In the Spotlight

News & Features
The Big Plan
October, 1999
Source: Governor Ventura

Curt Johnson, former Carlson administration official tells MPR's Greta Cunningham that the "devil is in the details." 10/5/99 (3:05)

Tim Pawlenty (R-Eagan), House Majority Leader says he wants more specifics from the governor. 10/6/99 (:21)


We envision Minnesota as the best place to grow a business because of high-skilled workers and a supportive tax climate. The best place to retire because of affordable, accessible health care and living options; the best place to raise a family because of livable communicates and excellent public education; the best place to immigrate because of economic and community opportunities; the best place to vacation and conference due to our hospitality and tourism industries; the best place to farm because of our commitment to competitive agriculture worldwide; and the best place to live because of our ethical, responsive, public non-profit and private sector leaders and involved citizens of all ages.
Healthy Vital Communities
Self Sufficient People
Service, Not Systems
Minnesota: World Competitor


Read | Listen

The Vision:

"Working together, we will not fail" is the hallmark expression of the Ventura Administration. It directly speaks to the power of people working together, be they in groups, neighborhoods or bigger community settings. One of Minnesota's strengths, and challenges, comes from the diversity of "communities" that exist across the state. The next census will show that almost half of the state's population will be concentrated in the greater metropolitan area, stretching from St. Cloud to the urban centers of southern Minnesota. Vital regions are emerging around Duluth, Bemidji, Moorhead, Alexandria, Willmar, Worthington, and others. Governor Ventura is a believer in communities -- strong and vigorous -- and well served by local, trusted elected officials.


"I want to erase the word voucher from the vocabulary," were Governor Ventura's words in his first State of the State address. By these words, he focused the responsibility for delivering results squarely on every parent, every teacher, every administrator, and every school board member in Minnesota to do what is right for every child. The K-12 initiatives will involve agencies as diverse as Public Safety, Metropolitan Council, Corrections, and Housing Finance in new discussions of how to improve student achievement.

Three tough questions were posed by the new Governor: 1.How do we get the bang for our buck on education spending (developing a formula that is based on results, not micro-management at the classroom level) 2.What is the state's role with clearly spelling out standards and then putting accountability at each level, starting with parents and including local districts (governance and accountability) and, 3.How can we promote the use of what we already know we should do, but too often don't do (using best practices across disciplines to better align K-12 and human services, health, housing, transit, and other state investments)?

The goal is simply this: to ensure the best public education for every child in Minnesota, and an optimal representative governance structure that delivers results.

The team will examine, and make recommendations for, practices that support results-oriented learning which focuses on student achievement and aligns core systems.
Lead Department: CFL Support: Health; Public Safety; Corrections; HFA; Met Council; Higher Education

The team will review current state and local governance arrangements for the provision of elementary and secondary education and related services and facilities that serve children and families. The team will make recommendations for reforms that will clarify state and local responsibilities, improve accountability and enhance opportunities for innovations that will improve results for learners.
Lead Departments: MN Planning; CFL Support: Finance

The team will examine how the school finance system can better support achievement, accountability and equity.
Lead Departments: CFL; Finance; MN Planning Support: Revenue; Human Services; Public Safety; Health; HFA; Met Council Consultant: Augenblick & Myers

Agriculture is a critical segment of Minnesota's economy. Our farm and rural families are an important part of Minnesota's identity and culture. Today farmers face many economic, social and environmental challenges. State agencies should work with farmers and the rural communities to help them share in the economic growth that is experienced in the rest of the state. State agencies should also help farmers by reducing unnecessary obstacles that limit their ability to be competitive in the world marketplace, while at the same time, helping to safeguard the environment and our food supply. Likewise, we need to help make our rural communities centers of economic activity to provide employment opportunities to keep young people in their communities and to provide off-farm employment for families that need to supplement their farm income.
Lead Department: Agriculture Support: Farm Cabinet

For too long, limited solutions have existed for solving transportation problems. Implementation of light rail transit, commuter rail, and dedicated high-speed bus routes will be elements of diversifying the options that exist to address transportation problems. Light Rail Transit is the first step in developing a true multimodal transportation system.
Lead Departments: MnDOT; Met Council Support: Finance

