Gov. Dayton and Sen. Fischbach discuss future over lunch

In the midst of an impending shuffling of political seats, Governor Mark Dayton and State Senator Michelle Fischbach met for lunch Friday afternoon to discuss the future.

Earlier this week, Dayton announced Lt. Governor Tina Smith as his appointee to fill Senator Al Franken's seat. Sen. Fischbach, a Republican, is currently the Minnesota Senate President and would be obligated by the Constitution to become Lt. Governor when Smith transitions into her role as senator.

Fischbach says she hopes to keep her seat in the State Senate while she fulfills the role of Lt. Governor, however it is unclear if she will be able to hold both positions at the same time. Dayton has asked the Attorney General for an opinion. In a statement, Dayton said they briefly discussed this issue, but spent the majority of the time "sharing pictures of our grandchildren and our pets."

Dayton said he and Fischbach both agreed that they while they may not have the same opinions on state policies and procedures they still want a good working relationship and want to look into areas to work together. Fischbach suggested looking into elder care.

Senator Michelle Fischbach statement:

"I would like to thank the Governor for the delicious lunch and a great conversation. We had a good meeting today at the Residence. We had a friendly discussion and shared photos of our grandkids — we both have adorable grandchildren! We also discussed ways we can move forward. I look forward to fulfilling my constitutional duty of ascending to the role while maintaining my responsibilities to the constituents of Senate District 13."

Governor Mark Dayton statement:

"Senator Fischbach and I had a very cordial and enjoyable lunch of Minnesota walleye and hot fudge sundaes. The Senator very graciously brought me a loaf of homemade banana bread, which I expect to devour this weekend. 

“We talked about her role as Lt. Governor. I stated my view that she will be an independent Constitutional Officer and thereby entitled to express her own views on state policies and procedures. I said that I don’t think it will surprise anyone, when we disagree; however, that should not prevent us from having a constructive working relationship. She readily agreed. We also agreed to look for areas where we could work cooperatively together, and she suggested elder care. We will explore that and other opportunities to work together further in the weeks ahead.

“We discussed very briefly her desire to retain her Senate seat, while serving as Lt. Governor. I told her that I am fully prepared to work with her as Lt. Governor; her standing in the Senate is beyond my purview, which is why I have requested a legal opinion by the Attorney General on that subject. I said that it has been my office’s consistent practice not to proceed to call for or schedule a special legislative election, unless or until we receive a formal letter of resignation from the incumbent legislator.

“Most of our lunch was spent sharing pictures of our grandchildren and our pets: her cat and my dogs. We took a picture together at the conclusion of our very friendly lunch, which I believe Senator Fischbach has tweeted out.

“I look forward to building our good working relationship in the year ahead.”