Good morning and welcome to Wednesday. Here’s the Digest.

1. Police reform is suddenly at the forefront of the race for mayor in Minneapolis, after an officer shot and killed Justine Damond, who had called 911 to report a possible sexual assault in the alley behind her home. Candidates for mayor, a job directly responsible for the police department, are scrambling to explain to voters how they will change the Minneapolis Police Department and prevent civilian deaths at the hands of cops. (Star Tribune)

2. Farmers in the Midwest are at a crossroads. They face growing global demand and price pressures. But it’s happening at a time of heightened expectations for environmental stewardship and a climate marked by heavy rains, long dry spells and an expanded growing season. And that has more people seeking locally grown food with the health of the planet front-and-center. (MPR News)

3. After former governors Jesse Ventura and Tim Pawlenty complained about the informational notes that appear with their portraits in the state Capitol, changes are in the works. “We’re looking at the concerns, and we’re trying to decide what warrants an edit and what doesn’t. But we’re open to all of the concerns at this point,” said Jessica Kohen, spokeswoman for the Minnesota Historical Society. One specific change is the removal of a quote attributed to Ventura that he says was actually spoken by someone else. Kohen said all of the biographies were either written or reviewed by independent historians to ensure they were neutral and balanced. She expects a final decision to be made on the biographies by next week so the up-to-date placards will be ready in time for the Minnesota Capitol’s Grand Opening Celebration Aug. 11 to 13. (Rochester Post Bulletin)

4. After boycotting the Forest Service’s public hearing in St. Paul last week, copper-mining supporters packed a public hearing in Virginia on Tuesday evening. It was standing-room only on the auditorium floor of Virginia High School, the crowd overflowing into the auditorium’s balcony, with many supporters wearing pro-mining T-shirts, hats and stickers. Speaking to loud applause from the audience at times, many of the supporters said that copper mining will be regulated for safety and that responsible mining can coexist with responsibility for the environment. Supporters also pointed out that the Iron Range is home to both mining operations and some of the cleanest lakes in the state. (Duluth News Tribune)

5. Minnesota’s two U.S. senators voted with all other Democrats against the Senate debating a federal health care law rewrite Tuesday, July 25, pleading to allow the two parties to work together, and a former Republican senator agreed with them. “We can still stop this,” Sen. Amy Klobuchar declared shortly after the vote. “We can still put aside partisanship and instead work together on bipartisan solutions, like lowering the cost of prescription drugs and strengthening the exchanges.”  Sen. Al Franken Tuesday morning called for Democrats and Republicans to work together, but was tough on the GOP after the vote. “Let’s be very clear about what just happened: In defiance of a majority of Americans, Senate Republicans have set in motion a dangerous and destructive process that could result in millions of people losing their insurance coverage, the destruction of Medicaid as we know it, and the elimination of nationwide protections for people with pre-existing conditions,” Franken said. (Forum News Service)

Good morning and happy Tuesday. Here’s the Digest.

1. Most people find the shooting death of an unarmed yoga instructor by Minneapolis police to be incomprehensible. But some cops on patrol say the circumstances of the shooting, an officer poised to fire in the dark from a car seat, aren’t uncommon. And some experts say they aren’t surprised to hear that police officers are responding to seemingly routine calls with their guns drawn. (MPR News)

2. Before Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor shot Justine Ruszczyk through the open driver’s side window of his squad car, a woman had approached the back of the patrol car and “slapped” it, according to a court document filed Monday.  A search warrant was filed by Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension investigators to look at the area where the shooting happened and gather evidence as part of the investigation. “Upon police arrival, a female ‘slaps’ the back of the patrol squad,” according to the search warrant. “After that, it is unknown to BCA agents what exactly happened, but the female became deceased in the alley.” (MPR News)

3. Former Minnesota Republican Party Chair Keith Downey entered the 2018 race for governor Monday, attempting to convert connections he built during four years at the helm into support in an increasingly crowded field. Downey, 56, filed paperwork to begin building out a campaign and raising money. The business consultant and former state legislator from Edina left his leadership post at the party in April. Downey joins a field of eight Republicans who have announced so far, with more testing the waters before deciding if they’ll get in. Downey said he’s got the background and skill set to break out of the pack. (MPR News)

