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 -- Minnesota's endorsed Republican U.S. Senate candidate says American farmers should be left alone, with less federal support, much like oil producers in western North Dakota. "My goal is to become North Dakota, not Washington, D.C.," Kurt Bills said Wednesday, referring to that state's oil boom that he said occurred with little government assistance. The woman whose job he is trying to take away, however, said the oil industry receives federal aid and it is not fair to cut renewable fuels aid unless that, too, is cut. Bills and U.S. Sen.
REDWOOD FALLS -- It is no surprise that U.S. House candidates speaking to farmers will say they support agriculture, but on Tuesday, six of them delivered subtle signs of differences. In southern Minnesota's 1st Congressional District, for example, U.S. Rep. Tim Walz strongly supported a farm bill awaiting House action, Allen Quist opposed it for being too heavy on food stamps and not paying enough attention to farmers and Mike Parry fell in the middle. In western Minnesota's 7th Congressional District, U.S. Rep.
REDWOOD FALLS, Minn. -- A Republican state senator running for Congress says Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton popped pills during a meeting earlier this year. Sen. Mike Parry's comments became the talk of the Minnesota political world today, but Dayton said he has learned that as an elected official he will be attacked. Parry, of Waseca, told a Republican fundraising audience that Dayton took "15 or 16 pills" during a breakfast meeting earlier this year.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota election officials say a recount is possible in the Aug. 14 primary election state Supreme Court races. Four years ago, Minnesotans endured a lengthy U.S. Senate recount between Al Franken and Norm Coleman.
ST. PAUL -- The golden ball atop Minnesota's Capitol dome is as shiny as anyone alive today has seen it. It was unveiled last month, 434 feet above the ground, freshly repaired and with new gold leaf covering it. The dome system beneath it, with three domes inside each other, also is newly fixed. But below the second-largest self-supporting marble dome in the world, the 107-year-old Capitol building is hurting. Paint is peeling off the cafeteria ceiling, renovated in 1999 when 22 layers of paint were removed to reveal the original design.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota has appealed a federal government decision not to provide financial aid for individuals recovering from June storms as legislators begin preparing for a special session to deal with recent storm costs. Gov.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota Sen. Joe Gimse will lead Senate efforts to develop a disaster-relief bill, probably starting with a meeting next week. As Senate Transportation Committee chairman and a member of the public works funding committee, Senate leaders say the Willmar Republican's experience fits with the disaster bill's needs.
ST. PAUL -- Kurt Bills considers himself "The Little Engine That Could." Instead of the children's book version of a little locomotive delivering toys over a mountain while repeating "I think I can," Republican Bills is trying to deliver votes for his U.S. Senate campaign over a rugged and steep political path. The first-term state representative and high school economics teacher from Rosemount said he needs to do the work almost by himself because the Minnesota Republican Party has so many financial problems that it cannot help him.
ST. PAUL -- Tim Pawlenty could get his wish to join a national ticket in the next few days. Although Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney says he has not decided on a running mate, outside speculation puts the former Minnesota governor at the top of the list.
ST. PAUL -- More synthetic drugs will be illegal under a law taking effect Wednesday, and a state agency will be able to act faster to make newly developed versions illegal. Still, as makers of the so-called "designer drugs" continue to change chemical formulas to skirt the law, there will be lags between when a new drug is released and it is declared illegal. State officials and law enforcement officers said Thursday that so much about the drugs known by names such as spice and 2C-E is not known, other than they threaten Minnesota's youth. "No one knows what is in these compounds," Gov.