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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REDWOOD FALLS, Minn.—Minnesota's five major governor candidates bent over backwards to show they are on farmers' side during the first forum with them all. Each told farmers at Farmfest near Redwood Falls about their connections to greater Minnesota, hoping to win votes in the Tuesday, Aug. 14, primary election and the Nov. 6 general election. For Republicans, former Gov. Tim Pawlenty said he was was the farmers' champion when he served before and Jeff Johnson said he grew up in greater Minnesota, so understands the issues.
ST. PAUL—Dealing with sex offenders has been one of Minnesota's most difficult problems for at least 15 years.
MANKATO, Minn.—Greater Minnesota leaders left a governor candidate forum not surprised that they saw big differences in how the two parties would deal with their issues. Two Democrats talked about adding money to state programs for cities in the Thursday night, July 26, Mankato forum. The lone Republican said he will not promise to spend more on any state program.
ST. PAUL—Elected officials seeking re-election, or hoping to win another office, often make announcements that make it unclear if they are handing out official information or campaigning. The line is blurry. Take, for instance, U.S. Rep. Tim Walz's Wednesday, July 18, news conference. He usually holds news conferences in his southern Minnesota U.S. House district. But his recent one came in the Capitol complex in St. Paul, which is more likely to attract statewide attention (but just three reporters showed up).
ST. PAUL—Minnesota's election chief says President Donald Trump made United States elections less secure with his comments doubting Russian interference in the 2016 campaign. "We know that Russia attempted to attack our election system across the United States in 2016, including unsuccessfully here in Minnesota," Secretary of State Steve Simon said Monday, July 16, hours after Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin stood side by side telling reporters what just happened in their meeting behind closed doors.
ST. PAUL—New Minnesota driver's licenses will be more difficult to forge, be easier for law enforcement officers to read and contain more information. Some of the new licenses, and identification cards, will be available starting Aug. 6, but "people don't need to rush in and apply for a new card," Dawn Olson said on Monday, July 16. Olson, the state Department of Public Safety Driver and Vehicle Services director, said Minnesotans with a current valid licenses or IDs can continue using them.
ST. PAUL -- Gov. Mark Dayton has declared emergencies in three dozen counties and the Red Lake reservation after a series of storms starting on June 9 caused damage across the state. Dayton signed the executive order Thursday, July 5, that gives the counties and reservation access to state disaster funds and state aid.
ST. PAUL — Minnesota is suing the maker of the best-known opioid painkiller, OxyCotin, claiming it mislead health care professionals and patients alike. "Prescription painkillers can be helpful in relieving pain when properly used and prescribed, but this company misrepresented and minimized the addictive nature of its drugs in order to sell more of them," Attorney General Lori Swanson said about Purdue Pharma on Monday, July 2.
ST. PAUL — Minnesotans should get better service than last July, when the state introduced new motor vehicle license and title computer software, state officials say, but there is not enough money to make it work right. "It is way better than when it was rolled out in July," Commissioner Johanna Clyborne of the Minnesota Information Technology Service said Wednesday, June 27, after a legislative committee received an update. When asked if the state was running the system well, she said: "I think we could do this better."
ST. PAUL—Daniel Del Toro remembers 1990 when federal authorities separated him from his parents, who had just crossed from Mexico into the United States. "We come here because we are seeking a better life," he said Tuesday, June 19, about his family and fellow Mexicans. "We are running from violence." Holding his 2-year-old son, Joaquin, he said that his situation at 11 years of age is similar to today. "I don't see it as a crime."