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  Dayton frustrated as he leaves Senate
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ContributorEric 
Last EditedEric  Jan 02, 2007 03:51pm
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News DateTuesday, January 2, 2007 09:50:00 PM UTC0:0
DescriptionSt. Paul, Minn. — In his last speech in the Senate, Mark Dayton offered a pessimistic assessment of national affairs.

"It has pained me deeply to see the Senate's majority lead our country in what I consider the wrong direction," Dayton said.

From tax policy to education spending to the war in Iraq, Dayton chastised President Bush and the GOP-controlled Congress for failing average Americans.

"Thus, I leave the Senate with strong feelings of frustration and disappointment," Dayton said. "I've been unable to pass most of what I believed was most important to Minnesota, to our country and to the world."

When Dayton got into the race for Senate, the U.S. was not battling a war on terrorism or facing record deficits. In 2000, Congress was looking at how to spend a more than $200 billion budget surplus.

Dayton ran for office promoting a long list of issues, but focused on expanding access to health care and reducing the cost of medicine for seniors.
Dayton defeated Republican incumbent Rod Grams. Nine months after he took office, the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks took place. Washington's focus shifted to the war on terrorism and propping up the economy.

Dayton was one of just 23 senators to vote against the Iraq War resolution. He consistently opposed tax cuts for wealthy Americans like himself.

And despite campaigning so much on the issue of Medicare drug prices, halfway through his first term Dayton voted against the Medicare prescription drug program. Among other objections, Dayton was unhappy the legislation delayed drug coverage for two years. He also said drugs would still be too expensive for seniors.

Three years into his term, Dayton sat for an interview in the Senate dining room. He gave no indication that he would not seek a second term. Instead, he talked about a plan to raise his profile among voters -- along with millions of dollars he would need for re-election.
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