Recognizing that growth will occur, communities should be shaped by choice, not by chance. That Minnesota will grow is given; how we will grow is not. "Smart growth" principles force tough choices about how we will grow and how the state's resources will be used. It's a mindset about incentives, not mandates. Minnesota's resources should be focused on helping first those communities that are committed to sustaining existing development and enhancing our environmental resources through the development of greenways and the use of other tools to protect and conserve our open spaces. Smart growth is creating an environment in which farming and urban development can co-exist. Smart growth is fostering more reliance on transit and creating housing options that allow families to stay and invest in a community.
Lead Departments: Met Council; MN Planning (Urban GEIS; Municipal Board; I- 94) Support: MnDOT; DNR; Commerce; DTED; Finance; Administration; HFA; Agriculture; MPCA

Local economies won't be healthy or vital without available, affordable housing for every citizen -- and especially to new workers. Plant expansion and job growth can grind to a halt if new employees cannot find housing near their work. Existing businesses may not reinvest in their current location if neighborhood instability or deteriorating housing undermines the appeal of the community for workers and customers. Housing that is durable and well-maintained is an important part of a community's tax base and infrastructure. Where the private sector alone cannot produce housing for everyone, the public sector must act in partnership with communities, developers, employers, lenders, churches, schools, and residents to develop housing that is an asset to the community and a necessary support for a vital local economy.
Lead Department: Housing Finance Agency (HFA) Support: Met Council; DTED; MN Planning; Finance; CFL; IRRRB; Revenue; Human Services

In 1976, the Minnesota Department of Highways changed its name to the Minnesota Department of Transportation. To realize the full benefits of this change, the state must be committed to supporting long-term comprehensive solutions that address the economic need to move goods and agricultural products through the state and the social implications of congestion on citizens and communities. In the new economy, which includes just-in-time inventories and Internet shopping, Minnesota's future economic competitiveness is dependent on how successful we are at moving people and products around with the least hassle possible.
Lead Departments: MnDOT; Met Council Support: Finance; Revenue; Public Safety; IRRRB

The future economic vitality of the state hinges on the adaptation and use of tools that allow economic development, built on community networks and telework centers, and that encourage and promote electronic commerce. Legal and regulatory access issues will be examined so that barriers to electronic transactions are removed, and parties to the transactions enjoy the same legal status they do in conventional transactions. These solutions will be constructed to allow interoperability across legal jurisdictions, including across State lines, while protecting the rights and responsibilities of all parties. Access to intrastate, national and international markets, will be made achievable and economically feasible through a visionary communications structure that permits access to expanded opportunities in voice, data, and video information transmitted instantaneously over high-speed networks, telephone lines, and wireless communications traffic to all parts of the state, and the world. High technology start-ups and entrepreneurial ventures will be encouraged and supported by appropriate government actions, and development of a formal network of banking, legal, accounting, and investment mentoring services. Every resident, business and government office of the state shall have access to the network. A transition from the current non-competitive regulatory environment to a consumer-oriented marketplace, with protections, is the best hope to make Minnesota a more attractive market for telecommunications infrastructure investment, and business in general.
Lead Departments: Administration; Commerce; DTED; MN Planning Support:: CFL

The next census will reveal a newly-diverse population characterized by widely diverse races, heritage, cultures, beliefs, and lifestyles. Diversity is not something that will happen sometime off in the future. It is the best word to capture the total picture of life right now in urban, suburban, and yes, rural communities across Minnesota. The Governor refers to the Constitution when he reminds that every citizen is afforded certain inalienable rights. He touches his own beliefs when he observes that "Love is bigger than government." In other words, government is required to ensure that every person has an equal access to education, and is not denied housing or a job or services because of who they are or what they believe. At the same time, the Governor cautions the best government protections are insufficient to protect against the pain and inhumanity caused by individual acts of prejudice.

The entire cabinet of the Ventura Administration shares the commitment to serve every citizen equally. The Minnesota Councils of Color, established by state statute years ago, are valued advisors in the many aspects of achieving that goal. Meanwhile, the Department of Human Rights, together with many community-based partners, is entrusted to create safe places where Minnesotans, who may not speak the same languages, can have candid, honest conversations. When we can see each other as people logically comfortable with others who love and accept us, and not merely as groups that must be forced together by law, life will be good no matter where we live.
Lead Department: Human Rights Support:: All Departments; Minnesota Councils of Color

The Ventura Administration recognizes the shift from the present regulatory structure to a competitive structure for providing energy services to Minnesota consumers. The competitive structure will, at a minimum:
  • Provide for access to service, reliability of service and competitive pricing;
  • Encourage development and utilization of renewable energy sources;
  • Provide energy consumers with market choices in all types of electric generation (i.e. natural gas, wind, hydro, nuclear, etc.);
  • Recognize the need for environmentally, economically, and socially responsible generation and transmission development in the region; and
  • Encourage development of responsible generation and transmission infrastructure within Minnesota by allowing attractive returns on investment for developers and providers of all energy services.

