The Great Minimum Wage Debate

Rebecca Noecker, St. Paul City Councilwoman, Ward 2

Veronica Mendez Moore, Co-Director of Centro de Trabajadores Unidos en Lucha

B Kyle, CEO of the St. Paul Area Chamber of Commerce

St. Paul is currently considering a proposal to raise its minimum wage. Is $15 an hour the right amount? Should tips count toward that $15 for restaurant workers? How quickly should the wage increase for different-sized businesses? Hear what city Councilwoman Rebecca Noecker and two members of the Citizen League’s minimum wage study committee are weighing as they try and come to a final proposal.    

An Evangelical, a Muslim, and an Atheist Walk into an Improv Show

Kyle Roberts, Dean of Academic Affairs, United Theological Seminary

Zan Christ, Coordinator for Religious and Spiritual Life Programs, Hamline University

Chris Stedman, Author of Faithiest and former director of the Yale Humanist Community

Even in the land of the Church Basement Ladies, people’s relationships with faith institutions are changing. More Millennials are religiously unaffiliated than any previous generation. How and why are young people redefining the role of faith in their lives? What do these changes mean for religious institutions? Would it help to update the Old Testament with some well-placed hashtags?

Where've all the Freeways Gone?

Charlie Zelle, Minnesota Commissioner of Transportation

Major road construction has slowed and rerouted traffic on a number of Twin Cities thoroughfares. Minnesota’s Commissioner of Transportation, Charlie Zelle, promises it will get better soon, with newer roads, more accessible bus options, and the groundwork for a self-driving future. We asked him how he made it through all the traffic to join us.

The Best Ends in Life are Planned

Brenda Hartman, Healing Through Life Counseling, 2017 Bush Fellow
Ann McIntosh MD, BSN, FACEP, Emergency Physician, Speaker, and Educator   

We’re ending our season with a show about endings. All of us (hopefully after a long and laugh-filled life) will pass on. Planning for our own or our loved one’s end of life can be intimidating, scary, and ultimately one of the most important ways to ensure a peaceful last chapter.

We talked with two women, Brenda Hartman and Dr. Ann MacIntosh, working to change the culture of fear around end-of-life care and planning. A truly important conversation for us all–except maybe vampires.

In Like a Bull, Out Like a Bear?

Timothy Taylor, Managing editor, The Journal of Economic Perspectives, Macalester College
Chris Farrell, Senior Economics Contributor, Marketplace and MPR

From the massive tax policy changes passed late last year, to new tariffs on steel and aluminum imposed, and wild stock market swings, there hasn’t been any shortage of economic news in 2018. We will talk with two brilliant (yet easily understandable) economists what to make of it all.

Timothy Taylor is both a professor at Macalester College and the professor you hear if you take The Great Course’s lecture series on economics. Chris Farrell is a regular contributor to public radio’s Marketplace, the Bloomberg Business, and the most frequent guest of The Theater of Public Policy

The Climate Change Whisperer

Paul Douglas, Longtime Meteorologist

Most Minnesotans know Paul Douglas from his years presenting the weather on KARE 11, WCCO, and TPT as well as writing the weather column for the Star Tribune. As an evangelical Christian who recognizes the threats of climate change, Douglas often finds himself serving as a bridge between communities that don’t often talk to one another.

Intergenerational LGBTQI Leadership

Phillipe Cunningham, Ward 4 Minneapolis Council Member
Charlie Rounds, Program Manager, Mossier Social Action and Innovation Center

How do members of the GLBT community pass knowledge and perspective between generations? Unlike most minority groups, being born gay, bi, or trans does not necessarily mean you have gay, bi, or trans parents.

Charlie Rounds organizes intergenerational GLBT roundtables to help fill that gap. We will talk to him, as well as Minneapolis council member Phillipe Cunningham, a Minneapolis City Councilmember, who at a relatively young age has already become a leader in the GLBT community and beyond. 

There's Oil in Them...Prairies?

Maya Rao, Author of GREAT AMERICAN OUTPOST: Dreamers, Mavericks, and the Making of an Oil Frontier

Star Tribune journalist Maya Rao spent a year traveling across the North Dakota oil fields and boom towns. In her new book, she takes us to those towns that doubled or tripled in population in a matter of months, introduces us to migrant workers (mostly men) who came from near and far to work the oil fields, and what life was really like in the closest thing to a gold rush (and bust) in 21st Century America.

