(KMSP) - Governor-elect Tim Walz met with former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura on Tuesday, discussing the process of building an administration and their mutual desire for legalizing marijuana.
Walz later said in an interview that he had met with four of the five living former governors and planned to meet with Gov. Al Quie soon.
Walz invited Ventura to the Capitol shortly after winning the job last week. Ventura arrived Tuesday afternoon wearing a Jimi Hendrix T-shirt, SEAL Team hat and Polaris jacket.
"It’s just for me an opportunity to learn more about the job, to learn more from people who have done it, and to look at things that we can get done that make a difference for Minnesotans and maybe avoid some of the pitfalls," Walz said.
Ventura has long advocated for legalizing marijuana, arguing that it makes financial sense for the state. Walz endorsed the idea on the campaign trail, though it faces an uncertain future in a divided state legislature.
Walz also responded to criticism over his plans to seek a gas tax increase in next year's budget.
Outgoing Republican House Speaker Kurt Daudt said last week that anyone who proposed a tax increase while the state has a budget surplus "needs to get themselves checked into an institution."
"There’s so many things wrong with that. First of all, I’ve spent my career in congress working on issues of veterans’ mental health. You simply don’t make backhanded comments on that," Walz said.
The governor-elect said the state needed a longer-term funding source for road and bridge projects, instead of using a one-time surplus.
"To spend a short-term budget surplus on some construction projects on roads without any plan of how we extend this to the next generation is irresponsible," he said.
Walz remains a sitting congressman and is heading to Washington for his work in the U.S. House. He said his transition team would announce later this week the members of an advisory council that will help fill out his administration.