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 -- Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton appeared in public for the first time since before his mid-October hospitalization with a couple of reasons to smile. The Democratic governor, soon to end four decades of public service, celebrated the prediction of a $1.5 billion state budget surplus and his improving health during a Thursday, Dec. 6, news conference, his first planned public appearance since two back surgeries at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester. “I am better,” the 71-year-old said. “I still have a ways to go to recover from complications.”
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 -- Minnesota House candidate Kyle Green, who lists himself on official paperwork as "independent-judicial reform," shook things up in his west-central Minnesota race. Green ends a 33-second campaign video with: "I want to be your state representative. I want to be your public servant. And I want to be your n -----." The candidate says he is American Indian, African-American and white. His video appears on a Facebook page "Kyle Greene for State Representative District 18A."
FALCON HEIGHTS, Minn.—Minnesota's governor race got real at the State Fair, the location where the public begins to notice election campaigns. Democrat Tim Walz and Republican Jeff Johnson laid out their differences—such as on spending, taxes, health care and guns—sharper than ever Friday, Aug. 31, during a Minnesota Public Radio-sponsored debate. Johnson was especially tough during the nearly hour-long event.
ST. PAUL — U.S. Sen. John McCain's death brings to mind several encounters with the senator that showed how rare the senator was. A couple of my most memorable dealings with him came in 2008, when McCain faced Barack Obama in the presidential race. Many Americans will recall one that has come up time and time again in recent days. From Lakeville, Minn., I wrote, "John McCain's Minnesota supporters gave him a loud and clear message Friday: Take a harder line against presidential opponent Barack Obama."
FALCON HEIGHTS, Minn.—It would be hard to find two candidates further apart on issues than state Rep. Jim Newberger and U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who are fighting for six year in the U.S. Senate. In a Friday, Aug. 24, Minnesota State Fair debate, Republican Newberger called for a return to free-market health care, said he does not believe climate change is manmade and declared a wall is needed along the Mexican border.
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 — A governor's housing task force says 300,000 homes should be built by 2030 in Minnesota, but provides few specific suggestions about how to reach the goal. The task force released its report Tuesday, Aug. 21, with 30 broad recommendations of what the state needs to provide adequate affordable housing. Gov. Mark Dayton said a half million Minnesotans "are struggling to afford quality housing." But he said that in the slightly more than four months he has left in office there is "not much" he can do to promote the recommendations.
ST. PAUL — The White House is leaving no doubt that Minnesota is important in its 2018 political strategy. The Minnesota Republican Party announced Monday, Aug. 20, that Vice President Mike Pence will be in Bloomington on Aug. 30, with a fundraiser the only thing on his agenda so far. When Pence and President Donald Trump have been here this year, they also have fit in rallies and other events to help GOP candidates.