Friday, August 31, 2007

Pawlenty Continues Leadership on Emergency Relief

It has been a tough month for the state of Minnesota.

We've had a bridge, that experts said didn't need serious work for years to come, fall to the river while crowded with vehicles.

While the recovery effort was still under way, Southern Minnesota towns and roads were flooded out by torrential rain fall.

Throughout these tragedies, Governor Pawlenty has taken all of the bold, unilateral steps he has been able to take (both to provide the flood relief and get moving on bridge construction) that he has been able to do with the powers he has as Governor.

And he continues to show leadership as he seeks to work with allies and opponents alike to do what is necessary in an emergency situation.

So why are some Democrats willing to risk timely relief for the sake of the extraneous and trivial?

It is time that the public demands DFL house and senate leaders move ahead on what matters in the here and now, and leave all of the extras aside until we can have an open and public debate about needs vs. wants during the 2008 legislative session.

Because many of the Democratic leaders seem unwilling to narrow the focus of a prospective special session to the serious issues of emergency relief, a special session appears to be on hold.

Thankfully, the Governor is taking all necessary, prudent, bold and appropriate steps unilaterally to do what needs to be done in the near term to provide for emergency relief.

Pawlenty wanted to call a special session to pass laws on four issues: bridge safety, flood relief, property taxes, and transportation.

"Special session are supposed to be called for emergencies. And we have one," said Pawlenty.

But the Governor won’t call a special session unless he has in writing, an agreement from lawmakers that they’ll stick to emergency issues only.

"The governor wants to avoid a free for all slumber party where he calls a special session and legislators don’t leave," said law professor Larry Jacobs. (excerpted from KSTP article)

I'd like to challenge the Democratic leadership to let Minnesotans know what issues are so important that they:

a) Are worth sacrificing emergency flooding and bridge tragedy relief. AND
b) Can't wait until February for the regular session?

Just give us a list, and we'll let the public decide.

(Click here for the entire article)

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Isaiah 6: “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” and Isaiah responded, “Here am I, send me!”

There is a terrific article in the Bemidji Pioneer detailing the homecoming celebration of Bemidji-based "Able Company" which saw 16 months of active duty fighting terrorism in Iraq.

You can read the entire article here:

“What’s the most generous thing you’ve ever done with your life,” the Republican governor (Pawlenty) said he once was told as a way to judge generosity. “In other words, what do you have that you’re willing to give away to somebody else that may make their life or our world a better place?”

The troops and family have given of their time, their skills, received some money, made some friendships, he said, but ultimately what one does with it is an indicator, he said.

“Are you willing to give what you got for a cause or a circumstance that is different from, bigger than, better than just our individual circumstance?” Pawlenty asked.

The troops honored Saturday were willing to serve 22 months this time, perhaps six years in total for Guard duty, with the only request that “I will go, if you need me,” he said.

Pawlenty quoted from Isaiah 6, where God says, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” and Isaiah responded, “Here am I, send me!”

The troops didn’t get to say, “Send me, unless it’s inconvenient,” Pawlenty said, or unless a new son or daughter is born, or unless it’s an inconvenient time for work, or unless it will be too hard on the Soldier’s wife or husband or significant other, or unless it will make mom worry a lot.

“They just have to salute and go,” he said. “It’s an extraordinary, extraordinary act of generosity.”

Minnesota is a great state, not for its politicians, but “because it’s a state filled with really great people,” he said, listing off high national rankings for the number of volunteers, in charitable giving and in church attendance.

“When we’ve had the big catastrophes in Minnesota in the last weeks, what we saw was horrible tragedies but we also saw the goodness of Minnesota shining through,” Pawlenty said, referring to the Minneapolis bridge collapse that killed 13 and southeast Minnesota floods that killed seven. (excerpted from article)

The Governor is absolutely right. We have a lot of selfless people in Minnesota and in the United States.

None are more selfless than the men and women in our armed forces, and there have been few times when we have asked more of them than in the current and on-going War on Terror.

