Crossing the Rural-Urban Divide (with Governor Tim Walz)

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As fringe Republicans drive the agenda in Congress, Andy turns to the hope found in many states through newly elected and reelected governors. Democratic Minnesota Governor Tim Walz joins to discuss how he was able to bridge the rural-urban divide, first representing a district that voted for Trump and then winning statewide election in a purple state. Can we govern our country, states, and localities in ways that resist extreme elements and get things done? Tim offers his path forward.

Keep up with Andy on Twitter and Post @ASlavitt.

Follow Tim Walz on Twitter @GovTimWalz.

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Tim Walz, Andy Slavitt

Andy Slavitt  00:18

This is THE BUBBLE with Andy Slavitt. Tim Walz, governor of Minnesota is on the program today. Look, you can’t help but think that the country seems ungovernable in so many respects. If you look at what’s coming out of Washington, the […] of the fringe is now really calling the shots in Congress, setting the rules, driving the agenda. It’s really sort of a disheartening perspective on our country, and leadership, and consensus, yet, all is not lost. All is not lost. And all you have to do to get that perspective is to look at the states. And look at some of the governors and some of the progress that’s happened there recently with Governor Walz the two things I really want to explore with him that I think he’s uniquely able to answer are, number one, the state of our democracy, and can we indeed govern our country, our states or localities in ways that put a stop to some of these extreme elements? And secondly, how divided Are we really, you know, the governor is from a rural community. He was a congressperson from a rural community, he now governs a state that has a big urban, rural, red, blue divide. And we all understand our divisions, we understand the sort of tribal nature of politics. But I want to know if that’s the course we’re on, and are we just headed for to get worse and worse, or is it going to get better? Can we take a stand against the extreme? So that’s what we’re going to talk about. I think 2022 election, to some extent is a story, which lays this out. I wanted Tim on the show, because I think, you know, he really represents the conversation at the moment around those two questions. Let me let you in on a little trick of the trade here, on how I conduct these interviews. I’ve known Tim, for quite a long time. And the way I tried to interview people who I know well, and who are politicians, and very adept at sound bites and talking points, is just to really get into a conversation with them, and just start talking as if he and I were talking. On any other occasion we might be talking at lunch, right? And so you won’t hear me say, welcome to the bubble, as you hear me do in other interviews. You’re just gonna hear Tim and I launch right in, in you can feel like you’re listening into conversation between Tim and I hit it’s really a fun one, and I appreciated him coming on. Hey, Tim, how are you?

Tim Walz  03:01

I’m well.

Andy Slavitt  03:02

Congratulations on the reelection, man. That was huge. It was wonderful to say.

Tim Walz  03:07

Thank you. It was gratifying. I kind of thought it was going to be there. You know, when you’re in the moment of this, and there’s a lot of noise on the outside, but you get in poll numbers and things like that. But there is something to be said about just the acumen of what’s on the ground. And it’s reassuring to me that, you know, democracy, women’s health, education were the things that were driving the voters.

Andy Slavitt  03:28

Well, let’s start there. I’m curious what you think the 2022 elections meant for the country? I mean, Minnesota for people who aren’t familiar with the state, like a lot of Midwestern states has a lot of Democrats and a lot of Republicans. It’s got an urban center with a lot of Democrats. It’s got a lot of rural communities with their with Fairmount, Republicans, you represent it in the US Congress, a very rural area with court courts with some nice cities in it too. And you know, you ran against someone who Scott Johnson, who is sort of out of MAGA central casting. Yet, the election wasn’t to be honest, it wasn’t close. And not only that, but to flip the Senate blue and for the first time in a decade. You’ve got a full democratic governing coalition across the legislature and the governor’s office. What happened? Tell us what this tells you about the state of the electorate in 2022?

