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 – Two U.S. House races in Minnesota are getting far more national attention than usual. ABC News lists House district campaigns across the northern and western parts of the state as two of the five most interesting races in the country.
ST. PAUL – Some political organizations are setting up websites that look like they are run by news organizations, but instead of objective news they deliver heavy doses of partisan propaganda. The National Republican Congressional Committee is one such group, and it is targeting U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson, who has represented western Minnesota for two dozen years, and U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan, who serves northeastern and east-central Minnesota.
REDWOOD FALLS – The prevalent feeling after U.S. House and U.S. Senate forums at Farmfest appeared to be that the candidates did too little to differentiate themselves from each other. When asked who won, few could offer answers. U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson, a Democrat who has represented western Minnesota for two-dozen years, explained an incumbents' attitude: It is up to challengers to offer up the differences. Republican challengers for the U.S. Senate and western and southern Minnesota U.S.
ST. PAUL – The Obama administration says it is trying to connect people with money to those in rural America who need funds. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, a former Iowa governor, announced that the administration is setting up a $10 billion fund to jump-start investments in rural areas. "This fund represents a new approach to our support for job-creating projects across the country," Vilsack said in announcing the fund at a White House Rural Council meeting.
ST. PAUL – Everyone knew that U.S. Sen. Al Franken and Mike McFadden will run rich campaigns if they face off in November, as expected, but a couple of mostly...
ST. PAUL – An organization representing greater Minnesota cities continues to lead spending of local government lobbying groups. State Auditor Rebecca Otto's office reports that the latest information, for 2013, shows the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities spent $835,674 on lobbying activities during the legislative session that resulted in a two-year, $39 billion budget funded by state taxpayers. The coalition is coordinated by a Twin Cities law firm that provides lobbyists for the group.
ST. PAUL – Minnesota Republicans seldom duke it out in primary elections, but the Aug. 12 vote features a pair of GOP contests worth watching. In the Republican U.S. Senate race, unlikely party endorsee Mike McFadden will face Jim Abeler, who received little support at the party convention but who may benefit from what is expected to be an increasingly harsh campaign Democrats will wage again McFadden.
ST. PAUL -- Small businesses that dot greater Minnesota would not be forced to pay employees as much as larger firms pay under a minimum wage increase proposal legislative leaders announced Monday. "I think we have a pretty strong provision for small businesses," Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk, D-Cook, said.
ST. PAUL -- Local Minnesota governments could offer classes instead of fines to drivers ticketed for minor traffic violations, a House transportation committee decided Tuesday. On a unanimous vote, the committee approved a bill by Rep. Jay McNamar, D-Elbow Lake, to let cities and counties establish driving safety classes that violators could take instead of a traffic ticket being placed on their records. “It's just a great way to keep the streets safe,” McNamar said.
ST. PAUL -- University of Minnesota officials want legislators to be more generous in funding their construction and repair requests than Gov. Mark Dayton. The university wants $233 million in state money to do projects ranging from making buildings more energy efficient, to repairing leaky roofs to building new facilities. Dayton wants to pay $119 million. Less than a week into their 2014 session, legislators Monday heard from top U of M officials asking for more money than on Dayton's list.