Governor Mark Dayton’s office says he’ll unveil his two-year state budget proposal this morning, despite fainting last night near the end of his 45-minute State of the State address at the Minnesota Capitol. Lieutenant Governor Tina Smith, Secretary of State Steve Simon and others nearby broke the governor’s fall after he pitched forward and struck his forehead on the podium. Several minutes later, Dayton walked with assistance out of the House chamber. He was *not* hospitalized and his son Eric later tweeted that this father was “doing great” and “doing a very advanced puzzle” with his grandson, Hugo.
In a written statement issued Monday night, Dayton’s chief of staff said the governor “briefly fainted… quickly recovered, walked out of the Capitol, and returned home.” The statement indicated E-M-Ts met Dayton at the official residence and performed a routine check.
Right after the incident, a clearly concerned Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka said, “Anytime something like that happens, it’s just serious and everything stops, and we’re all one Minnesota and we’re all here and we’re all praying for him.” House Democratic Minority Leader Melissa Hortman added, “We all have tough days. We all have days where we don’t feel so great. You hate for it to happen to a guy when he’s got an important speech to give, but… I’m very confident he’ll be fine.” Republican Representative Greg Davids from Preston said, “It certainly shakes you up a little bit. I certainly don’t always agree with Governor Dayton but I certainly do respect him and he’s a very good person… and I know we’ll put our political differences aside for a while. We gotta get him back to health. We gotta get him back real strong, because we’ve got some good debates coming forward.”
The governor fainted nearly at the end his speech, after saying “no” to “Give it All Back” tax cuts, calling for a funding increase for K-12 education and for pre-kindergarten, again challenging Republicans to bring forward what he called a “real solution” for transportation funding, and saying he’ll continue pushing for cleaner lakes and rivers. But Dayton didn’t get to what was to be the capstone of his State of the State address: a proposal to allow all Minnesotans above a certain income to purchase MinnesotaCare insurance coverage on the MNsure exchange. That plan will be hotly debated, beginning when Dayton rolls out his state budget proposal later this morning.
About a year ago, Dayton was hospitalized overnight for observation after he fainted at a political event. A senior advisor said it was likely due to dehydration.