Tim Walz  04:24

Yeah, it’s a big deal. And Andy knows Minnesota. Well, and I think you’re right. The one thing in there too, Andy, there is a big chunk of, you know, capital I independents. You know, Jesse Ventura’s people, some of those are still there. So, Minnesota kind of represents that that quintessential purple state out in the Midwest. You’re right. I represented a district that when I won my last congressional race in 2016, Donald Trump won by 20% there, but I think it was the Minnesota again, it’s not, you know, Minnesota exceptionalism. But I think there was just a more grounded focus that the issues of the day coming out of a pandemic, the way we handled it, you know, that was debate home to the Mayo Clinic, home to the you know, the heart of the medical research and medical device industry. And we had folks that were blatantly telling people this was a hoax and things like that. And as you said, you know, my opponent being a medical doctor of all things, and falling into that, I think that was, well, you know, for what it’s worth, my pro tip of the day was don’t run on that people were relatively happy, we had pretty low death rates and thing. And then I do think the decision on Roe that came in, there was an energized, you could feel it. You know, it’s not again, you’re counting on young voters to win for you. We’ve always been all of us have been through this. It’s hard to get them to the polls for different reasons. They showed up this time and women, again, we’re speaking and so I think what it was is there was a basics about you know, what we handled COVID The best we could we’re coming out of this thing pretty well, you know, focusing on that issue around on women’s rights and reproductive rights. And then here in Minnesota again, one of the things we’re very proud of, and we ranked very near the top on public education was a full frontal attack from the other side on the just the whole concept of public education, that we should just quit funding them that we should defund it and that we should go to vouchers for parents. So I think it was a combination on this you know, I it’s not the campaign that I would have run against me if I was doing it, but I think in this that both the mood out here, the general nature of the electorate, it did split on those things that you talked about Andy I run on one Minnesota and it breaks my heart to see our state so polarized, but you can take our state just like you can the map of the United States. And it’s you know, that red and blue as a geographer, there’s been no bigger damage done to this country, but my whoever put that on TV the first time showing the splotches of red and the splotches of blue when we know that it is not that uniform, you know. The city of Rochester, Mankato in the middle or, so I think it was just voters knew they were there. And then I do think it came to this that the candidates, I think I got a pretty good draw on the candidate that I had. But I’d also like to think we did a pretty good job during COVID. We listened to experts. We listened to the folks who cared. And then I think we tackled head on a generational reckoning on race after the murder of George Floyd. So it was a while tell you if you put a list of things together in a first term, and thought that you were going to get reelected by a fairly comfortable margin. I wouldn’t bet against us, I think.

Andy Slavitt  07:27

I do want to go back to talk about some of the things that unite us because I think you make a really important point. You know, I think all of us are used to seeing elections where people have policy differences. You know, you’re used to running against people who you just adamantly disagree with from a policy standpoint, yet, at some level, it’s okay. Because, you know, they’re being truthful with the public. What felt new in what feels like a new phenomenon is this cycle, you and a number of other, you know, national candidates for governor and for Congress, we’re running against people who basically premised a lot of, they’re willing to premise a lot of their campaign on a lie. That’s right, whether it’s the lie of the 2020 election, whether it’s just boldface lying and telling myths truths. That worries a lot of us. I don’t know how much we’re going to lose, certainly confirming to see people like you who play it straight, whether the truth is good, or whether the truth is bad. When against someone like that, but how do you run against somebody who just is willing to invent their own playbook like that?

Tim Walz  08:33

Yeah, it was hard because I say this I’ve run against really good people. And I would have to say this my first run for governor in 2018, I ran against a man who honorable good guy, good father, I mean, lives up, just, I think, tells the truth every day, you know, kind of lives the life you’d like to see, we just disagreed on tax policy, disagreed on some of those things. And we had a good spirited campaign on the issues. This one was just, you know, just wild out of nowhere accusations you don’t really, I don’t know, if you followed it didn’t need it, asking how you run against it, you have a good team around you to keep you from losing your mind on some of this. Because it was just, you know, I’m in a debate, arguing that it wasn’t COVID that killed people. It was the ventilators, you know, it was the vaccine and thing, but I also was getting, I did 24 years in the military. And someone who didn’t do time, they came right at you that I somehow quit and deserted my people type of thing. You know, I don’t know where it comes from. And now you’re in the public who is predisposed for these massive attacks and massive lies, we needed to be talking about, how are we going to in Minnesota, an aging population, attract people here into a very robust and strong economy, but with a concern on workforce that mostly never came up. And so what I said is how you run on this is as my team did a great job of staying focused on the issues. What are we going to do to improve the lives of Minnesotans? I think you know, the thing my team, and I remind myself is talking about the issues and talking about solving them and being as honest as you could with the public. That one.

