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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The National Conference of State Legislatures handed Minnesota Labor and Industry Commissioner Steve Sviggum its "Excellence in State Legislative Leadership Award." "Sviggum, 56, is a genuine rural guy, a farmer and former high school math teacher and basketball referee who is known to prefer sweaters to suits," the conference's magazine reports. "He also was known as a skilled legislative tactician and a tireless campaigner." Sviggum, a Republican Kenyon resident, spent 29 years in the Minnesota House before leaving last year to join Gov. Tim Pawlenty's Cabinet.
ST. PAUL -- If you are a health care professional looking to make a profit, don't chase an ambulance. If you are a musician, don't claim to be someone you are not. If you are in the habit of sending text messages while driving, don't. If you own a home, you must have carbon monoxide detectors near bedrooms. If you are a music lover, you may be able to buy tickets online without fighting a ticket reseller's computer. And if you are a teen, you need to know about new restrictions on your driving. Aug.
MINNEAPOLIS - Victims of the Minneapolis bridge collapse a year ago today need a redundant support system, something the bridge itself lacked, the state's United Methodist bishop said during a late-morning memorial service. Bishop Sally Dyck joined others in telling a nearly full St. Mary's Catholic Basilica in downtown Minneapolis that victims and their families will continue to need support from the community. In saying that, Dyck compared the needed emotional support to what is being considered as the cause of the collapse.
ST. PAUL -- The Minnesota Army National Guard is attracting more recruits than any other branch of the military in the state, and is exceeding its recruiting goals. Of all military personnel in Minnesota, 43 percent enter the Army National Guard, recruiter 2nd Lt. Mindy Davis said. "That means that in Minnesota the Army National Guard is far and away the No. 1 choice," Davis said. Across the country, an average of about 20 percent of military enlistees sign up for the Army Guard. The Indiana and Mississippi Army Guard units attract about the same percentage as Minnesota.
ST. PAUL -- Former U.S. Sen. Rod Grams is focused these days on his central Minnesota radio venture, but the Republican also is fed up with his own political party. "I'm so damn unhappy with the Republicans right now," Grams said in an interview. "I'm so unhappy with the candidates that we have I could puke. I wanted to get out there and mix it up." Grams said he considered challenging Sen. Norm Coleman for the GOP nomination but was too busy in his private life to make a run this year.
ST. PAUL -- Federal actions to backstop the two U.S. mortgage giants are good as far as they go, but Minnesota observers say homeowners deserve more attention. "That is just an attempt to protect the market," said professor Prentiss Cox of the University of Minnesota "There is a distinction between helping homeowners and protecting the market." The Federal Reserve Bank on Monday announced that it was prepared to loan Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac money to allow the two firms to remain solvent.
ST. PAUL -- God apparently did not call Jesse Ventura, but 18 others got the message to run for U.S. Senate. Whether it is divine intervention or just plain Minnesota civic mindedness, large numbers of candidates will crowd the Sept. 9 primary election ballot. The Senate race drew seven candidates each in the Democratic and Independence parties. Also notable is the fact that both major parties have filled the 134 state House slots.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota's agriculture commissioner says the country's grocery stores are misleading Americans when they claim that corn-based ethanol is driving up food prices. "Some of this message is the result of calculated efforts from groups such as the Grocery Manufacturers Association," Commissioner Gene Hugoson said.
ST. PAUL -- One of the country's most expensive U.S. Senate races may not be quite as entertaining as it could have been, with former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura declining to run. Ventura, who turns 57 today, told CNN's Larry King on CNN Monday night that he will stay out of the U.S. Senate race in Minnesota against expected major-party standard-bearers incumbent Norm Coleman and challenger Al Franken.
HUDSON, Wis. -- John McCain and Barack Obama are fighting for women. McCain took his Republican presidential campaign Friday to a steel company to highlight what he called the one "bright spot" in the nation's troubled economy. Obama supporters took advantage of the event to deliver the Democratic candidate's message to women. The Republican Arizona senator ended a week-long economic tour at J and L Steel Erectors, a small business owned by a Wisconsin woman. Women-run small businesses are growing at twice the rate of all privately held firms, McCain said.