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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FERGUS FALLS, Minn. -- It's almost all about agriculture in Minnesota's new 7th Congressional District, U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson Saturday told DFL convention delegates who endorsed him for a seventh term. And, he said, his dozen years in Congress helps farmers. "Seniority is a big deal," he told delegates at Fergus Falls' Bigwood Event Center. Peterson received all 129 votes as delegates engaged in a subdued celebration of the conservative Democrat.
FERGUS FALLS, Minn. -- More people would stay in North Dakota and western Minnesota if more Democrats were elected, Heidi Heitkamp told the DFL 7th Congressional District convention Saturday night. "People are voting with their feet," North Dakota's former attorney general told delegates to the western Minnesota convention. Heitkamp, keynote speaker at the convention's closing banquet, said Democrats would produce better-paying jobs. "We have to do better in supporting working families," she said.
FERGUS FALLS, Minn. -- Judi Dutcher tells Democrats that she and two other DFL candidates vying for Minnesota governor are disappointing reporters -- they are not fighting. Dutcher, the state auditor who was elected twice as a Republican, said the race has been the most civil she has seen, thus depriving reporters of controversy-filled stories. That comes in a party known for hard-fought internal -- and sometimes nasty -- races. Each of the three major candidates says he or she will support the winner of Saturday's endorsement.
FERGUS FALLS, Minn. -- Roger Moe could barely move in his two-room convention hospitality suite Friday night, while relatively few people mingled with his two major opponents. Moe, a 32-year Erskine senator, was close to home in western Minnesota, surrounded by family and neighbors. But Becky Lourey and Judi Dutcher didn't let that bother them. "As with the rest of the districts, we have a lot of supporters here, too," said Dutcher, the state auditor for nearly eight years. "I really feel the momentum," Lourey, a state senator from Kerrick, said of western Minnesota.
The Senate joined the House in requiring Minnesota school students to recite the Pledge of Allegiance at least once a week. A House-Senate conference committee will work out differences in the two bodies' bills, but even if the Legislature passes a bill on to Gov. Jesse Ventura, it may not become law. Ventura's spokesman said the governor feels patriotism comes from the heart, and cannot be legislated. The Senate passed the bill 54-8 after members delivered some rousing testimony. Sen. Steve Murphy, DFL-Red Wing, came to the defense of Sen. Mee Moua, DFL-St.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota House Republicans may be willing for forego a transportation funding bill this year. The House co-chairman of the transportation funding committee said transportation is the third most important issue left this legislative session -- after balancing the budget and funding construction projects -- and House leaders are reducing their emphasis on it. "More and more, we are looking at -- we have to get out of here with a balanced budget," Rep. Bill Kuisle, R-Rochester, said.
ST. PAUL -- Rural Minnesota will benefit from a federal energy plan expected to pass soon, according to one of the senators in favor of it. Sen. Mark Dayton said Wednesday that as passage nears, provisions to help Midwest corn and soybean farmers remain intact. Sections of the bill to encourage the use of corn-based ethanol and soybean-based biodiesel will help Minnesota farmers, Dayton said.
ST. PAUL - Barricades will show up at Minnesota rest areas today in case state budget negotiators miss their midnight Thursday deadline. Rest area closings are the first visible sign of a pending partial state government shutdown. Most rest areas will close because the Minnesota Department of Transportation's authority to spend money runs out if a budget is not completed. However, hope remained Tuesday that the pit stops could be re-opened for the July 4 holiday weekend. Budget negotiators said they were closer to an agreement. Gov.
ST. PAUL - One of the old-style Minnesota state senators, not into partisan bickering, has died. Sen. Gary Kubly, DFL-Granite Falls, died in a St. Paul hospital Friday after suffering a medical problem Wednesday morning. He was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease in 2010, and his health gradually failed. Funeral services are expected to be in Granite Falls on Wednesday. Condolences from politicians of all stripes began soon after Senate Minority Leader Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook, announced the 68-year-old's death Saturday afternoon. "Sen.