Daily Digest: Lawmaker faces calls to resign

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

1. Minnesota state Sen. Dan Schoen, DFL-St. Paul Park,  sexually harassed women involved in state politics, according to multiple women who have spoken to MinnPost.  The women describe behavior by Schoen that ranges from persistent and unwanted invitations to meet to physically grabbing a woman from behind. One woman, who asked to not be identified, said he sent her a photo of male genitalia via Snapchat. Schoen said in a subsequent statement that the allegations are “either completely false or have been taken far out of context,” but added an apology. DFL Senate Minority Leader Tom Bakk called for him to resign from his seat in the Legislature. “These victims’ allegations are sobering and disturbing. Sen. Schoen’s actions, even with additional context, were inappropriate and do not meet the standards for behavior of a state legislator.” (MinnPost)

2. Jacob Frey will be the next mayor of Minneapolis. The Minneapolis City Council member emerged Wednesday from a crowded field of contenders as the winner of Tuesday’s election — a contest in which the city’s ranked-choice voting system added to the drama. Frey, 36, grew up in northern Virginia. He moved to Minneapolis in 2009 to work as an attorney after first visiting the city in 2006 to run the Twin Cities Marathon. Frey put affordable housing among the key issues in his mayoral campaign, saying the city had lost 10,000 units of affordable housing in the last 15 years and needed a consistent solution. On Wednesday, he emphasized improving public safety and police-community relations. (MPR News)

3. The Minneapolis City Council will have several new faces next year, including some who unseated incumbents in close contests that stretched into Wednesday afternoon. The biggest upset happened in north Minneapolis’ Fourth Ward, where Phillipe Cunningham unseated 20-year incumbent and Council President Barb Johnson. Also on the North Side, Jeremiah Ellison unseated Council Member Blong Yang. Across the city, Jeremy Schroeder beat two-term Council Member John Quincy, winning a seat in south Minneapolis’ 11th Ward. Steve Fletcher won the Third Ward seat, fueled by voters’ second- and third-choice votes that put him ahead of challenger Ginger Jentzen. Council Member Alondra Cano also won another term. (Star Tribune)

4. Voters on Tuesday elected two transgender candidates to the Minneapolis City Council, marking the first such victories for transgender people in a major American city council race. Phillipe Cunningham is one of them. The other is Andrea Jenkins in Ward 8, which covers neighborhoods in south Minneapolis. “It’s a long game and we’re taking the long view,” said Jenkins, who won a four-way race with 73 percent of the vote. “This victory today, we’re going to celebrate, but we’re not going to rest on our laurels, we’re going to work as hard as we did getting elected when we’re in office.” (MPR News)

5. With a months-long budget dispute still unresolved, the Minnesota Senate is preparing to lay off its staff and shut down operations on Jan. 12, 2018. Senate Republicans have said their reserve funds will run out Dec. 1, as the result of Gov. Mark Dayton’s line-item veto last spring of operational money for the House and Senate. The matter remains tied up in the courts. Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, R-Nisswa, said Wednesday that a transfer of money from a separate legislative branch account would keep them in business until mid-January. Gazelka said the proposed transfer of just over $3 million needs approval from the Legislative Coordinating Commission. “We don’t take the suspension of operations of the Minnesota Senate lightly – this is not a game – but we really have no other choice today,” said Gazelka. (MPR News)

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