Sue Hakes of Grand Marais to explore MN-8 bid

With Congressman Rick Nolan considering a run for governor, a potential Democratic candidate for his Eighth Congressional District seat announced her exploratory committee today. Sue Hakes, who previously served as Cook County Commissioner and Mayor of Grand Marais, will test the field as Nolan considers his future. “When I think about Minnesota’s Eighth District, I think… Read More →

Northeast Minnesota labor trends like a rummage sale

This week I’ll be taking part in Policy and a Pint, a discussion series sponsored by the Citizen’s League and MPR’s The Current. The event, titled “Talent Within the Range,” runs from 6-8 p.m. tomorrow, May 18, at the Minnesota Discovery Center in Chisholm. (Tickets are free; sign up here). In honor of the occasion, I’ll… Read More →

Aluminum and automation: our workforce confounded

This week I’ll be taking part in Policy and a Pint, a discussion series sponsored by the Citizen’s League and MPR’s The Current. The event, titled “Talent Within the Range,” runs from 6-8 p.m. Thursday, May 18, at the Minnesota Discovery Center in Chisholm. (Tickets are free; sign up here). In honor of the occasion, I’ll… Read More →

Minnesota leaders share bipartisan anti-fish aggression

For one day each year Minnesota politicians are judged on a bipartisan scale of how many fish they catch in a high pressure situation. The Minnesota fishing opener was today, meaning that anglers can catch larger fish like walleye, northern pike, and bass. Each year, the governor of our state hosts a major event celebrating… Read More →

‘Colleges create hope for northern Minnesota’

This Sunday I had an op-ed in the Duluth News Tribune. The topic: the state higher education funding bill being debated right now in St. Paul. The headline: “Colleges create hope for northern Minnesota.’ After going through the role higher education played in Northern Minnesota history, I look at the advantages of investing in higher education… Read More →

Trump’s tariff on Canada softwood may spike prices, slow construction

President Donald Trump’s Commerce Department made news in these parts by slapping a 15 percent tariff on Canadian softwood lumber. Trump says Canadian subsidies create unfair trade conditions, a charge that Canadian officials dispute. It comes down to how Canada handles the ownership of timber lands. In the U.S. private interests hold most lands, an… Read More →

The budding role of culture in Steel Town USA

For decades, the U.S. Steel Corporation stood as the single most powerful entity along Northern Minnesota’s Mesabi Iron Range. When local delegations needed something they doffed their hats at U.S. Steel Tower, not the capitol domes of St. Paul or Washington, D.C. U.S. Steel officially headquartered in New York until 1970, when the company moved… Read More →

Farewell to Minnesota’s Fightin’ Eighth?

Though long suspected, it now appears likely that Minnesota will lose one of its eight Congressional seats after the 2020 Census. Though Minnesota is increasing population slightly, it isn’t keeping pace with faster growing states. Minnesota just barely kept its eighth seat after the 2010 Census, so this isn’t shocking. Looking at the map, Rust Belt… Read More →

Governor to state: ‘I caught you a delicious bass’

When the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources announced that 2017 would be a catch-and-release season for the state’s most popular fish — the walleye — on one of its biggest, most popular lakes — Mille Lacs — anglers and resort owners revolted. The cries rang out. “How can you be so sure the walleye population is… Read More →

IRRRB reform divides Iron Range delegation

The Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board would see its governance structure change under new reforms currently attached to House Republican legislation. The board, comprised of legislators from the Taconite Tax Relief Area, now oversees IRRRB spending of taconite tax revenue. This is money paid by iron mines in lieu of local property taxes. The… Read More →