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 -- Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system union workers say this is not the time to pay top officials bonuses and high salaries. Union members Tuesday particularly blasted a $50,000 payment made to Chancellor James McCormack after he retired this summer, but also criticized other high-level system workers and campus presidents' extra pay.
ST. PAUL -- Even the dark smoke clouds billowing out of the Twin Towers, a Pennsylvania field and the Pentagon 10 years ago contained a silver lining. The East Coast terrorist attacks that killed 2,975 people convinced, and in a way forced, emergency workers to work closer with each other preparing for the next big disaster, whether it be manmade or natural. At the same time, it opened the door to much improved day-to-day contact among government officials.
ST. PAUL -- This year will go down as one of the most contentious in Minnesota government history, so exceptions to that attitude are notable. The first exception started out as yet another controversy. Several days ago, news reports indicated that the state had stopped paying for military honor guards at veterans' funerals. The funding cut apparently slipped by all the top officials as political leaders this spring and summer debated a $34 billion, two-year budget. Sen.
GOLDEN VALLEY -- Minnesota police and prosecutors have a new way to fight the newest drug craze, but say they still need to catch up. Synthetic drugs, in many cases designed to get around existing laws, are soaring in popularity even as use of traditional drugs such as heroin is waning. "In law enforcement, we may be a little behind the curve," Minnesota Public Safety Commissioner Mona Dohman said during a Thursday discussion about synthetic drugs, also known as designer drugs, sponsored by U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesotans will gather at the state Capitol Sept. 11 to remember the terrorist attacks of 10 years ago and to prove people from diverse backgrounds can work together. Immediately after the attacks, most in the country felt "we are all together, we are all Americans," said Gail Anderson, chairwoman of a committee organizing the Minnesotans Standing Together event.
ST. PAUL -- Tom Bakk says he prefers working in the Minnesota Senate, and has turned down requests that he challenge rookie U.S. Rep. Chip Cravaack in next year's election. "In recent months, I have been overwhelmed by the numerous phone calls, letters and emails I have received from citizens encouraging me to run for Congress," he wrote to editors.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota's senior congressman fears the Obama administration has fired a shot over the ethanol industry's bow in seeking a home-grown fuel for the Navy. "I think that is a big a problem," said U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson, who serves most of western Minnesota.
CANNON FALLS -- President Barack Obama headed into Republican-leaning territory Monday for what Washington observers called his first re-election campaign stop, asking 500 Minnesotans in a tranquil park along a quiet stream to tell their GOP representatives to compromise. The Democratic president basically said that if Republicans would see things his way, Washington would run much smoother. "What is needed is action on the part of Congress, a willingness to put the partisan games aside and say, 'We're going to do what's right for the country, not what we think is going to score some politic
ST. PAUL -- Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty ended his White House dream Sunday after a third-place finish in an Iowa straw poll. Pawlenty said he would not continue his campaign, telling ABC's "This Week" that "I wish it would have been different, but the pathway forward doesn't exist for me." He probably can blame a fellow Minnesotan for leaving the race. U.S. Reps. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota won the poll, far ahead of Pawlenty.