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 - In politics, it is all about winning. Take, for instance, Al Franken's razor-thin victory over Norm Coleman in the Minnesota U.S. Senate race. The day after the state Supreme Court ruled in Franken's favor, making him Minnesota's newest senator, Brian Melendez, the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party chairman proclaimed: "Our election system in Minnesota works." His comments, delivered to a Franken rally, brought loud and long cheers.
ST. PAUL -- "Live, from Washington, it's Sen. Al Franken!" That may not be Minnesota senator-elect's line, but on Wednesday hundreds of supporters got a glimpse of a looser Al Franken than has surfaced in quite some time. He thanked Minnesotans for putting him in the U.S. Senate, promising, "I'm not going to waste that chance." The party on the state Capitol's front lawn came 23 hours after the Minnesota Supreme Court released a ruling declaring Democrat Franken beat Republican Norm Coleman by 312 votes in Nov. 4's U.S. Senate election.
ST. PAUL -- Gov. Tim Pawlenty's decision to make unilateral budget cuts could cost up to 4,700 jobs across Minnesota, the state economist on Tuesday told legislative leaders. In a confrontational meeting, House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher, DFL-Minneapolis, disputed some of those numbers. She told State Economist Tom Stinson that he undershot the number of jobs that school districts will be forced to cut, perhaps by several hundred. Stinson said up to 600 of the 4,700 job loses would come from schools.
ST. PAUL -- Nearly 3 million Minnesotans voted for a U.S. Senate candidate eight months ago, but in the end only five votes counted, those state Supreme Court justices who Tuesday decided Al Franken will be the state's second U.S. senator. The high court's unanimous decision gave Franken a 312-vote victory and convinced Norm Coleman to end his re-election battle, sending Franken to Washington and giving Democrats 60 Senate votes, the most dominate voting bloc in 30 years.
Updated 5:30 p.m.
ST. PAUL - Gov. Tim Pawlenty's decision to make unilateral budget cuts could cost up to 4,700 jobs across Minnesota, the state economist told legislative leaders this morning. In a confrontational meeting, House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher, DFL-Minneapolis, disputed some of those numbers. She told State Economist Tom Stinson that he undershot the number of jobs that school districts will be forced to cut, perhaps by several hundred. Stinson said up to 600 of the 4,700 job loses would come from schools.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota city leaders say they have trimmed spending gently for the past six years, with the public feeling little impact, but those days may be over. With $44 million being trimmed from state aid cities expected this year and more than $100 million next year, mayors, council members and city administrators said the public soon will begin to feel the cuts. Officials attending the annual Minnesota League of Cities conference in downtown St.
ST. PAUL -- U.S. Rep. Jim Oberstar, D-Minn., refuses to give in to a popular president's pressure to delay a new federal transportation funding plan. "We intend to move this bill forward, this administration not withstanding," a determined Oberstar said Wednesday as congressional committee work began on a $500 billion, six-year transportation funding plan that would mean more money to rebuild highways, expand transit programs and build high-speed passenger rail lines. President Obama does not want the Oberstar plan to proceed.
ST. PAUL -- A 39-year-old North Dakota native is the new as Minnesota House Republican leader. Fellow House Republicans gave Rep. Kurt Zellers of Maple Grove 70 percent of the vote Tuesday night in picking him to replace Rep. Marty Seifert of Marshall as minority leader. Seifert plans to announce in less than two weeks that he is running for governor. Rep. Randy Demmer of Hayfield was the other major candidate. Four ballots were needed before Zellers emerged the winner. Zellers takes over a caucus of 47 members out of the 134-person House.