One of the most difficult and somber, but important things Governor Pawlenty has to do is send our National Guard troops off to war (second only to attending the funeral of troops we lose).

One of the most heartening things he has the opportunity to do is welcome them home.

“We can’t give back the 22 months that you’ve given, but … you gave the people of Iraq an opportunity for something better,” he (Governor Pawlenty) said.

Pawlenty also noted that those who died had also given “the ultimate measure of generosity and sacrifice in laying down their lives.”

“The state of Minnesota and people across the state do not forget what you’ve done and are grateful, and will keep you in their thoughts and prayers,” he said of Able Company. “We appreciate every minute of every day that you were gone.” (excerpted from article)

Thank you.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Top 10 least popular presidential campaign promises

Because things have been pretty serious lately, here are the Top Ten Least Popular Presidential Campaign Promises courtesy of David Letterman’s top ten contest. Feel free to post some possible chart-breakers.

10. Promises to make Rosie O’Donnell “Goodwill Ambassador”

9. $2000 donation gets you a night in the Lincoln Bedroom. $25 donation gets you a hunting trip with Dick Cheney

8. To change the national anthem to “Funkytown”

7. Tax deductions for three or more wives (Mitt Romney only)

6. Iraq, the 51st state!

5. Jamba Juice stores to have “30% more Jamba”

4. Even more Law & Order marathons (Fred Thompson only)

3. Send me to the White House and win a free night in the Kucinich Bedroom

2. No new taxes, only higher older ones

1. New head of PETA: Michael Vick

Thursday, August 23, 2007

FEMA teams assess flooding; Pawlenty asks for speedy help

I happened to be across the border from Winona and some of the hardest hit small communities in SE Minnesota last weekend when it seemed like the rain would never stop. It was pretty incredible how saturated the whole area became, and how much damage a little water can do.

Governor Pawlenty is seeking quick and efficient relief for the infrastructure damaged by last weekends flooding from the Feds.

On Wednesday, one FEMA team headed to Rushford, a city of about 1,700, ringed by rugged bluffs about 130 miles southeast of the Twin Cities. Water that quickly rose to hip-deep in the streets tore through the city in the wee hours Sunday morning, washing out foundations and forcing people to flee their homes.

City Councilwoman Nancy Benson said she went into her basement to rescue belongings and a wall gave way. A wall of water came rushing at her. She would have died had her husband not pulled her up the stairs in time, she said.

The city's business district was wiped out and about 277 homes had been destroyed. She said the city is "desperate" for federal aid.

"Our community has to be helped or we will die," she said. "We'll end up being a bedroom community." (excerpted from article)

In times of tragedy, it seems like Minnesotans in particular do a very good job of coming together to lend a helping hand.

(click here for entire article).

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Pawlenty Update

I received the email update below just a few moments ago.

Just a few personal observations.

Much has been written and said about special sessions and funding our roads. Here on Party of Pawlenty, we have discussed Governor Pawlenty's leadership on this issue, and his focus on making a priority getting the bridge built efficiently, safely and quickly.

The email below "speaks" for itself, but it is Minnesotans can proud that the Governor is prepared to cut through the red-tape to get this bridge built and refocus our efforts on actually funding transportation (a truly core function of state government).

And if we can all get an income tax cut in order to target revenue towards roads and bridges as the Governor has outlined, all the better.

It is nice to see a governor focused on the right priorities.

Dear Friends,

As you may have read over the weekend, Governor Pawlenty has been working with legislative leaders from both parties to discuss a possible special session to deal with transportation safety issues.

I wanted to share an update with you on some of Governor Pawlenty's priorities for a possible special session.

Governor Pawlenty has outlined his preferences for a special session, as reported by the St. Cloud Times, including:
  • A dedicated account to finance bridge inspections, repairs, improvements and replacements
  • Inclusion of a trunk highway bonding plan to accelerate priority road projects around the state
  • Dedication of the current sales tax on leased vehicles to roads and transit
  • A bonding bill that focuses mainly on road and bridge projects
  • Statutory changes allowing greater authority for highway and freeway lane additions funded through tolls
  • Expedited authority to cut through red tape relating to road and bridge inspection and improvement

Also, you may have read that the Governor has put a possible gas tax increase on the table. What had not been reported until Saturday's St. Cloud Times is that the Governor has made it clear to legislative leaders that he would like to see this gas tax increase as only temporary and offset by an income tax cut.

