New film explores 1916-17 Northern MN labor uprisings

Filmmaker Gary Kaunonen of KCC-TV in International Falls just released a new documentary about a pivotal time in Northern Minnesota’s labor history. It’s called “Northern Minnesota’s Labor Wars.” The years 1916 and 1917 brought major labor uprisings in the mines of the Mesabi Iron Range and the lumber camps of the state’s far northern pine… Read More →

Koochiching County at the crossroads

Last Thursday, I was part of a panel for a “Policy and a Pint” forum about Northern Minnesota employment issues. The Citizen’s League and MPR’s The Current sponsored the event. One of the big themes to emerge from the dialogue was the idea that Northern Minnesota needs to attract people. Returning young professionals, yes, but… Read More →

Brangelina blowout happened in International Falls

Normally I strive to break the notion that Northern Minnesota is “flyover” country. We must fight the pervasive notion that we of Middle America only serve as the soft marshmallowy interior for the much more interesting coastal regions. And I’ll resume that campaign in the near future. Meantime, we are learning that the high profile breakup between… Read More →

ANALYSIS: Rob Ecklund wins 3A race

Rob Ecklund was elected State Representative for Minnesota House District 3A Tuesday by a wide margin. The Koochiching County Commissioner and Boise Cascade union paper worker earned 64 percent of the vote to Republican Roger Skraba’s 19 percent and independent Kelsey Johnson’s 16 percent. Ecklund carried 80 of 83 precincts, losing a pair of small… Read More →

LIVE BLOG: MN House 3A Special Election today

Today voters head to the polls in Minnesota District 3A. This district is the state’s largest geographic House seat sprawling across Koochiching, northern and eastern St. Louis, most of Lake and all of Cook counties. This is a special election to replace the late Rep. David Dill (DFL-Crane Lake), who died last summer. Polls will… Read More →

The not-so-special election in MN House 3A

Remember when the Iron Range political structure appeared poised for street riots heading into a closely-watched DFL primary in House District 3A? Anyway, that was a thing that happened not that long ago. Today we are just shy of a week away from the Dec. 8 House 3A general election that will determine who actually heads… Read More →

In House 3A, geography & labor politics shaped outcome

On Tuesday, Koochiching County Commissioner Rob Ecklund won Tuesday’s DFL Primary in the Minnesota House 3A special election to replace the late State Rep. David Dill (DFL-Crane Lake). Ecklund beat Tofte businessman Bill Hansen by about 450 votes, or 6 percentage points. I live blogged the election here. There are a few different ways to interpret… Read More →

LIVE BLOG: MN House 3A DFL Primary

Today, four candidates — Rob Ecklund, Bill Hansen, Eric Johnson and Heidi Omerza — sought for the DFL nomination in the House 3A special election DFL primary. The winner will face Republican Roger Skraba and independent Kelsey Johnson in the Dec. 8 general election. I will provide news and analysis on the race throughout the evening in… Read More →

Polls open in House 3A special election DFL primary

Polls are open until 8 p.m. in today’s Minnesota House District 3A special election DFL primary. It’s been a fascinating campaign, full of inky barbs and clashes between Northern Minnesota political factions. Going into today’s election, Ecklund and Hansen have emerged as frontrunners, but with the potential for low turnout and the general unpredictability of this vast, rural… Read More →

Old fashioned newspaper fight in 3A special

We reported yesterday on the rising tumult in the race for next Tuesday’s DFL primary in the House 3A special election. Earlier this week the Iron Range’s largest newspaper attacked candidate Bill Hansen on some rather overdramatic accusations that he was speaking against unions in his criticism of copper-nickel mining rhetoric and boom-chasing economics. The next… Read More →