As the 2019 Legislative Session kicks off, Minnesota Republicans and Democrats are working together in their first few weeks in office. The new governor, Tim Walz, says bipartisanship is especially important “against the backdrop of dysfunction” in Washington, D.C.

Before becoming governor, Walz served in Congress for 12 years. In a one-on-one interview behind the scenes at the Capitol, Walz told reporter Mary Lahammer, “I believed it was going to get worse in D.C. [But] I could have never believed it was going to get this much worse.”

The record-long federal government shutdown is having an impact on Minnesota, and the governor invited lawmakers from both sides of the aisle to a press conference to discuss the shutdown. Quoting Gov. Walz’s inaugural address, a sign at the event read, “If Washington won’t lead, Minnesota will.” Republican Minority Leader Kurt Daudt says it was important to show Minnesotans they can stand together, “At some point, the legislature may have to step in and we want to be part of the solution if we can be.” That got a round of applause for the Republican leader, including from the Democratic governor.

For more on the recent changing-of-the-guard in Minnesota politics, along with in-depth stories on a range of state policy issues, check out our collection of public affairs stories.