Andy Slavitt  10:09

Okay, let’s take a quick break, Governor. And then I want to come back and talk about what you could do as a governor to demonstrate how we can govern at a time when Congress is at this unprecedented state of dysfunction. Let’s zoom out a little bit nationally, you know, this was an election where a lot of people as we talked about where election denier stood for office, in battleground states, they all lost. That was encouraging. Yeah. What are the interesting stories, I think, and one thing to reflect on is, some governors now are getting a lot more attention. And there’s no Governor probably in the country that’s getting more attention than Ron DeSantis. Yep. And it’s interesting, because, you know, he’s got a style and an approach and an attitude. But what I think is really one of the nice surprises of the 2022 election is the class of Democratic governors that were both reelected. And that came in new and many of you are being discussed as people who are future leaders of the party, and a great crop of talent and in addition to yourself, you know, people we know, and, you know, well, Phil Murphy in New Jersey, Jared Polis of Colorado, Gavin Newsom, out here in California, JB Pritzker and Illinois, Gretchen Whitmer, of course, and Michigan. Cooper in North Carolina, and then some new folks, Katie Hobbs in Arizona, Josh Shapiro in Pennsylvania, West Moore and Maryland. Can you talk about is there some governing philosophy or an agenda? In contrast that with what you know, people aren’t seeing and hearing and how to Florida?

Tim Walz  12:01

Well, I really appreciate that question. Because I, if my children were scared at night, and I wanted to call them about the world, I would just have read that list you read, because these are some of the best most down to earth people. I had a chance to meet Katie Hobbs after the election at a Democratic governors retreat. And I’m like thinking, I don’t know on which planet, you could have got a farther difference, you know, further apart on this, and, and I think the one thing that’s grounded in all those people that you read, it’s a real focus on issues that impact people’s lives. I have a perspective not a lot of governors do. Governor polis and I were in the same class in Congress, and we share this just the vast difference. And I think seeing governor’s contrasted against that that federal backdrop today of total chaos. It reassures people that there was no, when the White House said in 2020, that this is just you know, a fluid will be gone by the weekend. And by the way, we don’t have any mask for you guys, good luck. Governor stepped up to that. And that list of governors you talked about, especially I think, did an incredible job. And one of the things that happened in that we started talking together, because this is I was in Congress, you can actually have a whole congressional career picking out a small niche, and then just going on talk shows talking about it. As the governor, when a man dies on the streets of Minneapolis at the hands of the police, you’re going to be asked how you’re going to respond to that. Or if you’re seeing hospitals overwhelmed. And I think that practicality really reassures me, and I think when you try and run for governor, and it may be true, you know, Senate and House to a certain degree, but I think especially with governors, after all, that you had people running on these issues of election denial and antivax, you know, conspiracy theories or whatever, it didn’t win, it didn’t win in Arizona, it didn’t win in Kansas, it didn’t win in Minnesota, it didn’t win in Wisconsin, where you saw, you know, Senate candidates actually did prevail running on that kind of thing. So I think the biggest lesson here is that you always have to bring these things back out in packs individual people, and the practical nature of that. So I have again to I’m, you know, it’s just some districting things, some issues in New York or whatever, we wouldn’t be going through this to be very clear Hakeem Jeffries, an incredible leader for the future would be the Speaker of the House, and we would actually be getting things done for people. But I think now, I was just telling my staff, I’m terrified about the debt ceiling vote. Yeah. You can’t vote for a speaker. How are you going to ask these guys to vote to raise the debt ceiling to pay our soldiers? They’re not going to do it. So it’s a bit terrifying. So I think the biggest thing is, is practical results and leaning into it and to be candid. There are a few Republican governors, not Ron De Santos, that that actually did that. But you saw what happened to them like Charlie Baker, in Massachusetts, Charlie Baker was the most popular governor in the country. The reason he’s not Governor now is because they primary Deemer would have any one to one. So I think when the rest of the country gets to meet Governor Santos, it’ll be a little different narrative than it is right now. Because I’ll compare what happened in COVID here to Florida any day.

