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 — Minnesotans should get better service than last July, when the state introduced new motor vehicle license and title computer software, state officials say, but there is not enough money to make it work right. "It is way better than when it was rolled out in July," Commissioner Johanna Clyborne of the Minnesota Information Technology Service said Wednesday, June 27, after a legislative committee received an update. When asked if the state was running the system well, she said: "I think we could do this better."
ST. PAUL—President Donald Trump fully expects to win Minnesota in 2020 if he can visit the state another time or two. "I hate to bring this up, but we came this close to winning the state of Minnesota," he told a packed house in Duluth Wednesday, June 20, as he held his finger and thumb nearly touching. A couple more percentage points in 2016 and he would have been the first Republican presidential candidate to win Minnesota since Richard Nixon in 1972.
ST. PAUL — Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon may have said it best: "What a day to be in the democracy business." Simon, whose office runs state elections, was in the center of Minnesota's political world Tuesday, June 5, as the first Muslim in Congress decided to run for attorney general in what turned into a crowded Democratic primary election contest. Six Democrats are running in the Aug. 14 primary election. U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison of Minneapolis attracted nationwide attention with his decision.
MINNEAPOLIS — Minnesota's politics is in high gear as the state attorney general said she wants to become governor, the governor picked who he wants to replace him, a lieutenant governor candidate said she misspoke about E85 and a Democratic governor candidate formally suspended her campaign. Monday, June 4, was one of the wildest days Minnesotans have seen in politics. Tuesday, the deadline for filing for state office, could be even wilder if only a portion of the rumors are true.
ROCHESTER, Minn. — Every election year comes the same rote statement: "It is the most important election in a generation." Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton admits that is a cliche. But, this time at least, he said it is true. "I'm not running for office, but I think this is the most important election in my time," said Dayton, who early in January will leave public life after more than 40 years in politics. That is what he plans to tell fellow Democrats when he speaks to their state convention in Rochester on Saturday, June 2.
ST. PAUL -- Former Gov. Tim Pawlenty will have an experienced lieutenant governor as his running mate in this year's governor election. He named Lt. Gov. Michelle Fischbach to that role Thursday, May 31. Fischbach has been No. 2 in the executive branch since early this year, while still holding onto her Senate seat. She resigned from the Senate last week, after Pawlenty asked her to join his ticket.
ST. PAUL — Gov. Mark Dayton is expected to sign or veto a public works funding bill for projects around Minnesota on Wednesday, May 30. If he signs the bill, he could eliminate some of the projects lawmakers approved. Also, his office says he will sign a pension-protection bill Thursday in a public ceremony. A number of other bills await his signature or veto, but he indicated they were not controversial.
ST. PAUL — Super Bowl visitors left $400 million in the Twin Cities. The Feb. 4 event, preceded by 10 days of organized partying was a success, organizers and the governor declared Tuesday, May 29, when they released an economic impact report. "The success of the enterprise was just phenomenal," Gov. Mark Dayton said. And, perhaps more importantly, 83 percent of Super Bowl visitors on their first Minnesota visit said they will be back.
ST. PAUL -- The veto pen found found most legislation Minnesota lawmakers passed this year. Gov. Mark Dayton announced Wednesday, May 23, that he vetoed the session's major legislation, citing numerous problems with the Republican-written bills. He said he hopes to decide by Friday on the final major bill of the session, funding public works projects. "Very irresponsible" was how Dayton described the legislative session.