Lead Department: Commerce Support:: PUC; MPCA; Agriculture

Implementation of a statewide high speed voice, data and video network will give our local communities, and in particular local institutions of criminal justice, health and learning, access to resources and information currently out of their geographic reach. There must be a state enterprise-wide integrated network capable of providing easy access to information as well as system integrity for stability and security throughout the state. Connecting Minnesota and other similar initiatives will enable several programs to achieve this integrity and improve service delivery by providing a high bandwidth network throughout the state. All Minnesota communities will be connected to the portals and resources of the digital world through a reliable, cost-effective, and secure communications infrastructure. Electronic technology standards and guidelines adopted by all agencies and departments will increase their ability to work together, share information and leverage resources, while providing essential access to all citizens as well as local units of government. Electronic technologies utilized in government service will provide greater levels of access, ease and convenience for citizens using government services, as well as contributing to communities across the state. Our objective is to provide access to government services and commercial activity by means of electronic connectivity which is high speed, integrated and global.
Lead Departments Administration; IRRRB (do I.T.!) Support: DTED: Commerce; MN Planning; Public Safety; Labor & Industry; Corrections; CFL; Higher Education; Secretary of State; Attorney General; Judiciary


Read | Listen

The Vision:

Choices provided equitably to all people, combined with each individual's courage to try them, describes the fit between strategic government investments and the goal of self-sufficiency under the Ventura Administration. It's not a new concept. In fact, it builds on the strong traditional Minnesota ethic of hard work, discipline, and individual contributions to the public good.

The willingness to keep learning throughout life and actually apply that knowledge to everyday decisions ensures every person opportunities to achieve his or her own definition of self-sufficiency. It may be to obtain a good job, become a good parent, contribute to the community, or live healthy and independent into older years. It may be to learn English, assist farm families through innovative marketing, or build a new business. Every person has different needs during his or her lifetime for help in achieving self-sufficiency. While there is a key role for government in our lives, government should really do only that which individuals cannot do for themselves to survive and thrive. Government should appropriately provide a safety net ... not a hammock.


Everyone gets down on his or her luck at one time or another. Minnesota is committed to helping those who are really down, particularly families with children. That help, however, should be temporary, should not substitute for the parents' own responsibility to support and care for their children, and, above all, should encourage people to become as self-sufficient as possible. Minnesota's welfare reform, the Minnesota Family Investment Program, has been successful in helping many people find and keep jobs. Many of these jobs, however, are either less than full time or pay low wages that require continuing dependence on public support. Our commitment to self-sufficiency for all Minnesotans calls for creative effort to identify strategies to help low-income families become truly independent through their own efforts, but with appropriate public support. Our success in moving people toward self-sufficiency depends not just on living support, job training and education, but also on stable and affordable housing, safe child care, accessible health care, and transportation. We need to ensure that all players needed to help people move out of poverty are working together to accomplish that goal, [among others, that counties and various state departments have clearly--defined and mutually supportive roles and responsibilities].
Lead Department: Human Service Support: Workforce Development Council; Housing Finance Agency (HFA) Transportation (MnDOT); Health;

We have a great need and a great opportunity to redesign some things about our health system. Individual citizens must play a much larger role in their own health. People should have a greater array of choices and a larger say in how health services are delivered. And we all must take more responsibility for the choices we make about health risk behaviors. The choices we make matter profoundly when it comes to health care. Lifestyle choices directly determine a large percentage -- maybe even the majority -- of all health care spending. A health system built for the future needs to promote and reward healthy choices. We must also become more mindful of how we use health care services. The "entitlement" mindset for many people today is to demand and use health care services without regard to cost because they feel it is their "due"...All of us need to understand the economic stake we have in the overall consumption of health services. If we all shared more of the economic responsibility, we'd probably also demand better value for our investment.

