ST. PAUL (AP) -- Gov. Jesse Ventura took to the airwaves Tuesday night in a live address designed to comfort Minnesotans and ensure them the state is prepared to deal with potential terrorist attacks.
In a 15-minute speech on public television, Ventura methodically noted the various preparations, task forces and meetings he and state officials have undertaken since Sept. 11.
"As you can see, we have been busy and be assured we will continue to be busy because your safety is an important responsibility that the state of Minnesota takes very seriously," Ventura said.
Ventura said the state can expect a downturn in its economy, and vowed to work with leaders of the Legislature to address an expected budget shortfall. But he said the state is likely to fare better than other states, in part because of money left unspent in the last budget bill.
"Trust me, we are going to have to make some adjustments, and it won't be easy," he said.
He also encouraged Minnesotans to stay alert for acts of terrorism, but told them not to worry themselves into inaction.
"Exercise those hard-earned rights that our country has long stood for and our veterans have long fought for," he advised.
The address was followed by questions from viewers for state officials, though Ventura did not field any.
In his speech, the governor sounded the same themes his commissioners have repeated in a series of public forums and legislative hearings since the terrorist attacks.
But it was the first time Ventura had formally addressed Minnesotans on the issue.
The hearing followed a morning meeting at Ventura's residence in which he met with members of the state's congressional delegation and aides on terrorism issues.
Public Safety Commissioner Charlie Weaver said the officials vowed during the meeting to avoid turf warfare as they seek dollars to pay for better training and equipment for emergency workers.
Also discussed at the meeting was whether to have the lawmakers push for a system that would have haulers of hazardous materials file a plan before departing that describes what they're hauling, how dangerous it may be, and where they intend to travel.
Weaver said the state does not know what hazardous materials have been on its roads until days later.
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