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.

Erin Murphy: Nurse... State Representative... Governor?

Erin Murphy, State Representative and DFL Candidate for Governor    

Born in Wisconsin, State Representative Erin Murphy made a major upgrade more than 30 years ago by moving to St. Paul, Minnesota. She worked as a nurse at the University of Minnesota Hospital as part of a transplant team. In 2005, she ran for state house and won. Earlier this year, she announced her candidacy for governor. We’ll ask her about her background, her proposals for the state’s future, and to look at this weird bump on our foot...

Beyond the One Room Schoolhouse

Ed Graff, Superintendent of Minneapolis Public Schools
Joe Gothard, Saint Paul Superintendent

New leaders have taken the helm at both the Minneapolis and St. Paul school districts in just the past year. Ed Graff and Joe Gothard have signed up for one of the toughest and most important jobs out there. They are responsible for shaping school districts that serve tens of thousands of children from diverse ethnic, racial, socioeconomic, and cultural backgrounds. A stubborn achievement gap between white students and students of color has frustrated educational leaders before. Bring your Number 2 pencils (and promise not to throw them at us) for this important show on public education in the Twin Cities.

Painter's Ethics

Richard Painter, White House Ethics Lawyer for George W. Bush

What does a former White House ethics lawyer from a republican administration think of the Trump administration? As a veteran of the George W. Bush White House, Richard Painter has become the one of the most prominent voices arguing for transparency and accountability in the new administration. He’s talked with Rachel Maddow and Anderson Cooper. Last October he talked with us. 

Mayorapolis: Nekima Levy-Pounds

We're interviewing all the major candidates for Mayor in Minneapolis so you don't have to!

Nekima Levy-Pounds – A former law professor, civil rights attorney, and blogger, Nekima Levy-Pounds has been working for social and racial justice in Minnesota and beyond for years. She also previously served as the president of the Minneapolis NAACP.

The conversation with Levy-Pounds touched on how her approach to engaging and convening citizens would differ from previous mayors, how she would aim to shrink or close the wealth and opportunity gaps in the city, and her views on hand-holding. 

Mayorapolis: Raymond Dehn

We're interviewing all the major candidates for Mayor in Minneapolis so you don't have to!

Raymond Dehn – Representative Raymond Dehn is in his third term Minnesota House. He represents District 59B which includes parts of Downtown and North Minneapolis. He is trained as and worked for many years as an architect.

Our conversation with Dehn covered his proposals for increasing affordable housing options in the city, elaborating on his statements about de-militarizing the police, and whether or not listeners of this podcast should get two votes. 

Mayorapolis: Betsy Hodges

We're interviewing all the major candidates for Mayor in Minneapolis so you don't have to!

Betsy Hodges – Incumbent mayor Betsy Hodges is running for a second term leading Minneapolis. Before being elected mayor in 2013, she served as council woman for Ward 13.

We talked with Hodges about the “Complete Streets” policy adopted during her first term, what she learned from the protest and occupation of the 4th Precinct, and the importance of making conversation with toddlers.

Mayorapolis: Jacob Frey

We're interviewing all the major candidates for Mayor in Minneapolis so you don't have to!

Jacob Frey – Council member Jacob Frey is finishing his first term representing Ward 3 in Minneapolis. He began his career as a professional runner, competing for the USA in the Pan American Games. He moved to Minneapolis, began a law career Faegre & Benson (now Faegre Baker Daniels) and then Halunen & Associates.

Our talk with Frey covered his plans to bring more affordable housing to every part of the city, how he would like to reform police training in the city, and how we could build a moat of parking lots around the city.

Mayorapolis: Tom Hoch

We're interviewing all the major candidates for Mayor in Minneapolis so you don't have to!

Tom Hoch – A lifelong resident of Minneapolis, Hoch served as president of the Hennepin Theater Trust until 2016. He is also a past board chair of the Minneapolis Downtown Council and Downtown Improvement District.

We asked Hoch about how his aim to raise Minneapolis’s national profile, his proposal to increase arrest rates for violent crimes by 10%, and what he’d tell neighborhood organizations about up-zoning and more density.

Mayorapolis: Aswar Rahman

We're interviewing all the major candidates for Mayor in Minneapolis so you don't have to!

Aswar Rahman – At just 23 years old, filmmaker and entrepreneur Aswar Rahman is the youngest candidate for Minneapolis mayor. His passion and detailed positions on a wide range of policy issues has won him consideration among a field of well-seasoned contenders.

We talked with Rahman about the city budget, how he’d use the authority of mayor in regard to hiring and firing of police officers, and whether he’d defend a city minimum wage increase he’s long opposed.