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 -- The Minnesota 2010 governor's race is unique. For one thing, the race is gearing up big time now, while it still is just 2009. It depends on how you count, but there are about 20 Republican and Democratic candidates already in the race, and more are bound to belly up to the bar. With half of the candidates serving in the Legislature, next year's session is sure to be affected.
ST. PAUL -- Marty Seifert of Marshall is running for governor, but will not seek re-election to his state House seat if that fails. The Republican lawmaker announced Thursday that he will finish out his term and then leave the House. Seifert is the second representative running for governor to say that. House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher, a Minneapolis Democrat, also does not plan to run for another term.
ST. PAUL -- A trio of Minnesota legislators returned from Washington impressed with the enthusiasm of the state's congressional delegation about passing a health-care reform bill. At least Democrats were enthused. The Democratic legislators did not talk to congressional Republicans. Rep. Tom Huntley of Duluth said lots of work remains on the measure, which has two versions in the Senate and three in the House. "It is very much a work in progress." Huntley, Sen. Linda Berglin of Minneapolis and Rep. Erin Murphy of St.
ST. PAUL -- Type "Google Voice rural" in a Google search box and a computer user quickly will discover that one of the oldest high-tech companies is taking on one of the new ones, with the rural Upper Midwest as battleground. The country's oldest telephone company, AT&T, claims Internet search giant Google's new telephone service violates federal law by blocking some calls to rural Minnesota, North Dakota and Iowa. Google counters that all it is trying to do is avoid some specific overly expensive rural telephone numbers. Federal officials will be left to settle the dispute.
ST. PAUL -- A Minnesota family could save up to 7 percent of its health insurance costs a year if allowed to buy insurance in other states, Gov.
MINNEAPOLIS -- Paul Strain said his family supports his college career, emotionally at least. But when it comes to money, he told U.S. Sen. Al Franken Monday, he needs to look for federally supported programs.
ST. PAUL -- Two of Minnesota' most military-oriented politicians went different ways when the U.S. House approved the defense authorization bill. John Kline, a Republican serving an area mostly south of the Twin Cities, voted against the military funding bill for the first time in his seven years as congressman because it contained what he described as divisive social policies. Prime among those policies is a provision that has little to do with defense.
ST. PAUL -- Regulators are working with 71 of 426 Minnesota-based banks to make sure they do not fail, but bank and credit union officials say they are not risking customers' money. "It's just a matter of prudent lending and risk management," Noah Wilcox Tuesday told the state Senate Commerce and Consumer Protection Committee. Wilcox and other bankers told senators that the media is feeding a frenzy by reporting about "risking loans" being made by American banks.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota legislators face a dilemma: Can they spend money from a tight budget to eliminate poverty by 2020? If they spend money now, Rep. Carlos Mariani, DFL-St. Paul, said, more people would go to work and the state's economy would improve. But since lawmakers are not likely to start many new spending programs in light of a several-billion budget deficit, Rep.