Andy Slavitt  14:55

But you gotta be well, I’ve watched the TV over the last week. If you’ve watched any of C span And did it make you happy to be sitting the Governor’s chair versus where you sat few years ago?

Tim Walz  15:07

Yeah, I’d rather wake up with my head stapled to the carpet than being in Congress. I just said, Oh, my God, it’s just the dysfunction. And you know, and you’d appreciate this that I was telling my stamp because the average person watching and this is a good litmus test. Their first response is the most clear and best solution to saying, Well, why don’t just six either liberal Republicans go over and help a Kim Jeffries, or why don’t six moderate Democrats go over and help Republicans? And I said, I would take the bet that the sun rises in the West before that would ever happen. And when you tell that to Americans, there’s such a disconnect here. And they’re like, why that seems like an easy fix. Because that’s the way the rest of life works. That’s right, that you just kind of compromise. So yes, I’m glad I’m not there. I am gonna say this. I’m glad that the Senate is full of adults, includes Republicans, in some cases over there. I’ll say that. And that, you know, here in Minnesota, we got Amy Klobuchar, and Tina Smith, talking about real issues that are going to impact Minnesotans. So I think for people across the country, I’m optimistic, but this House Situation is going to make for a rough ride. And so once again, I’m insulating my state the best I can away from that.

Andy Slavitt  16:19

The closest comparison I can actually make I don’t know if you agree with this is, when I look at the Republican caucus in Congress, it kind of reminds me of the Israeli government, a coalition government, where you got to Kevin McCarthy, which is kind of like Netanyahu and a breakaway set of extremists who get to set the entire agenda for the country, yes, as they’re going to do in Israel. Because you can’t govern without the small handful of people. We’re gonna have 510 12 people who are on the fringe of the fringe. I mean, they are further to the right than Marjorie Taylor Greene. And they are setting all the rules and all the agenda for how the house representatives gonna operate.

Tim Walz  16:59

Yeah, and these compromises that were made, because think about this, this happened before, when George Bush was president, there were a lot of Democrats that didn’t want to vote for the debt ceiling, it was opposition to the war, you know, things I was frustrated about, but you can’t default on the national debt. So they would come find 30 or 40 of us who are willing to go over and help Republicans pass when we were in the minority to pass the debt ceiling vote. And we did that take a little heat back home, but it was a responsible thing to do. He’s already promised he will never do that. He will never do that. Because he could pass a debt ceiling, with six Republicans voting for it and all the Democrats and get us out of this. But we all know that if he did that he’s no longer the speaker. So I just I mean, it will have to get worked out. But if you ask me right now, I don’t see any possible solution on the debt ceiling coming up here over the next couple of months. And I’m worried about it. And I’ll tell you state budgets, we will budget with that sense of uncertainty in mind. We have to.

Andy Slavitt  17:48

Yeah, yeah. We talked about inflation and interest rates and everything else. You’ve seen nothing until you’ve seen the US default on its debt, which it could do after August, as you say, Absolutely. And, you know, I think what worries me and tell me if this is the right analysis is to get something worked out. The tax, the cost that will be demanded from the other side will be so high. It could include defunding Ukraine, because you got a small group of people that are the same people that are Russia supporters.

