What Minnesota and California Have in Common

I’ve probably done enough humble-bragging about my home state of Minnesota and Governor Mark Dayton. But I did appreciate the way this visual summed it up.

I was also reminded that the two states in the country that are getting a lot of attention right now for their robust economic recovery are Minnesota and California.

For years, business lobbyists complained about what they derided as “job killer” laws that drive employers out of California.

Rival state governors, notably former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, made highly publicized visits to the Golden State in hopes of poaching jobs.

But new numbers from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics tell a different story. Total jobs created in the 12 months ending Jan. 31 show California leading other states. California gained 498,000 new jobs, almost 30% more than the Lone Star State’s total of 392,900 for the same period.

Of course Minnesota and California have almost nothing in common. But there are a couple of things they share that stand out. Both Governors – Mark Dayton and Jerry Brown – took office in January 2011 following Republicans who had served more than one term. They beat the odds of the 2010 midterm elections that brought in Republican Governors like Scott Walker, Rick Scott, Rick Snyder and Sam Brownback.

But what I find even more interesting is that both of these Governors are old white guy political re-treads. Perhaps that’s just a meaningless coincidence. But in an era when there is a lot of focus on young up-and-coming energetic newcomers in politics, it does make me wonder if the old guys who have already been around the block once or twice might not bring something to the table too.

Just a thought…

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly.