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Minnesota Government Update


August 21, 2009



AFL-CIO Elects First Woman President
The Minnesota AFL-CIO announced the election of Shar Knutson as the new President of the 300,000 member labor body. Knutson most recently served as President of the Saint Paul Regional Labor Federation.  She succeeds Ray Waldron who is retiring October 1, after nine years of service as the AFL-CIO President.  Knutson is a member of AFSMCE Local 1842.  She plans to continue the Minnesota AFL-CIO 's "mission of securing social and economic justice for Minnesota's working people."

2008 Campaign Finance Report Released
The Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board released a report this week on the 2008 campaign season.  The report shows that Minnesota candidates took in approximately $6.6 million in 2008.  Constitutional ballot question committees and ballot question funds received contributions of about $4.9 million.  Of the gubernatorial candidates with committees set up in 2008, Representative Paul Thissen (DFL-Minneapolis) raised the most at $97,000, Senator Tom Bakk (DFL-Cook) raised $93,0000, Ramsey County Attorney Susan Gaertner raised $83,000 and Senator John Marty (DFL-Roseville) raised close to $30,000.  The entire 311 page report is available at the Campaign Finance Board's website: http://www.cfboard.state.mn.us/

2010 Gubernatorial Race Notes
Speaker of the House Margaret Anderson Kelliher (DFL-Minneapolis) officially filed for the office of Governor.  Kelliher unveiled a website but sidestepped the usual press conference announcing her candidacy.  Her website indicates she will have a formal announcement in the next few weeks.
 
Former House Speaker and current Commissioner of Labor and Industry Steve Sviggum will not be able to run for Governor while serving as Commissioner. Because Sviggum administers the federal Occupational Safety and Health Act in the state, the federal Department of Labor has ruled that Sviggum is subject to the federal Hatch Act which prohibits political activity by federal employees.
 
Senator Paul Koering (R-Fort Ripley) recently announced he will not run for the Governor's office.

Norm Coleman Named Harvard Fellow
Former United States Senator Norm Coleman has been named a visiting fellow for the Fall, 2009 semester at the Harvard Institute of Politics. Visiting fellows meet with student groups at Harvard, lead discussions on issues and share their experiences with students.
 
In addition, there are reports that Coleman will soon be named to lead a new think tank to be called America’s Action Network. This organization will attempt to define the Republican Party’s future approach to the role of government. A formal announcement is expected by mid-September.

Coleman continues to leave the door open to a race for Governor in 2010.

For up-to-date information about the Minnesota Legislature, tune into Almanac: At the Capitol. This lively and informative program is aired Wednesdays during the legislative session on Twin Cities Public Television at 7:00 PM on Channel 17 and at 10:00 PM on Channel 2.

Almanac: At the Capitol is seen on all public television stations throughout Minnesota and in Fargo. Winthrop & Weinstine is the exclusive law-firm partner and a sponsor of the program.

For more information and to see previous broadcasts, check out the Almanac: At the Capitol Web site at http://tpt.org/aatc/.

 
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