Tim Walz  18:17

Oh, yeah, it will be proposed, it will absolutely be proposed. So you’ll be put in the actual, you know, hellish position of choosing between continuing to fund an ally against Russian aggression, or have us default on the net. And I think that’s exactly how they’ll be thinking it will extend everything from the ACA, all the things that you know, you’ve worked on to made a difference, they’ll continue to attack, and again, they will never, ever put up a solution, you will never ever see a solution. It’s just hyperbole. And, again, when you saw it this week on all of the major networks, when I see the congressman from Colorado, being the spokesperson for this, let’s just be clear that that voice represents such an incredibly small portion of the American population did not even be, you can’t even measure it. But that voice is going to be driving this discussion around whether we fund Ukraine or default on our debt. So it’s gonna be a scary time. The one thing is as voters can change this, I keep, you know, making that case as long as we expand the right to vote, as long as we make it easier to vote as long as we get rid of gerrymandering. The American people will make the right decision. The problem we see unlike state like Wisconsin, they vote 50/50. But they send six Republicans and two Democrats to Congress. Well, there’s your problem.

Andy Slavitt  19:35

Okay, I want to take one more break and come back and talk about what your priorities are for the state, what the state of democracy looks like, and what really divides us and unite us as a country. We’ll be right back. Not only again did you win reelection by a comfortable margin. You also flipped the Senate blue, which was something that people hadn’t been able to deal with was that even conceived though for quite a while. You have a meaningful budget surplus big bigger than I think the state’s ever had. Yeah, so you got a chance to put a real governing agenda together talk about what’s highest on your list?

Tim Walz  20:30

Yeah, it’s our we, you know, it’s not a motto, it’s a goal to get to that Minnesota right now ranks third in poverty amongst all the states third, lowest and we rank fifth in, in child poverty. Our goal is to get to one and what we’re talking about is we want to make Minnesota the best state in the country to have children raise a family and live the life you want to live. So we’re focusing on those type of quality of life issues, historic investments in education and you know, true transformational things, making sure housing we’re gonna go things like universal meals, for children, where you don’t have lunch tickets, you come in and eat, I think you’re gonna see us look at these issues and to intake things that that we were voted in to do. One being protecting the democracy, making sure that we’re doing automatic voter registration pre-registration of 16 and 17 year olds, we were precluded here because of the Republican Senate from using federal dollars to make it easier to vote the Help America Vote tech money, the […] money will start spending that you’ll start to see us codify probably, you know, by the end of the month around Roe, we’re an island have access to abortion and reproductive services in the Midwest, you’ll see us do those types of things. And then we’ll do the things that we were held up on investing in infrastructure, investing in some of these research things that that we can do to move Minnesota forward, we’re going to move to clean energy, you know, electric transmission by our carbon free by 2040. And then electrifying our transportation grid in a way that gets us ready for the future. So this is what I think, again, I would make the case when I bring these things up, and I talk about how they impact people’s lives in greater Minnesota and rural Minnesota, folks who are Republicans like those, but they don’t like it that we’re proposing. And y’all know, there’ll be tax things, we’re going to change the tax code that we know that if I’ve made the pledge that we’re going to eliminate childhood poverty, one of the things we know that the Biden administration did during COVID was the child tax credit and the acceleration of that reduce child poverty by almost 50%, we’re going to put in and have the most robust amongst the state, so you aren’t going to see tax cuts, but they’re going to be targeted at the working class, in a way that matters.

Andy Slavitt  22:30

There’s a narrative in the country, that the differences among us are greater than the commonalities today that if you live in a rural community, you’re defined as a Trump voter, you may be defined by your faith, you may be defined by gun ownership, you may be defined by a number of things and that those things, versus someone who live in St. Paul, or someone who live in a suburb like Edina or Minnetonka, that you’ve got people that have way more that divide them than unite them that we live in vastly different countries. Now, is that true? I mean, are people more different in what they want than similar?