Although Minnesota's health system is generally admired, it can and should be strengthened for the future. There are still too many uninsured Minnesotans, including approximately 70,000 children. The uninsured either go without care and compromise their health, or they get care in the most uneconomical ways -- ultimately paid for by insured citizens and taxpayers. Not only is this system uneconomical, but it is increasingly fragile, with the safety net at risk of collapse as health care institutions are financially squeezed.

The conflicting expectations of various stakeholders are pulling health care in opposite directions and creating an overly complicated system. We need a broad-based community dialogue in order to develop a common view of what we want out of our health system, and more consensus about how to get it. The health system must invest more heavily in and reward prevention, not just treatment. We must help refocus the system on producing better health status for all Minnesotans, not just on producing more and costlier services that fewer and fewer people can afford. Given the stresses on the health system today, and the coming demographic challenges of a more diverse, rapidly aging population, we need a vision of a new health system built not for the last 50 years, but for the next 50 years.
Lead Department: Health (Health Policy Committee) Support: Human Services; Finance; Commerce; Minnesota Planning (2030 Study)

It may take a village to raise a child, but not even an entire village can make up the difference if parents do not joyfully accept their first and largest responsibility. The Ventura-Schunk Administration advocates policies and programs that clearly define state government's limited role in raising our children: by returning the emphasis in the school day to classroom education; fulfilling our constitutional role of funding the best public education system we can provide; encouraging parents to be more involved in their schools and communities; continuing to cut tax burdens to give parents more time, energy and personal resources for their children; and helping parents better access the information and services that are available in their communities and state.
Lead Departments: Governor & Lieutenant Governor Support: Children, Families & Learning (CFL); Health; Public Safety; Human Services; Corrections; Judiciary

Limitations due to age, physical or mental condition will prevent some members of our communities from achieving complete self-sufficiency. Our goal, however, should be a life as independent and self-sufficient as possible. Senior citizens, for example, should have the opportunity to live in their homes as long as possible and, when that is no longer feasible, to receive the care they need -- both from their families and from professional care-givers -- in a setting that is as supportive as possible. We need to ensure that our policies and programs reflect this perspective and serve our seniors well, but without excessive burden on our society. This will be a growing challenge as population over age 65 doubles in the next 30 years while the number of people of working age shrinks. People with disabilities, in turn, suffer a high level of unemployment -- a serious problem to them and a loss of their skills to an economy that is struggling to find sufficient workers. We need improved strategies to bring disabled people into the workplace in larger numbers, ensuring the possibility for them to become as self-sufficient as possible.
Lead Department: Human Services (2030 Study) Support: Health; Minnesota Planning; Metropolitan Council; Veterans Affairs; Human Rights; Housing Finance Agency (HFA); Revenue

Minnesota's accessible, vast network of opportunities for continuing informal and formal higher education is the envy of the nation. The state that led the way for community education and early childhood education attached to the K-12 education system also built technical colleges, state colleges, a stellar land-grant university system, and supported some of the nation's finest private colleges. In the year 2000, a vast majority of Minnesotans will have unlimited access to learning options via the Internet. Employers struggling to find and retain qualified workers in a time of full employment value and invest in job training more than ever before. Changing demographics are provoking new demands for learning among people for whom English is not a first language, for senior citizens, and for mid-career professionals seeking new challenges in work and life. The next questions relate to maintaining the infrastructure, making tough decisions to place programs where they are actually needed to serve populations, and surfing the wave of change that technologies like CD-ROM, interactive videodisk, and the Internet provide.
Lead: Governor's Office Support: University of Minnesota; Minnesota State Colleges & Universities (MnSCU) Workforce Development Council; Labor & Industry; Children, Families & Learning (CFL); Administration

Good health is both a prerequisite to self-sufficiency and a result of personal responsibility for healthy lifestyle choices. Governor Ventura saw the tobacco lawsuit settlement as a rare chance to make a long-term investment in better health for all Minnesotans today and far into the future. The medical education and research trust funds will be used to keep Minnesota at the forefront in training new health professionals, and in research into prevention and treatment of disease -- including diseases caused by tobacco use. The tobacco prevention and public health endowments will be used to make significant reductions in tobacco use and other risk behaviors by youth. Strategies aimed at changing youth mindsets and community norms will be developed by youth. As a result, Minnesota's young people will be better equipped to make smart choices that will increase both their health status and their prospects for self-sufficiency and future success. Fundamentally, the Youth Tobacco Prevention Initiative is about equipping a whole generation of kids to take responsibility for their own health and to make better choices, now and into the future. Healthy kids learn better, and well-educated healthy adults have far better prospects for employment and economic success. And healthy individuals are at the heart of healthy communities.
Lead Department: Health Support: Employee Relations (DOER); Human Services


