularly in this digital age. The infrastructure to deliver these courses is already in place and readily available to the general public even through local libraries.  Schools like the U of M and other state institutions should follow behind private schools that are already heading down this path.

Vici Oshiro  (10)  (10)  (10)  (7.5)  (10)

4. Support Mayo expansion. Depends on final plan

 5. Postsecondary institutions must change. Change, but change thoughtfully.

Lou DeMars  (7.5)  (5)  (7.5)  (10)  (10)

Al Quie  (10)  (10)  (0)  (5)  (10)

Carolyn Ring  (9)  (5)  (7)  (9)  (9)

Robert J. Brown  (10)  (10)  (7)  (6)  (10)

Larry Kleindl  (7)  (10)  (8)  (9)  (8)

Question 1, Adopt results-based accountability, is important but how can you do it without creating more red tape, which will cost taxpayer even more?

Chuck Lutz  (8)  (9)  (9)  (9)  (7)

Mina Harrigan  (10)  (8)  (8)  (7)  (10)

Tom Spitznagle  (10)  (5)  (5)  (3)  (10)

William Kuisle  (9)  (9)  (5)  (6)  (10)

Roger A Wacek  (10)  (10)  (10)  (0)  (5)

Lyle Wright  (8)  (10)  (5)  (6)  (10)

Richard McGuire  (10)  (7)  (5)  (10)  (10)

Greer Lockhart  (10)  (10)  (na)  (10)  (10)

Tina Smith sounds like the real deal

Tom Swain  (10)  (8)  (5)  (10)  (10)

Jack Evert  (7)  (10)  (8)  (3)  (8)

Bright Dornblaser  (10)  (10)  (10)  (10)  (10)

Wayne Jennings  (8)  (10)  (8)  (9)  (8)


The Civic Caucus   is a non-partisan, tax-exempt educational organization.   The Core participants include persons of varying political persuasions,
reflecting years of leadership in politics and business. Click here  to see a short personal background of each.

   David Broden,  Janis Clay,  Bill Frenzel,  Paul Gilje,   Jan Hively,  Dan Loritz (Chair),  Marina Lyon,  Joe Mansky, 
Tim McDonald,  John Mooty,  Jim Olson,  Wayne Popham  and Bob White

The Civic Caucus, 01-01-2008
2104 Girard Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55405.
Dan Loritz, chair, 612-791-1919   ~   Paul A. Gilje, coordinator, 952-890-5220.

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