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 -- With light music and a soothing voice in the background, a content couple leaps into the air and another happy couple sits in a meadow amid wildflowers. To any television viewer, it appears to be a commercial for the latest wonder drug, available only by prescription. But upon closer examination, this "Reforma" being promoted is President Barack Obama's health care reform plan, and the script is a biting criticism of it. "Consult your congressman or senator now," the male announcer intones. "'Reforma.' Side effects include bureaucratic waste and delay.
ST. PAUL -- Members of Jack Thronson's union are struggling, and not just because many have lost jobs. Thronson told a Minnesota House committee on Monday that they face trying times just dealing with agencies that are supposed to help them get unemployment insurance payments and other state help. "People are getting frustrated going through the answering machine," he said.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota Republicans stopped a straw poll for governor half-way through the annual Farmfest event. "A straw poll was started but stopped because the state chair had not authorized it," state Republican spokesman Mark Drake said. "We didn't want to take attention away from our sanctioned state convention poll in October." Governor candidate state Rep. Marty Seifert of Marshall, who grew up near the Farmfest grounds, said he was told the poll was halted "apparently because it favored me. ...
MINNEAPOLIS -- Dave St. Peter walked the Metrodome concourse, the only man in a suit and tie among 32,000 heading to their seats, buying Dome dogs, picking through T-shirts and doing whatever else baseball fans do just before the Minnesota Twins take the field. He took a right turn and walked into the stands, heading down the steps to see how pre-game activities were going. Within seconds, he spotted a former classmate from St. Mary's High School in Bismarck, N.D. Karen Nathe, her family at her side, enjoyed catching up with her classmate, who has been the Twins' president since 2002.
MINNEAPOLIS -- Tour the new Minnesota Twins ballpark and it appears almost ready to host its first game. Just add some turf and a few more seats and Target Field will offer Upper Midwest residents baseball the way it was meant to be played: outdoors.
ST. PAUL -- Western Minnesota's 2010 congressional race is under way, even without candidates. The state Republican Party launches a radio advertising campaign against Democratic U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson today, saying the 10-term congressman is out of touch with his district. With Republicans assuming he will run again, it is the first volley of a campaign in which Republicans promise to unseat Peterson, who has faced only a couple of close races since he first was elected. A Peterson comment claiming a quarter of his constituents link Sept.
ST. PAUL -- U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann appears to have appeal well outside her district. While her aides deny she is interested in running for governor, an analysis by the University of Minnesota's Smart Politics blog shows her financial reach extends outside of her 6th Congressional District, which stretches from St. Cloud through northern Twin Cities suburbs into the eastern Twin Cities area. Eric Ostermeier reports that the colorful and quotable Republican raised more individual contributions in the St. Paul-area district served by U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum than did McCollum.
ST. PAUL - When the new flu began to spread, many people were concerned about catching it from hogs because it was called swine flu. Now some are concerned that swine may get sick from flu-infected people, especially at local and state fairs. Minnesota Health Department's Buddy Ferguson said: "Don't bring your swine to the fair if they are sick, and don't go to the fair if you are sick." A letter state health and Board of Animal Health officials sent to fair managers and veterinarians states any hog that appears to have flulike symptoms must immediately be sent home.
ST. PAUL -- If Iran was behind the deaths of three Minnesota National Guard soldiers, already rocky relations with the United States could become worse, Gov. Tim Pawlenty said Sunday from the Middle East. An Iraqi police official said his department arrested a man with Iranian connections in the attack that killed Spec. Daniel P. Drevnick, 22, of Woodbury, Spc. James Wertish, 20, of Olivia and Spec. Carlos E. Wilcox IV, 27, of Cottage Grove Thursday at their Basra, Iraq, base. A fourth soldier, whom the military has not identified, was hurt.
ST. PAUL -- Health officials are preparing for a pandemic flu that kills many Minnesotans. Or a flu almost no one notices. Or something in between. "Anything could happen," said John Stine, assistant Minnesota Health Department commissioner. "There is no way of giving you a forecast." The current pandemic flu strain has sickened millions, killing 94,000 worldwide and 34,000 in the United States. But Stine and other Minnesota health leaders fear it could get far worse if the current flu virus mutates as has happened in the past. "It's now everywhere," Stine said.