In His Own Words
Hear Governor Ventura explain this component of his Big Plan.
The Vision:

A government too complex, too mysterious, is also too inaccessible. It unnecessarily excludes the people who form it. Using the best practices and principles of the "already-tried," incorporating vigorous citizen input, and mixing in a whole lot of common sense, the Ventura administration envisions a simpler state government and an involved citizenry. It won't necessarily mean lopping off an arm or leg, but will surely include being put on a diet to be lean.

We'll bring reform to state departments and agencies, reigning in excessive rulemaking, clarifying overlapping roles, bringing greater cooperation between departments to benefit all Minnesotans. One big reform will be our push for a unicameral legislature. We'll introduce a variety of government systems and services reforms, including a simplified tax system and more one-stop government shopping via technology improvements. And we'll support any effort, including the Chief Justice's in regard to the judiciary, to demystify government to make it a friend, not a foe.

In addition, existing laws pertaining to campaigns and elections need to be reviewed and amended to allow for full participation by credible third parties.


In a new era when the Governor has obtained authority for vetoes over executive branch rule making, it is crucial to establish a new philosophy and process for writing, review, and final decisions. There is a need for periodic review of existing rules to identify those that are obsolete, and evaluate the continuing need for additional rules. A continuing goal is to involve stakeholders and citizens at the beginning of rulemaking to gain the broadest possible perspective on need, reasonableness, clarity and enforceability. Above all, it is the administration's desire to limit the size of state government, increase accountability, and serve citizens responsibly and responsively.
Lead: Governor's Office Support: All Departments

Many state leaders agree that a single house system of government would better serve Minnesotans. A single house would be more open, accountable and responsive. In a more streamlined legislative process, citizens would be able to understand and follow legislation. It would place the responsibility for representation squarely on the shoulders of a single elected legislature rather than on two houses that can hide behind one another to avoid taking responsibility for tough votes. A single house would bring power to the people instead of concentrating power in the hands of a few powerful conference committee members. Every amendment and every bill would be given the respect of a recorded vote. While some powerful leaders may oppose a single house, ultimately we should trust the people to decide this issue.
Lead Department: Minnesota Planning Support: Governor's Office

Over 150 years, Minnesota's state and local tax system has grown into a jungle of levies, credits, refunds, exemptions, and aid transfers that are sometimes outmoded, frequently contradictory, and that virtually no taxpayer (or even expert) understands well. We need to listen to citizens as well as tax experts to learn what's working and what isn't, and how to build a tax system that is simpler and easier to deal with from the taxpayer's point of view. A better tax system will be more understandable and predictable for taxpayers, so they know how much tax they're paying and why, what government is doing with those dollars, and how to have meaningful influence on the budget and tax processes. A better tax system will be more fair, balancing citizens' ability to pay and the cost and benefits of the government services they consume, and building confidence that the tax laws are being applied evenhandedly to all. A fair tax system will eliminate unfunded mandates by assigning tax responsibility to the same level of government that defines what levels of service will be provided. A better tax system will be modern, reflecting the economy, technology, and society of the 21st century so we can raise sufficient revenue to meet future needs, be competitive with other states and countries and incorporate new technology and ways of doing business. And finally, a better tax system will just make sense for Minnesota, with tax laws that align with our broader goals and don't undermine citizens and communities from doing the right things.
Lead Department: Revenue Support: Finance; All Departments

The success of our representative democracy depends on an active, engaged citizenry. Unfortunately, voter turnout has dropped dramatically nationwide as people have grown distrustful of politicians and our political institutions. While our elected officials are certainly responsible for creating an open and fair system, it is up to citizens to stay involved in their government. Voting is the most basic measure of citizen involvement. Increasing voter turnout will help to improve citizen participation and rebuild trust between elected officials and citizens. Goal: At least 70% voter turnout in every election!
Lead: Governor's Office Support: Secretary of State; Minnesota Planning