Tim Walz  23:08

No, it is who I am I you know, I always tell people, you know, that they try and divide us on this Minnesota, as I said, it’s no different rural versus urban. About two thirds of our population is in the seven county metro area around Minneapolis and St. Paul. But we’re very big state agricultural, I actually grew up I had 24 kids in my high school class. 12 are cousins. I’m a lifelong soldier. I’m a football coach. I’m a hunter. So one of my things was my profile coming in was a little different, that we are going to have a greater Minnesota Governor, and no less, Greater Minnesota, you know, rural Minnesota but a Democrat. So I had to win over the Twin Cities that who didn’t think I was progressive enough for whatever. Well, the irony is now that this dividing and splitting us and coming back on it is that they’ve tried to make it that I don’t get greater Minnesota, I don’t understand rural Minnesota, my mom still lives on the farm that we have. And it’s the same goals are out there. People want to live the lives that they choose. They want their children to have a good education. They want to be safe in their communities, public safety, they want to see opportunities. And I just think this idea and again, I go back to this I’m a cultural geographer. You know, geographic information systems, how we plot things out. This has been a concerted effort telling people they’re different people like Governor Walz, you know, his one Minnesota, whatever is it? I said, You know what, every single governor who came before me had a theme of this because you know, how you don’t win elections. You don’t run on a theme of we’re a divided Minnesota and it’s my job to divide you more. This people know we’re stronger together.

Andy Slavitt  24:35

But how do you recapture that? How do you recapture that feeling of commonality?

Tim Walz  24:39

I think you got to get out there and try it. I mean, I tried it and it breaks my heart you know, they’ll edit things and act like I’m not from Greater Minnesota when I am I think you’ve got to go out and stand in front of people. I think I was at one where I last summer. My brother in law invited me to this scramble golf tournament little town or the South Dakota border. And my nephew was playing with me and in the middle there, you know, we’re going to the clubhouse at the end, there was a table of guys, I went over and talk to him a little bit. And we’re talking about pheasant hunting and things I grew up with turned out they were in South Dakota not far from was Nebraska, we shook some dice to see who bought the next soda or whatever. And I walked away from that. And my nephew said, Do you know those guys were talking crap about you all day. And now they’re over there doing this. And it’s not anything magical about me. And I’m not saying I can win them all. Because I get it, they’re probably still talking that crap about me, you know, maybe, but the humanity of coming together or being able to see this because it’s just his caricature now. And I, again, I’m an early technology adapter. But I think that just the impersonal nature of complaining about someone on social media and stuff, we have to just go face to face, we have to find those commonalities.

Andy Slavitt  25:43

Can you extend that beyond politics to like, to people in their everyday lives? Who are you it feels like, the most common way of us understanding each other can’t be through social media? Is there something extension to what you said about showing up being face to face? You know, you’d like to think that issues such as fighting Russia, or fighting a pandemic, with salsa, you know what, we’re on the same team on so many issues. But it feels like that’s lost. It feels like you’re one of the people who cares about the most about being able to help us find that again.

Tim Walz  26:15

Yeah, I do. And that worries me. I think you’re right, because I don’t want to sound like this is naive. And it’s kumbaya that, that you just go out there. And I think this idea of hearing where people are coming from just to be clear, I’m not interested in hearing why you think the COVID vaccine is a plot with Russia and China or something like that. I’m not really interested in you trying to tell me how January 6 was a peaceful visit to the Capitol, I am interested to hear of what are the economic angst in your family? What are you frustrated with what we’re delivering or not delivering on? How do you think that our school systems could work better, and having an open conversation on that, and I want to be clear, I’m not naive by any stretch of the imagination. But I think the alternative here is, is to just decide to win elections based on a narrow electoral ban. Because you know, to be candid, in Minnesota, you can win with seven counties. But I don’t know if you can govern with seven counties. That’s why a lot of these legislators expanded our reach out Greater Minnesota. And so I think people are gonna have to see results, I think there has to be accountability. I’m just gonna say this, that that some of the things that have been done over the last several years, if people don’t see accountability for those, I think it really undermines rule of law. And just commonality I got into this that I had a debate and this was on the ACA, this was even years ago, I’m in a debate. And I was mentioning about the you know, the Dartmouth athletic Health Statistics indicated that this is how we could reduce, you know, whatever the issue we’re talking about, and my opponent said, but his brother in law was in Toronto and was talking to a cab driver who said that their system doesn’t work. At that point in time, there’s a responsibility for both the media and everybody involved and say, Hold on, that this is not apples to apples, this is not it. And we have to get back. I’m really worried about the post truth society, if you will, or whatever, or this idea that Well, I disagree with the science when science changes their mind. They weren’t lying to you. They simply learned and so on this will you said in the beginning, that masks would do this. Yeah. But we learned something. And we moved on. And I think getting back to that. So I’ll come back to this. I think it’s education. Those who say that we shouldn’t worry about, you know, a well-rounded education. There’s a reason that we need to have science classes in school, the pandemic showed us that, and I think getting people that opportunity really helps.

