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. LOUIS PARK, Minn. - Amy Klobuchar needed to outfit her apartment when she moved to Washington as a U.S. senator. So the Minnesota Democrat headed to a nearby store "looking for cheap furniture" and bought an assemble-it-yourself "fake antique" cabinet. "It smelled weird" when she removed it from the box, she said. However, it began to become pungent as her first Washington summer began to heat up.
ST. PAUL - There is a political buzz this fall unlike any ever heard around Minnesota. Fourteen months before the next election, the state's political establishment is talking about the governor's race, talk that started the afternoon of June 2 when Tim Pawlenty announced he would not run for a third term.
ST. PAUL - Gov. Tim Pawlenty is traveling the country talking about how the Republican Party should improve, fueling speculation that he is preparing for a 2010 presidential run. But as he prepared to leave for a weekend Values Voters Summit sponsored by conservative organizations, Pawlenty said that he has not decided if he is running. "Anybody who is looking at 2012 is getting way ahead of themselves," he said. "I have not even decided if I will stay in politics after 2010." Democrats think Pawlenty is running for president.
ST. PAUL - A Minnesota Administration Department opinion tightens the state open meetings law. The option by Administration Commissioner Sheila M. Reger indicates that the Metro Gang Strike Force Advisory Board violated state law when a Minneapolis police official sent an e-mail to all board members about a statement he wanted to issue to the Minneapolis-based Star Tribune.
ST. PAUL - National economists say the recession technically is over, but Minnesota economic leaders say workers have not felt an improvement. A report released Thursday showed 10,300 Minnesota jobs disappeared last month, for a total of 120,300 in the past year. The August job loss wiped out a 7,700 job gain reported a month earlier. At the same time, the Department of Employment and Economic Development reported unemployment fell 0.1 percent to 8 percent in August, the second straight month joblessness dropped.
ST. PAUL - More than 30 Minnesota schools report significant flu outbreaks, little more than a week after most districts began classes. The flu outbreak is spotty around the state, with some districts reporting few problems. The same is true for colleges. "Novel H1N1 has continued to cause illness in Minnesota all through the summer, and we have been anticipating a possible second wave of this illness," state Health Commissioner Dr. Sanne Magnan said Wednesday.
ST. PAUL - Gov. Tim Pawlenty wants the federal government to provide low-interest loans to farmers in six northern Minnesota counties affected by wet weather in 2008 and 2009. Pawlenty sent a letter asking U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to declare Kittson, Lake of the Woods, Marshall, Pennington, Roseau and Koochiching counties as disaster areas, opening the way for the loans. "During the fall of 2008, the region experienced above-average precipitation, leaving saturated soils," Pawlenty wrote.
ST. PAUL - A group fighting sexual abuse by Catholic clergy wants people who have been abused as far back as the 1960s to contact law enforcement officials as more allegations surface about a brother who taught in several Upper Midwest schools. Bob Schwiderski of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests on Tuesday called on anyone who may have been abused at a church retreat along the St. Croix River north of the Twin Cities to contact law enforcement authorities and his organization.
ST. PAUL - It was a strange Minnesota State Fair this year, politically at least. There generally is not much political activity in a non-election year, like 2009. But with a couple dozen candidates in or getting ready to jump into the 2010 governor's race, many were interested in getting face time with fair-goers. Candidates and potential candidates found plenty of reasons to be at the fair. Lt. Gov. Carol Molnau was one of them, although the farmer always spends a lot of time there.