The state must reaffirm its commitment to quality service for its citizens, with success measured by actual outcomes rather than process, and to a cost-conscious state government. Duplication of state services will be minimized wherever feasible or practical, and adequate communication between governmental units will be assured. Bureaucracy must be minimized. The use of technology will be employed to permit agencies to deliver more efficient and cost-effective services, and to eliminate redundant systems. Agencies with similar missions, or similar customer bases, will be located in common or clustered facilities to facilitate communication and cooperation. Information and technology needs will be integrated into a comprehensive plan for service provision throughout the State. Our focus is on improving the quality and ability to share information, and the effective use of technology in this endeavor. Increasing the efficiency of government, continuously increasing the quality of services, and obtaining the best value for every taxpayer dollar spent is a hallmark of the Ventura-Schunk Administration.
Lead Departments: Administration; Employee Relations (DOER); Finance; Minnesota Planning Support: Other Department

Today's political campaigns are too often about power and money. Campaign spending is spiraling out of control as candidates squander outrageous amounts of money to sell their packaged, politically-correct "ideas" to voters. Sadly, it's getting to the point where citizens who are interested in seeking public office are often not able to compete with seasoned politicians and their pocketbooks. It's no wonder that people are getting turned off to "politics as usual." Our political process should be driven by the public good, not power-hungry politicians and big-moneyed special interests. If we hope to re-engage citizens in our political process, we must limit the influence of special interests in campaigns, level the playing field between challengers and incumbents, and focus on issues that matter to Minnesotans.
Lead: Governor's Office

Electronic commerce over the Internet is a centerpiece of the global information revolution. Because citizens are going online at an ever-increasing rate, electronic commerce is at once global, national and local in both scope and impact. Sound policy is essential for both the Internet and online commerce to reach their full potential. This requires a partnership among all the individuals and groups that have an interest in the creation of technology policy within the state, and does not lend itself to the traditional "top-down" model that provides solutions dictated by government to industry. The legal framework that supports commercial transactions on the Internet should be governed by consistent principles across state, national and international boundaries that lead to predictable results regardless of the jurisdiction in which a particular buyer or seller resides. With respect to electronic government services, a unified, common registry for all citizens, which includes licensing across state government agencies in a one-stop forum, must be implemented. Such a registry should be accessible for cross-reference among agency and other governmental files. Government purchasing, inventory, and sales, from goods to real estate, must be transacted and advertised on a central file server. Electronic tax filing, and payroll communications, also will be conducted online. Such initiatives will increase government efficiency, provide for a comprehensive and coordinated information management system, and create avenues for citizen communication and participation with their government. Such initiatives also will be utilized to increase service levels, and speed up transactions across state government, while permitting both government and business to maintain a level playing field in commercial transactions.
Lead Department: Administration Support: Other Departments

We are in a period of enormous and escalating economic and social change. As competition grows fiercer, and as the consequences of our decisions grow ever more wide-ranging, Minnesota must continue to expand its presence in the world marketplace and enhance its competitive position. Globalization in communication, trade, culture, and in the very texture of our daily lives has become an accelerating force. Readiness for globalization is crucial to healthy communities, self-sufficiency, and governmental reform. We must be ready. We must respond. We must lead. The Governor's vision is a state that can compete with the best in the world marketplace. We need a well-educated and flexible workforce that is sought out as the most efficient, effective, and productive - able to handle the highest level tasks. We need a strong and diverse base of efficient and entrepreneurial businesses, up-to-the-minute in technological expertise, and able to respond rapidly to the changing demands of the world marketplace. We need a modern information infrastructure that links the far corners of the state. We need a government that is lean, efficient, responsive, and supportive of our globalization readiness efforts. And we need an aggressive program of business development that ensures we maintain our pre-eminent position into the future.


Products, services, and ideas don't sell themselves, and the global marketplace is increasingly a noisy, busy, hurry-up kind of place. If we want to stand out in the fray, we must make vigorous efforts to showcase what Minnesota has to offer. With more than $15 billion in foreign sales of our manufactured goods, services, and agricultural products, Minnesota is already an international player. At this time, however, the eyes of the world are upon Minnesota in a way they have never seen before. A singular opportunity exists to convert the world's interest in the State of Minnesota and this Governor into increased trading and business opportunities for Minnesota companies. Our mission is to create a "World Plan" that provides a country-by-country strategic analysis to ensure that state resources are effectively focused on those countries that have the greatest potential for improving Minnesota trade.
Lead Department: Department of Trade & Economic Development (DTED); Minnesota Trade Office Support: Agriculture; Iron Range Resources & Rehabilitation Board (IRRRB)