Tim Walz  26:15

For sure. I want to talk about two final questions before I let you go. And I really appreciate your time today. First one, you know, I have to ask you, because you know, with whom I live, and that’s common sense gun safety. Yeah. You know, my wife, Lana, what do you think could get done in Minnesota?

Tim Walz  28:42

Yeah, well, I think you’ll see universal background checks on sales, I think you will see a red flag law to make sure that we can make sure that we’re helping families because we still know that the highest number of gun deaths even when you know gun crimes have increased are still suicides. One of the things we talked about today, as they passed, they don’t need to have firearms here in the state capitol when people are here to express their opinions on different things. They want to feel safe. So I think your wife’s allies and friends were here for the opening of the session, the Moms Demand Action, you know, the Everytown. Folks, they were here. Yep, we can do those. And I say this as a lifetime soldier. I’ve shot all these. It didn’t help me get the Democratic primary win, but I was Democrat Top Gun in Congress in our trap shoots competitions and things like that. I grew up around this I owned firearms, but I don’t need one in the Capitol. I don’t need an AR to do those things. And I think when I inherited my wife’s grandfather’s shotgun, we can have things that pass those heritage things on that aren’t a problem. But we don’t need to see here in the Twin Cities where we had a shooting at a restaurant that had multiple fatalities involved in it. The person who where they got that gun from the person had purchased over 190 guns in the previous month as a straw purchaser. So I think you’ll see some of those strengthening those penalties around On that, Andy that just asked you.

Andy Slavitt  30:01

Yeah, I mean, people who believe there’s not a consensus view on guns and gun ownership, I think your view and what you represent is as close to a consensus view as exists in this country. Most people don’t want to see school shootings, and want to see comments, its protections. And also many people don’t find it dangerous for some of the very uses of responsible gun ownership that you’ve talked about. I think many people will final question for you. And then I will let you go because I know your staff is want you to get back to actual governing as opposed to talking to me, because we’ve talked a lot around. And so I just want to ask about it directly about the state of democracy and some of the attacks on democracy, whether it’s violent attacks, democratic institutions, partisan politics, shaping the pandemic response, women’s reproductive rights, voting rights, you’ve talked about all of these things. And it feels like it can’t help it feel to the average citizen that over the last decade or so, our democracy has been eroding, heading the wrong direction, and so forth. And I heard you talk recently about telling the legislature to think big, yes, when it comes to restoring elements of democracy. And I want to know, whether you think we’ve reached a bottom whether we reached a potential turning point, and whether you and others around the country have a real chance to help us recapture and move in the right direction in our democracy.

