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 -- Eric Hoplin's arms whipped about as he spoke in his uber-enthusiastic manner. "I just love my job," the animated political wonk said. "There is something new every day." Hoplin, who turns 28 on July 31, added that he "springs out of bed every morning," eager to get to his job as the Minnesota Republican Party's deputy state chairman. No one would argue that he loves the work or that he loves politics.
Last week's headlines didn't look good for corn-based ethanol: "Food-crop biofuels given thumbs down." "Ethanol is sort of a drop in the bucket, scientists warn." "Study says ethanol not best alternative to oil." "Ethanol no 'silver bullet' for world's fuel problems.'" In many cases, ethanol supporters did not care for stories that went with the headlines around the world any better than they liked the headlines. email@example.com reported: "Producing biofuels such as ethanol from food crops isn't worth the effort." Grist Magazine's Web site added: "A new study casts serious doubt
ST. PAUL - A man who for years wanted to be Minnesota attorney general today dropped out of the race. State Rep. Matt Entenza, DFL-St. Paul, said he pulled out because of accusations leveled in the past few days. "While I'm confident that I could win the race for attorney general, obviously in this environment staying in this race would hurt the Democratic Party and the progressive issues we care about so deeply," Entenza read from a prepared statement. Entenza's withdrawal shocked fellow Democrats.
ST PAUL -- A long-time Kevin Goodno colleague was not surprised Tuesday when the Moorhead native announced he no longer will head Minnesota's largest state agency, freeing him to can take a Minneapolis law firm job. "A person with his talents is going to have opportunities," Rep. Fran Bradley, R-Rochester, said. "You have to be prepared to move." Goodno, a Moorhead City Council member before representing his hometown a dozen years in the state House, leaves his post as state human services commissioner July 25 to be an officer with the Fredrikson and Byron law firm.
Johnson under attack The Minnesota Senate majority leader continues to face problems from his January comment that state Supreme Court justices assured him they would not overturn a law banning gays from marrying. Sen. Dean Johnson, DFL-Willmar, changed his story a couple of times during the March week when the comments to a group of ministers became public.
Perhaps a road near you someday will be named "Ajax Bank Highway." If the University of Minnesota can get $35 million selling naming rights for its stadium to TCF Bank, it is not out of the question to sell naming rights for highways in this time when policymakers are struggling to find ways to fund crumbling highways. Some states are considering the idea, and with Minnesota lawmakers at a stalemate about how to fund road building and repair, look for that and other innovative concepts to appear in the next legislative session. Not only will Minnesota likely look at new ways of funding r
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota's two major attorney general candidates agree public safety is important, but disagree on how much emphasis it should receive. Jeff Johnson wants to emphasize crime fighting if he is elected. Matt Entenza, meanwhile, prefers balancing public safety with consumer protection needs. Johnson, the Republican candidate, said during a Moorhead stop on Wednesday that easing the methamphetamine problem and getting tough on sex offenders are his top priorities.
Candidates often ignore people perceived as minor candidates because to mention them can give them credibility. Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty's campaign manager issued a news release after a recent bit of good economic news and mentioned four candidates, two or three of whom would have to be considered minor ones: "Minnesota's job growth has gone from lukewarm to red hot.
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.
ROCHESTER -- Democratic Party Chairman Brian Melendez wants to talk to Becky Lourey. So does Mike Hatch, the party's endorsed candidate for governor. But they are not going to like what she has to say. Melendez and Hatch want Lourey to drop out of the governor's race, allowing Hatch to concentrate on beating Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty on Nov.