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Political Notebook

ST. PAUL -- Farm state federal legislators of both parties are upset an emergency funding bill passed last week did not include money for farm disasters.

"Farmers and ranchers have waited long enough for relief, and I will not let my colleagues in Congress forget that we must find a way to provide nationwide agriculture disaster assistance," U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson, D-Minn., said.

A proposed part of the emergency bill would have paid $175 million to Minnesota and a like amount to North Dakota farmers who suffered weather-related losses.

Sen. Norm Coleman and Rep. Mark Kennedy, both Republicans, sent a letter to congressional leaders expressing what they called outrage that farm disaster assistance was not in the bill, which increases military spending $66 billion and adds $20 billion for Hurricane Katrina relief. President Bush threatened to veto $4 billion for farmers, so Republican leaders dropped the ag money.

Kennedy, who is running for Senate, and Coleman wrote that widespread flooding last year and "dramatic increases in energy costs threaten the survival of our farmers and the communities which depend on them." They called for a separate vote in farm disaster relief.

Jeffers rejected

Sue Jeffers rapidly is becoming a candidate without a party.

The Minneapolis bar owner was endorsed by Minnesota Libertarians, but now that party's executive committee has rejected the endorsement.

The action came after Jeffers tried to win the Republican endorsement, although the GOP refused to let her name to be considered by state convention delegates. Then Jeffers said she would run in the GOP primary.

"As exceptional as a candidate as Sue is, the Libertarian Party of Minnesota will not endorse a candidate in the Republican primaries, or a Republican for the general election," Libertarian Chairman Lee Brennise said,

Green candidates

The Minnesota Green Party will put Ken Pentel on the ballot as its governor candidate for the third straight time.

Pentel received good reviews, but only 2.3 percent of the vote in 2002.

Don Davis
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.