I hope you will stay tuned to this important story as it develops and support our efforts to deal with infrastructure safety in a fiscally responsible way.


Michael Krueger

Political Director | | (651) 905-0555

Monday, August 20, 2007

Study: Minnesota drops out of most expensive states for business

Virtually every governor in recent history has attempted to get Minnesota out of the top ten in the tax burden it imposes on its citizens.

Earlier this year, Governor Pawlenty actually accomplished that unifying feat.

A new study indicates that along with that, Governor Pawlenty has also brought us out of the top ten in terms of the cost of doing business.

Minnesota dropped out of the 10 most expensive states for doing business, according a new study.

The study, compiled by the Milken Institute, calculates the cost of doing business in each state based on an array of factors, including wages, taxes, electricity costs and real estate costs for industrial and office space.

Minnesota ranked No. 10 in the 2006 survey, with an overall index score of 107, meaning that costs were 7 percent higher here than the national average.

This year, that figure fell to 104.3 (4.3 percent higher than the average), and the state ranked No. 13. (excerpted from article)

Of course this isn't really about "business" per se, but about people and quality of life, which is always the reason we should seek to ease the burden (and yes, that is what it is, a burden) of government regulation and punitive taxation.

Moving the ship of state in the right direction is often exactly analogous to turning a large, lethargic ship.

But Governor Pawlenty, step by step is doing exactly that.

And this is just more evidence of his leadership.

(Click here for the entire article)

Friday, August 17, 2007

“It would be a shame if anything happened to your nice family”

It has been ten months since Mike Hatch lost his bid for governor and yet he continues to furnish Minnesotans with evidence that voters made the right collective decision. It was disclosed yesterday that in a March ruling Judge Lawrence Collins admonished Hatch for his misconduct in two civil trials in which Judge William Leary accused Hatch of improperly telephoning him and threatening Leary with negative news coverage if Leary failed to acquiesce to Hatch’s demands. (Just the type of behavior one looks for in an attorney general.)

Because the facts were too obvious to argue (Hatch admitted that he had, indeed, telephoned Judge Leary and tried to have him removed from the case), Hatch retreated to that old liberal standby that his actions were simply misconstrued. Uh-huh, sure they were. Mob bosses (with whose bullying tactics and bellicose threats Hatch has much in common) often resort to the same defense insisting that – honest to God – they weren’t threatening anyone when they ominously warned someone that it would be a shame if anything happened to the individual’s nice family. Similarly, in no way was Hatch threatening Judge Leary when he mentioned exposing him to news coverage. Hatch was simply implying all the nice stuff he was going to share with the media. That’s precisely the type of nice-guy stuff we all associate with Mike Hatch.

In an episode that was otherwise entirely devoid of any humor whatsoever given the seriousness of the charges against a sitting attorney general, Hatch provided an hilarious postscript by outrageously claiming yesterday, “I only wish that the decision was issued before the election, because I believe it repudiates the accusations made in the Swift Boat commercials.” This from the individual that kept Judge Collins’ order secret for nearly half a year after its issuance! Why, if the order were so exculpatory, did Hatch keep it secret for so long?

The obvious answer is the correct one. Hatch understands the ruling for what it clearly is: a judicial admonishment of the then highest law enforcement officer for interfering with justice.

"Fast-track bridges becoming standard"

The Pioneer Press has an excellent piece today about the common practice of fast-tracking bridge construction in order to safely get traffic and commerce moving.

When Minnesota Department of Transportation officials said a replacement for the collapsed Interstate 35W bridge would be built by late 2008, some were skeptical. They questioned whether the agency was rushing ahead without regard to safety or how the bridge should be designed.

