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's economy is improving, but don't look for it to be back at full strength any time soon. State Economist Tom Stinson predicts that the economy will not rise back to pre-recession levels for at least two more years. There has been good news for agriculture, health care and tourism industries in recent months.
ST. PAUL -- Mark Dayton already has departed from current Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty's ways. While Pawlenty's staff is male-dominated, the first key appointments in the Dayton administration are all women, mostly those who worked on his campaign or transition staffs. Tina Flint Smith will be his chief of staff, the person who usually is the gatekeeper in the governor's office. She was a senior Obama campaign advisor in 2008, and held high positions in Planned Parenthood of Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota; Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak's office; Walter Mondale's 2002 U.S.
ST. PAUL -- Mark Dayton made one promise, in particular, hundreds of times in two years campaigning to become Minnesota's governor. It seldom differed much from what he said last January: "I promise that I will increase state funding for K-12 public education in real dollars every year I'm governor. No exceptions, no excuses." That was then, this is now: "I will do my utmost." What changed from "no exceptions, no excuses" to doing his "utmost?" Political and fiscal reality. The Democrat had been governor-elect only a couple of hours when he began to back away from campaign rhetoric.
ST. PAUL - Mark Dayton and Tom Emmer ended their quest for the Minnesota governor's office as differently as they were on the campaign trail. Dayton, the liberal winner, was somber. Emmer, the conservative loser, was light hearted.
DELANO, Minn. -- Mark Dayton promises to work with Republicans and Democrats alike now that he is Minnesota's governor-elect. "You were elected on your platforms and principles; I was elected on mine," the Democrat said to Republicans who will control the Legislature. "I believe the collective wisdom of the electorate is that they want part of what each of us offers, and they want us to work together to solve the state's budget crisis." Dayton made his remarks in a Capitol news conference less than four hours after Tom Emmer conceded the race.
ST. PAUL -- Tom Emmer apparently is leaving the Minnesota governor's race at his home, an appropriate ending to a campaign in which he discussed his wife and seven children more than any other topic. Numerous reports indicate that what his campaign calls a "major announcement" this morning will be the Delano Republican conceding to Mark Dayton, opening the door for a Democrat to become the first Minnesota governor since Rudy Perpich left office 20 years ago. With Dayton leading the race by 8,720 votes following a statewide hand recount, Emmer already knew he could not win that way.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota's economy is improving, but don't look for it to be back at full strength any time soon. State Economist Tom Stinson predicts that the economy will not rise back to pre-recession levels for at least two more years. There has been good news for agriculture, health care and tourism industries in recent months. And Minnesota sales to other countries are looking up.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota's Republican chairman called reporters to his office a block north of the state Capitol the day after the election to outline what he saw as irregularities in voting, irregularities he said could affect the governor's race. "The race for governor is not over," Sutton declared in an emotional, rising voice. "We are concerned there are so many discrepancies." He wanted all the publicity he could get, complaining about Democratic Secretary of State Mark Ritchie and how the Nov. 2 election was run. Fast forward to the past few days and find a different Tony Sutton.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesotans should not feel an impact from a growing state budget deficit, at least not for a few months. When legislators return to the Capitol on Jan. 4, they will debate the next two-year budget and an issue that does matter to Minnesotans: raising taxes vs. cutting state programs. State leaders' jobs became more difficult Thursday when finance officials announced the state would face a $6.2 billion deficit in the two years beginning next July 1.