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, Minn. — Minnesota's U.S. Senate candidates agree trade is important to farmers, but differ when it comes to details. Reactions were varied at a candidate forum Tuesday, Aug. 7. Republican-turned-Democrat Richard Painter's take was: "This trade war is an unmitigated disaster. Farmers will lose their farms over it if we don't turn this situation around." Republican-endorsed Karin Housley assured farmers that she has their back will not let that happen: "I have a direct line to the president."
Political observers have a saying they like to resurrect at every election: It's all about turnout. Well, of course it is. Whichever candidates get more of their supporters to the polls will win. But figuring out who will show up for the Aug. 14 primary election is an impossible task, in a large part because President Donald Trump could drive up turnout from both major political parties.
MANKATO, Minn. — Attorney General Lori Swanson has dropped out of a Minnesota governor candidate forum planned for Thursday night, Aug. 26. Swanson's office told Forum News Service that she needs to be in Milwaukee Friday morning with meet with a surgeon after one of her 87-year-old mother's lung collapsed.
ST. PAUL — Once upon a time, Republican candidates would not speak ill of another candidate in the party. These days, forget that. Take the Tim Pawlenty-Jeff Johnson race for the GOP nomination for Minnesota governor. Here are two politicians who have been considered nice guys. But a month before the Aug. 14 primary election, they are treating each other like Republicans might treat Democrats. Or vice versa.
ST. PAUL — Minnesota is a battlefield in a war pitting the United States against trading partners. President Donald Trump on Friday, July 6, tacked 25 percent tariffs on $34 billion of goods China sells in the United States. Trump says the tariffs eventually may cover up to $550 billion worth of Chinese products. China responded by slapping its own tariffs on American goods to be sold in China. "It is certainly much more threatening situation than I have seen in my lifetime," professor Robert Kudrle of the University of Minnesota said.
ST. PAUL—U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar left no doubt about what she thought of the federal Environmental Protection Agency administrator's resignation: "Finally." That was the Democrat's prompt Thursday, July 5, reaction on Twitter to President Donald Trump's tweet that he had accepted Scott Pruitt's resignation. U.S. Rep. Tim Walz, D-Minn., was almost as succinct: "Good riddance."
ST. PAUL — Minnesota is suing the maker of the best-known opioid painkiller, OxyCotin, claiming it mislead health care professionals and patients alike. "Prescription painkillers can be helpful in relieving pain when properly used and prescribed, but this company misrepresented and minimized the addictive nature of its drugs in order to sell more of them," Attorney General Lori Swanson said about Purdue Pharma on Monday, July 2.
WASHINGTON—Farmers usually worry about the weather and how much they will be paid for crops and livestock, but this summer many have a bigger worry: What federal officials will do for—or to—them. Farm-state lawmakers who deal with federal agriculture policy every day can do nothing to relieve farmer concerns. "No one has any answers and no one knows what is going on because things change every day," said U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson, who serves western Minnesota and is the top House agriculture Democrat. "Every single aspect of agriculture is up in the air."
WASHINGTON—Federal farm-state lawmakers say they are happy that final negotiations can begin on a farm bill that funds agriculture programs and food stamps. Senators passed their $428 billion farm bill 86-11 Thursday, June 28. The bipartisan vote contrasts with the House vote that narrowly passed last week with no Democratic support. U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson, D-Minn., had said that the only good thing about the House bill's passage was that it paved the way for negotiations once the Senate passed its bill. He is the top Democrat on the House Agriculture Committee.
ST. PAUL—Many Minnesota businesses could benefit and taxpayers could see a $150 million windfall after a U.S. Supreme Court decision requiring most websites to collect sales taxes from online shoppers. "It is about main street fairness," Minnesota House Tax Chairman Greg Davids, R-Preston, said after the high court released its ruling Thursday, June 21. What puzzled Davids was why the high court voted 5-4 instead of 9-0. "It should be such an easy thing."