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ST. PAUL -- Mary Kiffmeyer says she has established an impressive eight-year record as Minnesota's top elections official, but her main opponent argues she has developed a less-flattering reputation. Kiffmeyer, a Republican seeking a third term as secretary of state, said she has dramatically improved the office since first elected in 1998. She cites the implementation of new election laws and addition of modern vote-counting equipment and she takes partial credit for an increase in voter turnout.
Charges against two people arrested in a Stillwater methamphetamine bust have been dropped, and they are presumed to be returning to their homes, according to their attorneys and court documents. U.S. District Court Judge Arthur J. Boylan dismissed charges against Brenda Vidrio-Espinoza and Lombardo Legoretta-Velasquez on Sept. 26. A reason for the dismissal was not stated. Five other suspects remain in custody and await trial. All were arrested in a raid on a Stillwater home on Aug. 28.
ST. PAUL -- The candidates for Minnesota's top elections official each has his own strategy to sell the state's younger generation on the importance of casting a ballot. Increasing voter turnout among young adults is one of several issues separating the candidates running to be the next secretary of state. Secretary of State Mary Kiffmeyer, a Republican, said a cornerstone issue of her eight years in office has been to increase civic participation among younger Minnesotans.
Allete Inc. will pay the Fond du Lac Band of Chippewa roughly more than $4 million over the next 29 years for Minnesota Power's hydroelectric operations in the St. Louis River's watershed. Allete owns Minnesota Power. The effort to restore wild rice in the region is one of the projects that will benefit from the agreement.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota businesses are paying for a series of advertisements aimed at convincing voters to pick fiscally responsible legislative candidates. "Vote for the toughest S.O.B.," one ad blares.
The former Minnesota governor who lives half the year in Mexico surfaced again last week to plug Peter Hutchinson's Independence Party bid for governor. It may be the most innovative commercial of the campaign, but the Independence Party does not have the money to blanket the airwaves like its two bigger brothers. It hopes voters will visit www.teammn.com/news/media.php to see the spot if they miss it in television. The commercial features a Ventura who looks better groomed than in most recent appearances. He urges voters "to claim your independence from politics as usual. ...
Ken Pentel recently sent a message to supporters assuring them he is busy campaigning. Minnesota's Green Party candidate for governor was in the news when he ran four years ago, but has been running a quieter campaign this year. On one day, he said, he was part of a North Shore reading circle when someone named Bob "read lyrically about North Dakota." The next day, Pentel said, he handed out sunflowers to people in Grand Marais. He also listed other recent events he attended, ranging from a star-gazing party to appearing on cable television shows.
ST. PAUL -- U.S. Senate candidates Mark Kennedy and Amy Klobuchar want American troops back from Iraq -- it's just a matter of when. Backing off a stance that once called for cutting troop levels in half this year, Klobuchar instead opted for a more open-ended approach Friday while meeting with Forum Communications publishers, editors and reporters at the Capitol. Soldiers should be shipped home after signs of progress develop, she said, but not immediately. "We haven't seen that progress," the Democrat said.
ST. PAUL -- Peter Hutchinson said if elected governor he would raise the gasoline tax. Mike Hatch doesn't intend to raise taxes if he becomes governor, but he stopped short of promising not to do so. And Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who signed a pledge to not raise taxes four years ago, said he still rejects calls for tax increases but won't commit to the same written pledge if re-elected. The three major-party candidates for governor gathered Friday at the Capitol to discuss taxes and other campaign issues in a discussion with reporters, editors and publishers of Forum Communications newspapers.
ST. PAUL -- Some rural officials want the Minnesota Supreme Court to remove what they call a "deceptive" transportation funding constitutional amendment from the Nov. 7 election. Thirteen lawmakers and city officials petitioned the court, seeking an injunction because they said the amendment's wording is confusing to voters and therefore could be illegal. The proposed amendment would dedicate all of the state motor vehicle sales tax revenue to transportation projects. Currently, 54 percent of the tax is used for transportation; the remainder is directed goes to other uses.