But accelerated construction schedules, using contracts with steep incentives for builders, have become common since 1994 when C.C. Myers rebuilt Southern California's earthquake-damaged Interstate 10 in 66 days, earning a $14.5 million bonus. (excerpted from Pioneer Press story)

This is clearly an issue of defining priorities here in Minnesota (and a model of defining priorities elsewhere).

Are we more worried about salamanders being displaced, or are we more worried about people's livelihoods being disrupted?

Are we worried about debating bids for the most unique aesthetics, or does that seem a little trivial?

Can we define some of the red-tape that can be set aside for the purpose of getting life back to normal?

And when we do so, can we reexamine whether all that red-tape was necessary to begin with.

And Brian McClung, a spokesman for Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who first set the aggressive timetable, said the job could be finished on time and safely.

"We're going to hold (the contractors) accountable to building a safe bridge and doing it in the right way," McClung said. (excerpted from Pioneer Press article)

The Governor spent a significant part of his morning radio show talking about his "Drive to Excellence" initiative.

State Government is saving millions and millions of dollars under Governor Pawlenty simply by doing "the stuff" of Government more efficiently, and using new technology.

The same thing conceptually applies to the leadership he is showing as he seeks to rebuild this bridge.

I feel a little sorry for the dinosaurs in state government and politics generally (and the media of course) who are skeptical. They aren't helping us get traffic moving again.

But it is apparent the Governor has a little more vision and foresight than those skeptics. So we can expect bold initiatives out of his office to move this project ahead for the people of Minnesota who just want this thing built.

I encourage you to click here for the entire Pioneer Press story.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Poll: Pawlenty approval rating at new high

The Minneapolis Star Tribune has picked up on the escalating approval ratings of Governor Pawlenty in the wake of his steadfast and bold leadership pertaining to the tragic I-35 bridge collapse two weeks ago today.

In the wake of the Minneapolis bridge collapse, Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s approval rating has climbed to its highest level recorded during his tenure in office, a new poll shows. (excerpted from article)

It seems apparent to me that these high approval ratings are a direct result of Governor Pawlenty making it clear that he is going to rise above politics and bureaucratic red tape so that we can get this bridge build and reopen this important artery as soon as possible.

Perhaps just as important has been his focus on prioritizing spending on those pieces of this puzzle that the people of Minnesota really agree with (our real transportation infrastructure of roads and bridges) and away from feel good projects and peripheral spending that will not move traffic.

This sort of leadership, and a demand that the taxpayer's money be spent wisely, and with accountability has been the hallmark of Governor Pawlenty's tenure in office.

Which brings us back to the numbers, and why his approval ratings are so high.

(click here for the entire article)

Monday, August 13, 2007

Survey USA Poll: Pawlenty Approval at 59%

According to the poll, Pawlenty's approval is at 90% among Republicans, 54% approval among Independents, and 39% approval among Democrats.

Click here for the complete details on the new poll from Survey USA.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Governor Pawlenty sets up new "Veterans Linkage Line"

Showing his character, and leadership on issues pertaining to our Veterans, it was announced that Governor Pawlenty has set up a "Veterans Linkage Line" to "make it easier to find services and to ensure immediate crisis intervention."

“Our goal is to make Minnesota the best state for veterans to live,” Governor Pawlenty said. “Understanding and navigating the many programs and services provided by state, federal and local governments can be discouraging. The Veterans Linkage Line will connect veterans and their family members with information on veterans’ benefits, health care and reintegration. It’s another way for us to make sure we thank and support those who serve our country.” (Excerpted from Article)

Veterans can contact the hot line 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-888-LINKVET (546-5838).

(Click here for the entire article)

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Overwhelming majorities approve of Pawlenty's handling bridge tragedy

Governor Pawlenty has proven himself to be a strong reformer and a visionary leader during his tenure as Governor.

A new poll conducted by SurveyUSA and KSTP shows that Minnesotans overwhelmingly approve of the way Governor Pawlenty is handling the current tragedy surrounding the collapse of the I-35W bridge just north of Minneapolis.

