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 — No one wants to celebrate a 70th birthday with a new cancer diagnosis and recent history of fainting on statewide television. But that is what Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton faces Thursday, Jan. 26, when that landmark day arrives.
ST. PAUL — A Republican presidential Cabinet veteran gives President Donald Trump mixed reviews on his picks for key positions. "I am relatively pleased with the folks he has nominated," said Ed Schafer, a former agriculture secretary and ex-North Dakota governor, during a Friday, Jan. 20, interview with Forum News Service. "By and large he has business people who run big organizations," added Schafer, who sports a long business background himself.
MINNEAPOLIS—An oil pipeline protester was recovering in a Minneapolis hospital Tuesday, Nov. 22, after her arm was seriously injured during a confrontation between pipeline opponents and law enforcement officers. Injuries sustained by Sophia Wilansky, 21, of New York prompted thousands of people donated money for her recovery, which was underway at Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis. Within 19 hours of a gofundme site being established, 8,000 people had combined to give more than $220,000.
North Dakota and South Dakota went, as expected, to Republican Donald Trump. Major news services projected the two states as going to the GOP candidate second after polls closed at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 8. The news was no surprise. The projections were made based on exit polls because there was very few votes counted. The two states were joined by a line of states across the middle part of the country to vote for Trump, including Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Wyoming and Texas.
ST. PAUL—The two major presidential candidates appear to agree on something. Hillary Clinton: "America's rural communities lie at the heart of what makes this country great." Donald Trump: "Growing our farm sector and supporting our nation's farmers are absolutely critical steps to making America great again." The two short quotes from Democrat Clinton and Republican Trump are more than most Americans hear about rural issues in the campaign, so the two apparently agree that rural issues are not critical enough to their chances on Nov. 8 to talk about them much.
ST. PAUL—Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton do not talk much about rural issues on the campaign trail, but there is plenty of evidence showing they differ greatly on the subject. Trump generally buys into traditional Republican ideas and Clinton embraces Democratic principles. And perhaps nothing illustrates the contrast better than how they stand on federal government regulations, an issue common among farmers and miners, energy workers and homeowners. Both sides say they will work with those who affected by regulations, but that is about where the agreement ends.
ST. PAUL—A new Minnesota presidential poll continues to show a closer contest than is common in the state, with Hillary Clinton up by 7 points. However, if Minnesota voters are like Americans in general, half were waiting for debates to begin to make up their minds. A just-released SurveyUSA poll from the Twin Cities' KSTP-TV indicates that if the election were held before the Monday, Sept. 26, opening presidential debate that 46 percent would vote for Democrat Clinton while 39 percent were behind Republican Trump.
ST. CLOUD, Minn.—No link has emerged between terrorist groups and the man who stabbed 10 people in a St. Cloud mall Saturday night, Sept. 17. St. Cloud Police Chief Blair Anderson told reporters Monday that he will let the public know quickly if investigators find a connection between the suspect in the stabbings, identified by fellow Somali-Americans as Dahir Adan, and terrorist groups such as ISIS. An ISIS-related news agency called Adan a soldier of the organization, but did not indicate he had prior contact with it.
ST. PAUL—Minnesota will not appeal a federal court ruling that called unconstitutional a law restricting importing electricity from coal-fired electric generating plants. North Dakota filed the suit against the Minnesota Next Generation Energy Act and won in a federal district court. A federal appeals court panel in June agreed with the district court, leaving the U.S. Supreme Court the only opportunity for Minnesota to win. But on Monday, the Minnesota Commerce Department and Public Utilities Commission announced the state will not appeal.
MORGAN, Minn.—Farm issues Roger Johnson faces in Washington, D.C. are not much different than he handled in North Dakota. But politics are an entirely different story. "The politics in Washington, D.C. are very broken," said Johnson, National Farmers' Union president and former North Dakota agriculture commissioner. "It is a very dysfunctional place. It has been my biggest disappointment going out there, trying to run a major national farm organization faced with a Congress that just is not very functional anymore."