4. Faced with a ballooning deficit and following months of emotional debate, a Metropolitan Council committee recommended Monday that fares for most types of transit service in the metro area increase by 25 cents. The full council won’t vote until Wednesday on whether to raise fares, but it is expected to approve the move. Should that occur, the hike would go into effect Oct. 1. The recommendation came despite widespread opposition among local transit passengers. “This is a tough issue, a tough vote,” said Transportation Committee Chairwoman Katie Rodriguez. (Star Tribune)

5. The Minneapolis City Council is considering a proposal to restrict sales of menthol tobacco products to adult-only tobacco shops. While public health advocates pushed for the restrictions at a packed public hearing — arguing that tobacco companies target black smokers and young people with menthol products — Minneapolis store owners said it’s the latest example of City Hall overreach and would devastate their livelihoods. The City Council heard from dozens of speakers Monday in packed council chambers and is expected to vote on the policy next month. (Star Tribune)

Former Republican Party Chairman Keith Downey talks after filing paperwork to run for governor in 2018. Brian Bakst | MPR News

Former Minnesota Republican Party Chair Keith Downey entered the 2018 race for governor Monday, attempting to convert connections he built during four years at the helm into support in an increasingly crowded field.

Downey, 56, filed paperwork to begin building out a campaign and raising money. The business consultant and former state legislator from Edina left his leadership post at the party in April.

Downey joins a field of eight Republicans who have announced so far, with more testing the waters before deciding if they’ll get in. Downey said he’s got the background and skill set to break out of the pack.

“I know where the issues are. I know how to tackle them. I know how to get it done. And I think I have a track record in business, in the Legislature and as state party chair of really getting things done,” he said. “We need results, not excuses, and that’s what I intend to run on.”

The race is wide open because Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton isn’t seeking a third term. National Republicans see it as an opportunity to give their party total control of another Capitol in a state where that hasn’t happened in more than a half-century.

Among the top contenders on the GOP side so far: Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson, the party’s 2014 nominee; state Rep. Matt Dean, a former House majority leader; and Ramsey County Commissioner Blake Huffman. Several sitting lawmakers, including House Speaker Kurt Daudt, are giving the race a hard look.

Hanging over the 2018 campaign is the political uncertainty caused by Republican President Donald Trump, who is adored by his base but has watched his approval rating nationally sink. Trump came close to putting Minnesota in his column last year.

Downey said Trump’s ability to muscle his agenda through will have a bearing on the election-year mood of voters. So far, Trump has hit roadblocks on his desire for a health care overhaul and limited action on tax and immigration proposals.

“If we’re having some success out there, I think people of Minnesota will look at it and say these are the types of things Trump has elected on, those are the things he has obviously continued to fight for as president and those are positive thing we think should come to Minnesota,” Downey said.

Because of his party role, Downey was neutral during the 2016 presidential primaries but was full-square behind Trump once he secured the nomination. He said Trump was a disruptive force who drew new voters into the Republican fold.

“We have welcomed them in, we’ve welcomed their participation and their voice in what we’re doing,” he said. “Any race in Minnesota is going to have to consider that voice and those people and what they’re looking for from their government and from their politics.”

Despite being a Republican Party insider, Downey distanced himself from that label.

“I’ve always been a bit of an outsider in politics and when I was in the Legislature I had a very strong legislative record of trying to reform government and really fix it and really position our state for the future,” he said.

Downey served two terms in the Minnesota House beginning in 2009 and made a name for himself by trying to reel in pensions and benefits for state employees. He said proposals to shrink government and “get it off of peoples’ backs and make it more effective” would be among those he’d purse as governor.

He ran for state Senate in 2012 but came up short. He was elected party chairman in 2013.

Downey’s time in charge isn’t without controversy. In fact, state Rep. Kelly Fenton, who was deputy chair under Downey initially, took to Twitter on Monday to blast the former GOP boss. She questioned his track record of electoral wins — no statewide candidate has been elected since 2006 — and doubted his chances.

“His own district voted against him for Senate, what would be his path to victory for governor?” Fenton tweeted.

Downey struck back at Fenton, calling her “bitter” and suggested she held a grudge for a pay cut she took in the deputy position.

“When you drain the swamp in politics, the establishment fights you tooth and nail,” he wrote on Twitter.