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.
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FALCON HEIGHTS, Minn.—It would be hard to find two candidates further apart on issues than state Rep. Jim Newberger and U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who are fighting for six year in the U.S. Senate. In a Friday, Aug. 24, Minnesota State Fair debate, Republican Newberger called for a return to free-market health care, said he does not believe climate change is manmade and declared a wall is needed along the Mexican border.
ST. PAUL—Major Minnesota governor candidates agree they would handle making regulations different than Gov. Mark Dayton. Mainly, they say, they would talk to those affected early in the process. Dayton has got into hot water, especially with farmers, by making proposals before vetting them with those affected. Rural Republicans in the past couple of years often accused Dayton of waging a "war on agriculture."
ST. PAUL—Minnesota's three major Democratic governor candidates give voters a choice in the Aug.14 primary election: • U.S. Rep. Tim Walz has by far the biggest war chest among Democrats, raising $1.3 million this year, and says his time in Congress helped him become a leader in agriculture and veterans' issues. He has good name recognition in his southern Minnesota district, and he says he is the best choice for greater Minnesota because he lives there.
ST. PAUL—U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar left no doubt about what she thought of the federal Environmental Protection Agency administrator's resignation: "Finally." That was the Democrat's prompt Thursday, July 5, reaction on Twitter to President Donald Trump's tweet that he had accepted Scott Pruitt's resignation. U.S. Rep. Tim Walz, D-Minn., was almost as succinct: "Good riddance."
ST. PAUL—Daniel Del Toro remembers 1990 when federal authorities separated him from his parents, who had just crossed from Mexico into the United States. "We come here because we are seeking a better life," he said Tuesday, June 19, about his family and fellow Mexicans. "We are running from violence." Holding his 2-year-old son, Joaquin, he said that his situation at 11 years of age is similar to today. "I don't see it as a crime."
ST. PAUL—Minnesota Republican governor candidate Jeff Johnson has picked an American Indian who lives in Duluth as his running mate. Although observers had expected a greater Minnesota women to be Johnson's pick as lieutenant governor, his Monday, May 14, announcement was a surprise to many because Donna Bergstrom lives in Duluth and belongs to the Red Lake Nation, both Democratic strongholds. Johnson and Bergstrom said they agree on many topics. "The proper role of government is to serve and not to bully," Bergstrom said.
ST. PAUL—Gov. Mark Dayton needs to accept a smaller public works bill, the Minnesota Senate chairman in charge of the issue says. "I don't have a nickel more to spend on bonding," Sen. Dave Senjem, R-Rochester, said Wednesday, May 9, after releasing his public works funding bill. Democrat Dayton earlier this year unveiled a $1.5 billion bonding bill, a proposal that did not include local projects that he said merit funding, leaving him supporting $2.3 billion in public works projects.
ST. PAUL—Minnesota state leaders are preparing to negotiate one of the most complex tax law rewrites in decades. With the Senate passing, by 34-32, its version of the tax legislation on Thursday, May 3, all three pieces are in place for the governor and legislative leaders to ensure that recent massive changes in federal tax law do not force hundreds of thousands of Minnesotans to pay more.
ST. PAUL—Repairing, not building, is a public works priority for Minnesota House Republicans. Instead of constructing lots of new buildings, they propose fixing roofs, painting peeling walls and other such routine but needed work. The House public works plan, to be funded by the state selling bonds, would spend $825 million, Republicans announced late Wednesday afternoon, May 2. Of that, $364 million would go to preserve state facilities.
ST. PAUL—Kris Sundberg's story is tough to hear. Her father was in an assisted living center. Newspapers piled up outside his door and he did not go to the dining room for a week. Finally, a neighbor urged staff to check on him. Once they did, they found he was dead, apparently for seven days. It was so bad, Sundberg said, that a hazardous materials team had to clean the room before the family could remove belongings. Minnesota does not regulate assisted living facilities such as where her father lived.