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Minn. to celebrate 'capital for a day'

Look out, St. Paul, there is a contest to replace you as Minnesota's capital city. But it is only for five days next year, during the state's 150th anniversary. The state's Sesquicentennial Commission will pick five capitals for a day, one from e...

Look out, St. Paul, there is a contest to replace you as Minnesota's capital city.

But it is only for five days next year, during the state's 150th anniversary.

The state's Sesquicentennial Commission will pick five capitals for a day, one from each of Minnesota's natural geographic areas - coniferous forest zone, deciduous forest zone, prairie grasslands, tallgrass aspen parklands and driftless zone.

Minnesotans can nominate potential capitals at www.mn150years.org until Nov. 7.

State officials will visit each "capital for a day" to promote sesquicentennial activities.


Romney's son to visit

One of presidential candidate Mitt Romney's sons will be in Bismarck Friday for the North Dakota Republican Party's state roundup and straw poll.

Tagg Romney is one of three staffers for presidential candidates who are scheduled to be at the event. Also coming are Rich Galen, national adviser for the Fred Thompson campaign, and Mark Campbell, Rudy Giuliani's national political director.

The roundup is Friday and Saturday, with most events at Bismarck's Doublewood Inn. The straw poll is late Friday after a reception. It is nonbinding.

Saturday's events include workshops, a lunch with Gov. John Hoeven as speaker, committee meetings and a "new media" forum on blogs, Facebook and talk radio.

Long memory

As the fifth anniversary of U.S. Sen. Paul Wellstone's death approaches, Assistant Minnesota House Majority Leader Frank Moe remembers the late senator fondly.

He got to know Wellstone, a fiery Democrat, when the senator-to-be was a Carlton College professor and Moe was a student and wrestler.


As a freshman, Moe's brother died and his mother sustained a serious back injury.

"He was honestly empathetic," Moe recalled. That showed up years later when Wellstone spotted Moe's mother at an event, called her by name and asked about her back.

"I hadn't seen him in years," Moe said. "He had all of those personal details about our lives at the front of his mind."

Solberg running

Rep. Dorvan Solberg, D-Ray, says he's definitely running for the North Dakota Senate next year.

Solberg has been in the House from District 2 since first being elected in 1998. He said in a prepared statement that he thinks "there is an opportunity to represent my district in the Senate."

The incumbent, Sen. John Andrist, R-Crosby, said Friday he hasn't decided yet about a re-election campaign. Andrist was first elected in 1992.

Solberg's announcement is hardly a surprise. Democrats in the Legislature held a fundraiser for him in Bismarck while the 2007 Legislature was still in session, as an incentive for him to seek the Senate seat.


Solberg is a rancher, amateur equine events competitor and a longtime member of the Mountrail/Williams Electric board of directors.

District 2 is Divide County, Burke County, all of Williams County except for Williston, and part of Mountrail County.

School funds wanted

Democratic Minnesota senators say upcoming school votes seeking more money are examples of poor support the past five years.

Many DFL senators' columns sent to local newspapers are much like one sent by Sen. Dan Skogen of Hewitt.

"I'm proud of the work we did last session to support our public schools," Skogen said. "However, over the past five years the state has not maintained adequate support for quality education programs. Unfortunately, this has forced more and more school districts to make some difficult choices."

Nearly 100 of the state's 341 districts plan ballot requests this year to raise property taxes.

A legislative task force looking into education funding meets for the first time this week.


Olsrud to be honored

The Capitol will honor Legislative Council Director John Olsrud on Oct. 30 as he prepares to retire after 40 years with the council.

The event is at 2:30 p.m. in the Capitol's Memorial Hall.

Olsrud will retire at the end of November. He began working at the council in 1967 and has been director since 1982.

The fete for Olsrud is being held the same day that dozens of legislators will be in the Capitol for the quarterly Budget Section meeting.

Paid line standers

The line started early the other day as U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., prepared to talk to the Senate Commerce Committee about mobile telephone regulations.

Actually, Klobuchar probably still was asleep because the line to get into the committee formed at 3 a.m. And, frankly, those in line probably did not care about Klobuchar or her bill. They were "line standers," a little-known Washington, D.C., profession.


It seems that lobbyists with more money than time pay people to stand in line for them, so they can enter a committee room at the last minute and grab a seat. Line standers are paid $10 an hour, although lobbyists pay a company that hired them $36 an hour.

Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., wants the public to be able to attend hearings, so she hopes to make the practice illegal, including up to five years in jail and $200,000 fines for those who break the law.

Conrad revamps site

Sen. Kent Conrad's Web site, www.conrad.senate.gov , has been redesigned and was reworked to improve navigability.

North Dakotans will be able to leave Conrad feedback on issues via the site.

It also now contains more information on legislation the senator is working on, a virtual tour of the U.S. Capitol, interactive maps and ways to obtain tickets for White House tours and flags that have flown from the Capitol.

Pawlenty criticized

Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty has placed the state in a job crisis, Rep. Tom Rukavina said last week.


"I'm calling on Gov. Tim Pawlenty to call a special session to address our deteriorating unemployment situation and other neglected state needs," said Rukavina, a Democrat who heads the state House committee dealing with work force issues.

"We are the Land of 10,000 lakes, and we were the land of plentiful jobs, but since Tim Pawlenty took over, a dangerous and disturbing pattern has affected our job market," Rukavina said. "Instead of the North Star State, we're becoming the No Jobs State."

It's an honor

Rep. Jasper Schneider, D-Fargo, was named one of four recipients of Jamestown College alumni's Journey to Success Medallion.

He graduated from Jamestown College in 2001 before going on to Hamline University in St. Paul for his law degree.

Minn. to celebrate 'capital for a day' Janell Cole and Don Davis 20071022

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