Tim Walz  31:34

We do if we lost the elections, then I would say no, if we lost in Arizona, I think even if we’ve lost here in Minnesota, I think our democracy has been challenged. I look at it as a soldier, they probed our perimeter, they found weak spots, we held off that assault. And now the way I view this is, is that I’m going to strengthen our battlements all around us, I’m going to come back out and make it difficult, you can come back out again, we may lose an election, and you may try and do this. But the safeguards that are put in place are going to be so strong and still robust. It’s going to be hard for you to come at those but no, I think it’s still there. And they’re states you know, surrounding me that it’s illegal to provide someone water when they’re voting why in God’s name is it on a national holiday? What is what is the deal with we make our decisions based on a 13 hour day where it might snow here in Minnesota? It’s this is just stupid. And we need to change people that this is important decisions. We need to you know, as I said, everybody registered we in Minnesota ranked top three all the time and voter turnout, we can do better than that even to get people out. So I think that that they have challenged us I think we stood up to be honest with you. I think we lost those listed governor’s you listed. I think we’d have been in big trouble because I think we up here in the upper Midwest between Tony Evers Gretchen Whitmer myself, we saw this as a firewall against it and had those three toppled understand it wasn’t just winning the governor’s race. Those three states were the electoral college. And I would say on this, if any help from folks out there want to do it, why are we still dealing with an electoral college rather than a popular vote? So I think yes, it was we were challenged. I think we’re still in a fragile place. But I think these winds mean big. But what I’m telling my colleagues and my legislature here is, don’t just wait for the next wave to come at us. Let’s build up our defenses. So when that wave comes, they can’t they’re not going to break through. And that’s what we’re gonna do here in Minnesota.

Andy Slavitt  33:16

Do you think passing the Equal Rights Amendment is a part of that?

Tim Walz  33:19

I think it is a part of it. Yeah, I support that. I think the folks who are advocating that, I think there’s a lot of fronts where we can do this that we have to do and I think, you know, I’d like to see us here and I don’t know how we do it, you know that that’s a holiday, that’s a national, that’s a state holiday, we’re voting on that day, you know, we have some of these other state holidays that are paid time off that, you know, let maybe which one of those to get this one. Because I think it’s really important if Presidents Day is so important. Presidents Day can be coincided with Election Day, I think I should get Republicans supporting me on this. We do all these things. This isn’t to stop Republicans from voting like we see in other states where it’s meant to make it disadvantaged for people who are economically disadvantaged. Everybody’s able to vote this is you should be with us, too. I don’t care how you vote, when we get this done. I may help put all these things in place. And they would vote me out the next one. That’s fine. That’s the way it’s supposed to work. So we’re going to do it.

Andy Slavitt  34:13

Well, a real soldier for democracy, real soldier for this country, and a leader that I think has set and I think it will set over the next few years a great example for our country. Governor Walz, thank you so much. It’s so great to see you again.

Tim Walz  34:28

Tell Lana, hi, we’ll sign those bills.

Andy Slavitt  34:46

Thank you very much. Governor Walz for coming in. I took probably more of his time than his staff wanted, but as you can tell, he was pretty engaged. Friday show is a really special one. We’re going deep inside The experience of women in Afghanistan right now, a month ago, women were banned from attending universities, having already been banned in Afghanistan by the Taliban from attending secondary school. Women are not allowed in public parks. Women are not allowed outside of the house now without a male chaperone, and they’re not allowed to travel out of the country without a male chaperone. It is an imprisonment. There’s no other way to describe it. So we’re going deep inside with a former State Department official who now chairs an NGO on the ground helping women in Afghanistan. It’s a really important conversation. I hope you’ll tell your friends about it. Hope you listen. And as always, you can reach me at Please let us know what you think and let us know what you’d like to hear on the show.

CREDITS  35:54

Thanks for listening to IN THE BUBBLE. We’re a production of Lemonada Media. Kathryn Barnes, Jackie Harris and Kyle Shiely produced our show, and they’re great. Our mix is by Noah Smith and James Barber, and they’re great, too. Steve Nelson is the vice president of the weekly content, and he’s okay, too. And of course, the ultimate bosses, Jessica Cordova Kramer and Stephanie Wittels Wachs, they executive produced the show, we love them dearly. Our theme was composed by Dan Molad and Oliver Hill, with additional music by Ivan Kuraev. You can find out more about our show on social media at @LemonadaMedia where you’ll also get the transcript of the show. And you can find me at @ASlavitt on Twitter. If you like what you heard today, why don’t you tell your friends to listen as well, and get them to write a review. Thanks so much, talk to you next time.

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