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—Almost every morning when I come to work, part of the trip is on a 10-lane-wide stretch of freeway. It is a long ways from my 4,000-population hometown in southern Iowa's rolling hills in many ways.
ST. PAUL — A conservative Minnesota think tank says copper and nickel mining near the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness is safe and good for the economy, while a Harvard professor says that economic boost would sour in a few years. A pair of reports that came out in recent days arrived as political campaigns are heating up in advance of the Nov. 6 general election, providing fuel for candidates to debate an issue that already is controversial.
ST. PAUL — The 219,000 Minnesotans paid minimum wage will get a raise Jan. 1. State officials announced Thursday, Aug. 23, that employees of large businesses will be paid at least $9.86 an hour, up from $9.65 that is required today. Those who work for smaller businesses will be paid a minimum of $8.04, compared to the current $7.87.
ST. PAUL -- Jeff Johnson and Tim Walz will be Minnesotans' choices for governor this fall. "I think we sent a message, people want something different," Republican Jeff Johnson said shortly after 10 p.m., Tuesday, Aug. 14, as vote counting wound down in the state primary election. Johnson said he was not for the status quo, and campaigned as the most conservative governor candidate.
ST. PAUL — The 2018 primary election is as different as it gets, with more contests than usual, late surprises and a ton of votes already cast. Republicans are attacking each other in the governor race. U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, the No. 2 official in the national Democratic Party, opted against re-election, instead running for attorney general in a crowded field. Ellison's withdrawal from the U.S. House race led to a six-person race to replace him. Last-minute allegations surfaced against Ellison and Attorney General Lori Swanson, a Democratic governor candidate.
REDWOOD FALLS, Minn.—Minnesotans are interested in the primary election. Almost triple the number of early ballots have been cast compared to two years ago. At Farmfest, southwest Minnesota's agriculture show, 1,000 seats were full, with about 600 more standing as the five major governor candidates were in the only forum to host all of them.
ST. PAUL—Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson denies allegations that an aide hired workers in her state office to do campaign work. In a Minnesota Public Radio forum Friday, Aug.10, she said the online news organization that reported the issue is "widely discredited." She said she has sued investors in the The Intercept website, adding: "When you do things like that you get a target on your back"
REDWOOD FALLS, Minn. — Political candidates brought their best "Minnesota nice" to Farmfest. But voters should not get used to that. "First time out of the chute, got to be a gentleman," state Republican Rep. Jim Newberger said after his first time on stage with opponent Democratic U.S. Sen Amy Klobuchar, seeking her third six-year term.
REDWOOD FALLS, Minn. — Minnesota's two major candidates for a six-year U.S. Senate term make it clear that there should be an urgency to complete a federal farm bill and other work that affects farmers. But U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar and state Rep. Jim Newberger showed hundreds in a Farmfest audience Thursday, Aug. 9, that they have plenty of differences about how to get there.
REDWOOD FALLS, Minn.—Immigration may be one of the biggest partisan divides in Washington, but there appears to be general support among candidates for rural U.S. House seats in Minnesota for a program providing workers to farmers. Democrats and Republicans agreed on the need for the visa program during a Farmfest candidate forum Tuesday, Aug. 7. But they disagreed on many other issues.