The survey shows that 75 percent of all Minnesotans, and even 70 percent of self identified Democrats approve of the way Governor Pawlenty is handling this disaster.

(Click here for a pdf with the full results of the poll)

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

"Build the Bridge"

Much has been written, and rightfully so, on the collapse of the I-35W bridge just a week ago tomorrow.

It has been a sad time for Minnesotans and will ultimately lead to a public policy debate as to where transportation (and more specifically roads and bridges) should be on the priority list for state government expenditures. I happen to believe that building and maintaining our road and bridge infrastructure is one of the most basic functions of state government.

We still live within a Federalist system, and within the state we are best served with that Federalist equivalent. Let the Feds defend our boarders, keep us safe and fight our wars. The State can keep up with the roads, and play a role in education and a few other issues, locals can be most effective in the education realm, and let families, communities and places of worship handle the compassion and charity.

Now, however, we need to build this bridge and make sure others are safe for the traveling public.

We are blessed to have a leader like Tim Pawlenty who is already showing bold leadership and not allowing people to say this thing can't be reconstructed quickly and safety to recreate this critical Minneapolis artery.

The Mesabi Daily News has a great piece today entitled
Yes, cut the federal red tape; it's an emergency. (click here for the entire article)

Gov. Tim Pawlenty wants Minnesota’s members of Congress to get action to help cut through federal red tape as the state moves ahead in recovery and reconstruction efforts following the bridge collapse in Minneapolis.

By all means, let’s get at it.

The governor specifically asks the Minnesota congressional delegation to “craft federal legislation that would designate authority to the United States Secretary of Transportation or other proper individuals the ability to expedite, waive, or relax certain regulations, permitting and other requirements that can properly and safely be set aside to allow us to recover more promptly from the emergency,” he said in part in a letter to the state’s members of Congress. (Excerpted from Article)

This governor has consistently defined bold leadership during his tenure in office. We applaud the governor as he steps up to this challenge, and appreciate his initiative to cut through state and federal red-tape to get this bridge built and get traffic moving again.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Pawlenty complimented for uniting Minnesota at time of crisis

"The horrific bridge collapse sent a wake-up call to the entire country and in particular to the Minnesota Department of Transportation. If there ever were a time for the representatives of the people to meet and speak, in one voice, it is now.

The governor himself has expressed understanding of this, telling reporters Thursday: 'We will do anything and everything it takes to make sure this recovery effort is done well, and we will do everything possible, including a special session, if necessary. This is a time of crisis and a time for Minnesota and America to come together.'

The governor is absolutely right, and, more than that, he has exhibited that unity, standing shoulder-to-shoulder with U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar, a Democrat, and fellow Republican Norm Coleman. He is cooperating with U.S. Reps. Jim Oberstar, chairman of the 8th District and the House Transportation Committee, and with Keith Ellison, in whose 5th District the tragedy took place.

And Pawlenty stood Thursday with DFL Mayor R.T. Rybak of Minneapolis, who he was scheduled to meet, along with other metro-area mayors, had the bridge not fallen." Source: Duluth News Tribune, August 5, 2007

Click here for the complete editorial.

Friday, August 3, 2007

There they go again

The Democrats’ sickening ability to sink to ever lower levels never ceases to amaze me. Their cynical and grubby exploitation of Paul Wellstone’s death shocked and appalled just about everyone, except for the hapless and (by his own admission) still unrepentant Rick Kahn. I incorrectly and naively believed that the Democrats had learned a lesson about the limits to which the public would allow them to manipulate and exploit genuine human tragedy for political purposes.

Recent events prove me wrong. It took less than 24 hours for Democrats to turn the I-35W bridge collapse into a partisan talking point. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid kicked things off by suggesting that the nation’s infrastructure has suffered because of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, saying, “Since 9/11 we have taken our eye off the ball.” It is preposterous beyond description that our nation’s senate leader is suggesting that the I-35W bridge would still be standing had we not spent money fighting the War on Terror.