We are in a global economy whether we like it or not. As such, we can either bemoan those factors (i.e., prices) over which we have no control - or we can work together to make our farm families the most competitive we can by lowering the cost of production or adding value to the raw products before they leave the state. With this in mind we need to give attention to taxation policy, overly burdensome environmental regulations and land-use laws, access to capital, financing and organizational structuring options, and adequate transportation infrastructure. We also must support research and technology transfer, as well as encourage continuing educational opportunities. We need to work to "level the playing field" in both international trade and national farm policies so that our farmers and agri-businesses can compete in a fair, competitive arena. In addition, we need to improve and increase marketing opportunities, both domestic and foreign, not only for our major commodities, but also for unique and specialty crops and products. Farm families that utilize risk management techniques will have increased their potential to succeed - we must help them develop these skills.

Minnesota is in the worldwide spotlight. We need to take advantage of this opportunity. Our farms and agri-businesses are some of the most productive anywhere. Our goal is to help them create new opportunities and showcase them throughout the world.
Lead Department: Agriculture Support: Farm Cabinet; University of Minnesota; Agricultural Utilization Research Institute (AURI)

Eight years of economic growth has done us a world of good. Minnesota's overall unemployment rate is lower than ever. But now we face a workforce shortage, which makes us less competitive in a global marketplace. It's vital to our ongoing economic health that we have a well-trained, flexible, and healthy workforce that allows us to be quickly responsive to the opportunities that globalization presents. That means training and retraining constantly during a person's working life. It means looking after displaced workers to get them back into the game with salable skills. It means providing adequate medical care and benefits to injured workers, so that they can return to suitable work as soon as possible. It means finding new workers. When someone says, "We need good people who can do X, Y, and Z. Do you have them for us?" We want to be able to say, "You bet we do!"
Lead Departments: Economic Security; Department of Trade & Economic Development (DTED) Support: Minnesota State Colleges & Universities (MnSCU); Minnesota Planning; University of Minnesota; Labor & Industry; Human Services; Administration; Children, Families & Learning (CFL)

For Minnesota to be competitive in today's global environment, our business development initiatives will be focused on high growth industries and high quality jobs. Minnesota's business will continue to prosper with a supportive business environment. The best business we have is the business we have today. So we need to do everything we can to make sure healthy businesses stay in Minnesota - and expand in Minnesota. And we need to encourage and facilitate linkages between community leadership, resources and businesses to ensure expansion occurs statewide.

In today's increasingly mobile and evolving business world, we must help to generate new entrepreneurs and enterprises. To give new businesses every chance to grow into major employers, we will develop programs that speak directly to their needs for capital, for technology, and for entrepreneurial skills and expertise.
Lead Department: Department of Trade & Economic Development (DTED) Support: Iron Range Resources & Rehabilitation Board (IRRRB); Local Agencies; Minnesota Business Partnership; Minnesota Chamber of Commerce

Technology advancement and applications can lead to increased productivity and competitiveness of today's businesses and to the start-up of businesses that become tomorrow's economic giants - and giant employers.

As part of our global readiness strategy, we need to help maximize access to technology and the commercialization of new technologies. We also need to encourage the successful transfer of research and technology from our state's major research university and other research institutions in the private sector.
Lead Departments: Department of Trade & Economic Development (DTED); Administration Support: Health; University of Minnesota; Minnesota Technology, Inc. (MTI); AURI

Tourism is about having fun! However, for our Great State, it's also about the bottom line. At a return of $9 to every $1 invested, Minnesota's tourism industry deserves our support and leveraging. A lot of folks are paying attention to Minnesota, so why not capitalize on their curiosity, welcome them with open arms, and show them just why Minnesota is worth visiting and investing in.

Minnesota is truly unique in the Upper Midwest. With our wealth of recreational and cultural attractions, there's much to promote. From this month forward, Governor Ventura will deliver a "monthly Minnesota tourism message" ... that's 39 gubernatorial pronouncements of why the world should come to Minnesota!
Lead Department: Department of Trade & Economic Development/Minnesota Office of Tourism Support: Local and State Convention & Visitor Organizations; Natural Resources (DNR); Iron Range Resources & Rehabilitation Board (IRRRB)