MN Legislature 2018

Mary Lahammer, Capitol Reporter and Anchor for TPT Almanac
Briana Bierschbach, Minnesota Legislative Reporter for MinnPost

The 2018 Minnesota Legislative session was predicted to be a carousel of egos. With no budget to pass, divided government, and a lame duck governor, many thought it the session would accomplish little but providing elected officials a chance to position themselves for elections this fall. Yet a few hot topics, including guns and school safety, as well as disabled Minnesota robot named LARS, has garnered some attention at the capitol and beyond. We asked two of Minnesota’s best capitol reporters for an update and what watch for in the rest of the session.

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey

Jacob Frey, Mayor of Minneapolis

After a grueling mayoral race, Minneapolis voters put Jacob Frey at the city’s helm. The campaign focused on housing affordability and access, community police relations, and wage and workplace reforms throughout the city. How is the new mayor tackling those issues and deciding priorities? Are weekly 10K runs now mandatory at City Hall?  

Simon Says: Vote!

Steve SimonMinnesota Secretary of State

The routine civic exercise of casting a ballot roused new questions in voters following the 2016 election. Talk of Russian trolls, targeted social media marketing, and even hacking of voter rolls have many wondering if the very practice of our democracy is under threat.

Sounds like great material for a comedy show.

And we asked Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon about. Simon is responsible for overseeing elections throughout Minnesota. He's currently running for re-election to the office. 

Senator Painter?

Richard PainterUniversity of Minnesota Law School, Potential U.S. Senate Candidate

Former George W. Bush White House ethics and University of Minnesota Law Professor Richard Painter announced in March that he is considering a run for the U.S. Senate.

Will he? If so, would he as a republican, a democrat, or an independent? Why would anyone want to leave Minnesota to go to Washington D.C. anyway? We asked him.

Where did Aldi Grocery Stores Go?

Dan DeBaun, Retail and Restaurant Reporter, Minneapolis St. Paul Business Journal

Changes in the grocery store market are nothing new in Minnesota–ask any former Red Owl customers. The recent pace of those changes have a lot of people wondering about the future of grocery stores in the Twin Cities. By buying Whole Foods, will Amazon dominate the market? Can Target make it in the groceries business? Why’s everyone so excited about Hy-Vee?

Miss DEEDs

Shawntera Hardy, Commissioner, Department of Employment and Economic Development

Minnesota’s Department of Employment and Economic Development is charged with growing the state’s economy, connecting citizens with jobs, and helping businesses grow. The woman at the helm is Shawntera Hardy, who previously worked in the state’s energy, healthcare, and transportation sectors. Earlier this year, Governor Dayton tasked DEED with answering Amazon’s call for proposals for a second headquarters. We talked with Commissioner Hardy about all of that, plus asked for résumé tips in the event this whole improv thing doesn’t work out.

Making Sense of the Census

Susan Brower, Minnesota State Demographer

Bob Tracy, Director of Public Policy and Communications, Minnesota Council on Foundations

No doubt you’ve already got your calendar marked for the decennial U.S. Census. As the Constitution mandates, every person in the United States will be counted in 2020. Or at least that’s the hope. There are already major concerns whether the federal government is adequately preparing for the upcoming census. We asked two local experts how the census actually works on the ground, and whether it’s a big deal if the count’s off by a few (million) people.

R2D2 Take the Wheel!

Frank Douma, State and Local Policy Program Director, Humphrey School of Public Affairs

A world of self-driving cars is right around the corner. Hopefully for the pedestrian on that corner, the car’s computer sensors will recognize him and not run him over. Adapting to autonomous vehicles poses ethical, logistical, cultural, and infrastructure questions that most people (let alone cities and states) have only begun to ponder. We talked with Frank Douma, the State and Local Policy Program Director for the Humphrey School of Public Affairs.

Walzing to the Governor's Mansion

Tim Walz, U.S. Representative and DFL Candidate for Governor

Peggy Flanagan, MN Representative and DFL Candidate for Lt. Governor
First elected to the U.S. House in 2006, Tim Walz has represented southern Minnesota in Washington for more than a decade. Now the former school teacher and Army National Guard veteran is running for governor. We asked what was better preparation for political office: serving in the military or teaching middle school?

A Manufactured Home is Where The Heart Is

Kevin Walker, Director of Business Development, North Country Cooperative Foundation

Miguel Otárola, Metro Reporter, Star Tribune

For many, mobile homes and trailer parks have a negative connotation–synonymous with low class and poverty. In reality, they have been the foundations of thriving communities, beloved by the people who call them home. They have also served as affordable places to live for individuals and families. Yet Minnesota has been losing mobile home parks, despite a continued demand. We talked with Kevin Walker, a regional leader on these issues about the need for this type of affordable housing, and with Miguel Otárola of the Star Tribune who has covered the loss of places for these homes.