ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP) - Gov. Mark Dayton and Lt. Gov. Michelle Fischbach made their first public appearance together Tuesday since a lunch meeting last December, pausing for a series of photos following a press conference on a pending elder abuse bill circulating the legislature.
The two made a show of their appearance at the Capitol as media cameras captured the moment, with Dayton saying they were trying to take a selfie but couldn't figure it out.
"Look at those cameras clicking away there!" Dayton said as he put his arm around Fischbach. "We’ll be viral in minutes. Seconds even."
Fischbach's ascent to the position while she remains a member of the Minnesota state Senate remains a source of controversy--though a judge dismissed a lawsuit filed by one of her constituents last month, effectively declaring that Fischbach can hold both her seat in the legislature and the title of lieutenant governor—at least for now.
The legal window is still open to file another lawsuit, however, with Minnesota Judge John H. Guthmann declaring before the start of the legislative session that it was impossible to know what the potential harm to constituents may be until the session begins and Fischbach begins filing votes.
The entire situation began last year when then-Sen. Al Franken stepped down from his position over a series of sexual misconduct allegations, forcing Dayton to nominate his replacement. He went with his Lt. Governor and former running mate Tina Smith, who was sworn in as a U.S. Senator Jan. 3.
The move left a hole in his administration that, according to current law, would be filled by the president of Minnesota's state Senate. Fischbach subsequently declined to take the position's salary and retains her role in the Senate even after assuming duties as lieutenant governor.