U.S., Canada lift steel tariffs in shifting trade landscape

Well, the short, unnecessary trade war with our friendly neighbor Canada appears to be over. Last week, the United States and Canada jointly lifted countervailing tariffs on steel and aluminum. These two nations have long dickered over elements of trade policy, but have generally accepted that they’re good for each other. Canada buys more from… Read More →

Budget ne-boat-iations: State leaders seek to break impasse on fishing opener

It’s almost tradition now. Like powdered wigs and rapping three times on the door of the weather-predicting groundhog in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. Yes, this weekend Minnesota state legislative leaders and the governor will negotiate the biennial budget while angling on the opening weekend of the walleye and northern pike season. Gov. Tim Walz and House Speaker… Read More →

Radinovich to resign from Iron Range Resources post after hiring controversy

Joe Radinovich will resign his high-level post with the Minnesota Department of Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation after last week’s report detailing irregularities in the hiring process. Radinovich is a former state representative from Crosby. He was the 2018 8th District DFL Congressional nominee. He previously served at the IRRRB as a politically-appointed Assistant Commissioner…. Read More →

Report details irregularities in IRRRB hiring of former Congressional candidate

A recent investigative news story highlights the unusual way in which former State Rep. and recent Congressional candidate Joe Radinovich was appointed to a high level permanent job at the Minnesota Department of Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation. Marshall Helmberger of the Tower Timberjay published the report Wednesday. The story quickly spread to media outlets… Read More →

When the vote fails, rural districts hold few cards

On Tuesday, voters in the Floodwood, Minn., school district rejected a $700,000 operating bond referendum by a vote of 352-336. This close vote in a small district will make a big difference. Teachers and officials suggest up to eight teachers could lose their jobs without the local funding. Elementary sections could be combined. Most electives… Read More →

Minnesota’s 8th District losing bellwether status

After five consecutive nationally-significant campaigns in Minnesota’s 8th Congressional District, this rural blue collar bellwether slips out of the spotlight. Simone Pathé of Roll Call reported yesterday that national Democrats aren’t even targeting new incumbent U.S. Rep. Pete Stauber in their early plans for 2020. Meantime, they are focusing on new suburban districts in states… Read More →

Study shows rural ‘recreation counties’ holding population

In real terms, the biggest factor in most of the challenges facing Iron Range communities is population loss. The economic contraction of the late 1950s and 1980s sent people away from core Range communities. This impacted local businesses, school enrollments, housing values, and myriad other issues. There are other factors, more to consider, but basically… Read More →

Amy Klobuchar: the senator from Minnesota

I first met Amy Klobuchar in a back alley in International Falls, Minnesota, not far from a paper plant along the Canadian border. Looking back at that 2006 day gives us clues about her upcoming presidential campaign.

Rarick, GOP win special election in MN Senate Dist. 11

History shows that mighty campaigns die in the winter and all dynasties come to an end. State Rep. Jason Rarick (R-Pine City) defeated DFLer Stu Lourey in the Minnesota Senate District 11 special election Tuesday. Rarick racked up big numbers in his home House district and kept the vote close enough in the DFL-leaning northern… Read More →

Tuesday special election in SD11 clouded by midwinter blues, ballot issues

Voters in Minnesota Senate District 11 will go to the polls Tuesday to elect a new State Senator. Though SD11 projects the image of a swing district, the election outcome remains even more uncertain than usual. Candidates aren’t just sparring with each other, they’re fighting to get people to vote in the middle of winter. In… Read More →