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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WASHINGTON—Federal officials plan to buy cheese to help poor Americans who need food assistance and dairy farmers who are suffering from low prices. Tuesday's announcement that the U.S. Department of Agriculture will spend $20 million to buy 11 million pounds of cheese from private companies comes as the dairy industry experienced a 35 percent revenue drop in the past two years.
ST. PAUL—Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton says he plans to campaign for clean water in coming months instead of against Republicans he blamed for torpedoing a special legislative session over a southwestern Twin Cities light rail proposal. The Democratic governor has been very strong in his statements against Republican opposition to the rail project, which he says is needed to move commuters from places like Eden Prairie to Minneapolis. No bus line can do that, he says.
ST. PAUL—Supporters of a western Minnesota private prison may not want to get their hopes up that the state could buy the facility. Thursday's news that the federal government plans to withdraw inmates from private prisons encouraged speculation that Corrections Corporation of America would reduce its nearly $100 million price tag on the Appleton facility since private prisons are losing favor. That could make a purchase attractive to the state, reasoned lawmakers in the area of the western Minnesota prison.
REDWOOD FALLS, Minn.—The numbers needed to describe video boards in the new U.S. Bank Stadium are impressive: The biggest scoreboard, for instance, is 68 feet tall and 120 feet wide. More than 19 light emitting diode displays are in or just outside the stadium, providing nearly 31,000 square feet of video boards. But Amy Barnes, and nearly 200 others who built the video boards in Redwood Falls, summarize all of those figures into one easy-to-understand word: pride.
MORGAN -- Scott VanderWal came across the South Dakota border to southwest Minnesota's Farmfest to scare farmers. The American Farm Bureau vice president wasted no time doing that as keynote...
MORGAN -- Temperatures bumped 90 degrees and humidity was high, but U.S. House candidates remained cool as they debated Tuesday in front of a Farmfest forum. Answers about crop insurance...
ST. PAUL—Minnesotans may not be very involved in the presidential campaign. The state often does not draw the candidates because of its tradition of voting Democratic. Republicans see little hope in Minnesota and Democrats see little reason to leave a swing state to campaign in a state they expect to win. On top of that, there is so little love for either candidate this year that many party activists on both sides are expected to spend most of their time working on other races, for U.S. House in some areas and for the state Legislature in much of the state.
ST. PAUL—Minnesotans may be the best at turning out for general elections, but they have voted in shrinking numbers in primary elections. And there is not much on the Aug. 9 primary ballot to drive those numbers higher. That is too bad, Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon said. "A primary election, obviously, determines which candidates are going to appear on a general election ballot," Simon said.
ST. PAUL—All Minnesota voters face one at least one race in the Aug. 9 primary election, two challengers to Supreme Court Justice Natalie Hudson, who Dayton appointed less than a year ago. One candidate will be eliminated in the primary, leaving two for the Nov. 8 general election. Craig Foss is one of Hudson's challengers. He graduated from Redwood Falls High School in 1988 and later became a lawyer, working as a defense attorney and was working in Alexandria for Legal Services of Minnesota when he was laid off in 2012.
ST. PAUL—Protesters remained in front of the Minnesota governor's residence Friday morning, continuing a vigil that began hours after a police officer shot and killed a 32-year-old black man in a Twin Cities suburb. While that gathering was peaceful, St. Paul police reported that early Friday some people left the Summit Avenue site and went a block to Grand Avenue, where they broke windows in an unoccupied police car and damaged a business window.