Playing into Reid’s theme last night, CNN’s Jack Cafferty exploited the collapse tragedy to criticize the war in Iraq by suggesting that the money “pouring into Iraq” would have been better spent “at home.” He topped this off by featuring a viewer’s e-mail that complained that infrastructure spending is a “drop in the bucket compared to $450 billion wasted in Iraq.”

Liberal Star Tribune columnist Nick Coleman helped Reid keep things going by writing today:

For half a dozen years, the motto of state government and particularly that of Gov. Tim Pawlenty has been No New Taxes. It’s been popular with a lot of voters and it has mostly prevailed. So much so that Pawlenty vetoed a 5-cent gas tax increase - the first in 20 years - last spring and millions were lost that might have gone to road repair.

I’m not just pointing fingers at Pawlenty. The outrage here is not partisan. It is general.

Not just pointing fingers at Pawlenty?! Such linkage is a prima facie attack on Pawlenty – especially when, as usual, Coleman appears incapable of criticizing his fellow Democrats. Certainly a case could be made that their plowing billions of dollars into wasteful government social programs could have been better spent on infrastructure. I, however, will not even begin to suggest that such a course would have prevented the I-35W bridge collapse.

On Minnesota Democrats Exposed Michael Brodkorb linked to this disgusting and inexcusable post from Democratic Underground. No more need be said.

Rather, such comments by the liberals reveal nothing more than their own sick and appalling thought processes. To them, everything is political fodder. To them, good Minnesotans dying is no tragedy if they can effectively abuse the tragedy to bludgeon their opponents.

Must everything – even the worst tragedies we suffer – be politicized by the Left? Is nothing too precious, sacred, or off limits not to be subjected to the bile and slime of the Democrat political ambition?

Sadly, more – and much, much worse – is coming. That the earthly remains of the bridge collapse victims wait to be recovered has not stayed or hindered Democrat attempts to exploit the tragedy. They have learned nothing about the boundaries of civil discourse.

After working the 2002 election cycle, such Democrat tactics fail to concern me. Voters will respond to such inexcusable and cynical behavior as they have in the past. In the face of this week’s tragedy, however, even that is no comfort.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Governor Pawlenty And Mayor Rybak Announce Interfaith Prayer Service

This press release was just sent out by Governor Pawlenty's office.


Minneapolis-Saint Paul – Governor Tim Pawlenty and Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak announced this evening that there will be an Interfaith Prayer Service held on Sunday, August 5, at 7:00 p.m., for members of the public and the families and victims of the 35W bridge tragedy in Minneapolis on August 1. The location of the service will be announced in the days to come.

The interfaith prayer service will include a collection to be taken for relief efforts including the victims and families of the bridge tragedy.

More details will be released as they are finalized.

Star Tribune Posts Video Of 35-W Bridge Collapse Press Conference

The Star Tribune has posted video from of press conference held earlier today on the 35-W bridge collapse. Governor Pawlenty is the first to speak and he discusses the items mentioned in the press release posted earlier today.

Pawlenty doesn't rule out a Special Session to address 35-W bridge collapse

Governor Pawlenty is speaking at a press conference and said he hasn't ruled out calling a Special Session to address the 35-W bridge collapse.

Governor Pawlenty declares peacetime emergency, activates State Emergency Operations Center

This press release was just sent out by Governor Pawlenty's office.


Saint Paul – Governor Pawlenty signed an emergency executive order today declaring a peacetime emergency and activating the State Emergency Operations Center. The Governor has directed all state agencies to provide necessary assistance to help local, state and federal units of government respond and recover from the collapse of the Interstate 35W bridge spanning the Mississippi River in Minneapolis. The emergency executive order will remain in effect until the conclusion of the emergency.

