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Pawlenty jokes in State of the State

ST. PAUL - Gov. Tim Pawlenty threatened, in a sense, Minnesota lawmakers in his State of the State speech.

"One hundred years ago, John Johnson, another 48-year-old Minnesota governor, returned from the national campaign trail, stood on this very spot and called the state to unity, efficiency and investment," Pawlenty said, his recent history of campaigning to become John McCain's running mate left unsaid. "He dropped dead a few months later.

"To my friends in the Legislature, you may not be so lucky. My health is good."

He said lawmakers will have to work with him.

Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party legislative leaders are sending much the same message: He will have to work with them.

Their first House and Senate bills this legislative session were written to ensure they have a say in how expected federal economic recovery money is spent.

House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher, DFL-Minneapolis, and other leaders are headed to Washington for Barack Obama's inauguration, but also to meet with Minnesota's congressional delegation to gather information so lawmakers know as much about federal payments as the Pawlenty administration.

Don Davis
Don Davis has been the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau chief since 2001, covering state government and politics for two dozen newspapers in the state. Don also blogs at Capital Chatter on Areavoices.