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A11-0678 Sitek v. Sitek (Hennepin County)

The Capitol Note: Kuisle joins Johnson in race for governor

1) Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson, a GOP gubernatorial hopeful, announced Wednesday that he’s taken on former Rep. Bill Kuisle as his lieutenant governor pick.

Kuisle served as assistant an assistant majority leader and a transportation committee chairman during his four terms in the House from 1997-2004. Johnson billed his running mate’s Rochester-area roots and farmer credentials as an answer to Gov. Mark Dayton’s “all-Minneapolis” ticket. If elected with the help of Kuisle’s rural chops, Johnson said his colleague would likely play a role in agriculture and transportation in the executive branch.

“Not only will he help us win, but the plan is that he will play a very substantive role in our administration,” Johnson said.

Another GOP candidate for governor, Rep. Kurt Zellers, announced on Thursday that his LG pick is former Rep. Dean Simpson, who represented New York Mills.

2) A group of Iron Range DFLers sent a letter to Sens. Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar cautioning against a federal environmental impact review of mining across Northeastern Minnesota, MinnPost reports.

The review could upset more than just the controversial copper-nickel mining that has swept up the state, according to Rep. Tom Anzelc, DFL-Balsam Township. “My point is that the Environmental Protection Agency’s increasingly aggressive interest in dealing with copper-nickel mining has morphed into areas that have consequences in iron and taconite,” he said. “And we have been doing iron and taconite for 125 years.”

The senators’ responses to MinnPost about the issue seem to offer little in the way of specifics, though both say they don’t want to add additional hurdles to the process.

3) The secretary of state’s office will cease printing cards for legislators that some say could have been used to escape arrest in certain circumstances, Minnesota Public Radio reports. “We are discontinuing the cards given the lack of a statutory requirement for our office to issue them,” Secretary of State Mark Ritchie wrote in a letter to lawmakers.

The issue was elevated this session when lawmakers attempted to clarify that legislators aren’t immune from DWIs during the legislative session. A bill passed through the House, but the Senate didn’t act because legislators there said the legal clarification was unnecessary, as lawmakers aren’t actually protected.


  • Democrat Jon Applebaum made his pursuit of the DFL nomination in House District 44B official, announcing that he had registered to run in the party’s primary in that district, where Rep. John Benson, DFL-Minnetonka, is retiring. Applebaum, an attorney, is one of three Democrats who have declared to run in that district, with Tony Wagner and Jon Tollefson rounding out the field.
  • A new political action committee called the “Energy Choices PAC” registered with the state campaign finance board last week. The fund lists Jason Bohrer, president of the North Dakota-based Lignite Energy Council, as both its chairman and treasurer.
  • Along those same lines, Minnkota Power Cooperative Inc., which serves about 35,000 customers in eastern North Dakota and western Minneosta, has established the Minnkota Power Action Committee for its political spending; the fund’s chair is Stacy Dahl, a former North Dakota state senator in North Dakota who represented the Grand Forks area.
  • WomenWinning, the progressive advocacy group that backs pro-choice female political candidates, is hiring for an associate director position. The staffer will handle fundraising, marketing and event planning, among other duties; one year experience in a related field preferred. Send resume, cover letter and three references to [email protected]
  • Amy Brugh terminated her registration to lobby for the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits. It was Brugh’s only such registration on record, and her departure leaves the organization with four current advocates.

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