The following is the text of Emergency Executive Order 07-09:

I, TIM PAWLENTY, GOVERNOR OF THE STATE OF MINNESOTA, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the applicable statutes, do hereby issue this Executive Order:

WHEREAS, on August 1, 2007 at approximately 6:05 pm, the Interstate 35W bridge spanning the Mississippi collapsed totally destroying the bridge; and

WHEREAS, the catastrophic collapse of the bridge caused significant injuries and loss of life; and

WHEREAS, the response to the collapse has involved City of Minneapolis, Hennepin County, and other local, state and federal emergency response agencies; and

WHEREAS, significant local, state and federal resources are needed to continue recovery efforts, investigate the cause of the collapse and respond to the continuing needs of the victims of the collapse and infrastructure needs of the City of Minneapolis, the state and the nation; and

NOW, THEREFORE, I hereby order that:

A peacetime emergency under Minnesota Statutes, Section 12.21 exists as a result of the collapse of the bridge effective 6:05 p.m. CST. The damage caused by the collapse of the bridge also meets the definition of a disaster as defined in Minnesota Statutes, Section 12.03, Subdivision 2.

The Department of Public Safety, Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management will open the State Emergency Operations Center and continue activation of the Minnesota Emergency Operations Plan, including the provision of on-site support and assistance to the affected local governments.

All state agencies are directed to provide the assistance necessary to help local, state and federal units of government respond to and recover from this emergency.

The extent of the damage to Interstate 35W, impact on the governments, employers, and residents of the city, county and state are severe and constitute an emergency contemplated by the terms of 23 U.S.C. 120(e) and 125.

Damage to Interstate 35W, a Federal aid highway, is extensive and significantly impairs the transportation infrastructure of the city, county and State such that immediate repairs and rebuilding are vital to the security, well-being, health and commerce of the residents of the Sate of Minnesota.

I request that the Secretary of Transportation, or other appropriate federal highway official, concur in the declaration of this emergency.

The Department of Public Safety, Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, and other state agencies are directed to work with local and federal officials to determine the need for supplemental federal assistance and take all actions necessary to obtain needed assistance.

All state agencies are directed to provide support, assistance and cooperation as requested by the National Transportation Safety Board, which has been identified as the lead agency investigating the cause of the bridge collapse.

Pursuant to Minnesota Statutes 2006, 4.035, Subdivision 2, this emergency executive order shall be effective immediately and will remain in effect until the conclusion of the emergency.


Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Governor Pawlenty statement regarding I-35W bridge collapse

Saint Paul – The following is a statement from Governor Tim Pawlenty regarding the collapse of the I-35W Mississippi River bridge in Minneapolis:

"This is a catastrophe of historic propositions for Minnesota. We want to say to the families who are being impacted by this that our hearts and prayers are with you. But we also want to make sure that you know we are doing everything we can to make sure that we respond as quickly as we can to the needs of this emergency." Source: Office of Governor Tim Pawlenty, August 1, 2007

Press conference highlights

Governor Pawlenty and other officials held a press conference at 9:00pm. Here is an excerpt of rough quotes from Governor Pawlenty:

“This is a catastrophe of historic proportions for MN. We’re doing anything and everything to respond to the needs of those affected in this incident.”

“I visited the site. It is a catastrophe. To the families who are impacted by this, our hearts and prayers are with you and that we are doing everything we can to respond to this emergency.

“The bridge was built in 1967 and it’s unique in its design… It was inspected in 2005 and 2006. No structural defects were identified in those reports”

“Both federal and state officials, once the rescue operation is concluded will launch a full investigation… there is no indication that this was caused by terrorism, all signs point to structural issues.”

To support the relief effort log on to

I-35W bridge collapses

Developing News Story. . .

A major tragedy has occurred in Minneapolis with the collapse of a bridge over Interstate 35W.

The Interstate Hwy. 35W bridge over the Mississippi River collapsed during the evening rush hour Wednesday, dumping at least eight cars and a truck into the water and onto the land below, creating a horrific scene of damage, fire, smoke, injuries, frantic rescuers and terrified motorists.

It was not clear how many people might be hurt or killed, but witnesses said at least 20 cars were involved. (excerpt from Star Tribune story)

Click here for the entire developing story.

Please keep all of the prospective victims and their families in your thoughts and prayers.