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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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 -- 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 -- 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 -- 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.
HUDSON - Sen. John McCain drove home one point time and again during his campaign swing through Minnesota and Wisconsin - "straight talk" is more than a campaign slogan to him. For instance, he drew a strong contrast between him and fellow Republican President Bush over environmental issues. The Republican presidential candidate used the "straight talk" term several times during his hour and a half visit to J and L Steel Erectors in Hudson, where he met an almost-all-women audience that asked questions similar to a St. Paul town hall meeting three weeks earlier. McCain, who visited his St.
ST. PAUL -- Expect the gasoline tax debate earlier this year to be relived before the Nov.