DFL Gov. Mark Dayton made a point of recognizing Mayo Clinic President and CEO Dr. John Noseworthy during his State of the State address on Wednesday night and reiterating his support for the clinic's $6 billion Destination Medical Center initiative.
"The renowned Mayo Cinic wants us to help them continue to outclass their competitors in other state and other countries and to continue doing so from Rochester. I thank Mayo, whose CEO Dr. John Noseworthy is with us tonight as a guest of Speaker (Paul) Thissen, for giving Minnesota the change to partner with them and help assure their world medical pre-eminence for decades to come in Rochester, Minnesota," Dayton said.
That proved to be one of the few statements made by the governor during his speech that won strong bipartisan support. The governor's decision to talk about Destination Medical Center was somewhat of a surprise. His spokeswoman Katharine Tinucci said on Tuesday she did not expect him to bring it up.
Assistant Majority Leader Kim Norton, DFL-Rochester, said she appreciated the governor’s statement.
“That was really nice. I think he was showing his serious concern about Mayo Clinic’s health and their growth and their growth here in Minnesota,” she said.
Mayo Clinic is asking lawmakers for more than $500 million to pay for public infrastructure that would support its plans to expand in Rochester. As part of the deal, the clinic has pledged to spend $3.5 billion over the next 20 years and leverage an estimated $2 billion in private investment. Funding for the infrastructure would come from the increased state taxes generated by the clinic’s expansion. Norton plans to introduce the Destination Medical Center bill today in the House and Sen. Dave Senjem, R-Rochester, plans to carry it in the Senate.
Noseworthy said in an interview after the speech he was honored to be invited to the Capitol for the State of State address and to have the clinic's project mentioned by the governor.
“We are very pleased to have the governor express support for the proposal, and we look forward to working to make it a reality, to make Minnesota a destination site for health care,” he said.