The Digest returns from a long holiday weekend with some of the political stories you may have missed.
1. Higher office on Klobuchar’s mind. U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar says she is “still thinking about” running for president in 2020. The Minnesota Democrat was on ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos” on Sunday morning to discuss a variety of issues including climate change, immigration reform and the possibility of a government shutdown. When asked about a possible 2020 presidential bid, she replied: “Right now I am just still thinking about this, talking to people.” (MPR News)
2. Some things stay the same. Gov.-elect Tim Walz said there is a “strong possibility” that some top members of Gov. Mark Dayton’s administration will remain on the job when he takes office in January, at least temporarily. Walz told MPR News on Friday that he wants to ensure that there are no gaps in critical roles, particularly public safety and state finance-related posts. Walz has yet to name any of the roughly two dozen agency commissioners who will help run the executive branch. “We’re leaving that process open for people to apply until the 7th of December. I’m out encouraging people. I’ll be going around the state this week encouraging people to serve Minnesota to come in,” Walz said. “Then that will start reducing down to the numbers and then I will be doing the interviews with finalists. So I hope we will have some names coming out early to mid December.” (MPR News)
3. A renewed renewables agenda at the state Capitol? Other states have enacted much more aggressive goals than Minnesota’s, which when passed 11 years ago made the state a national leader. And with the DFL gaining control of the Minnesota House in November’s election as well as retaining the governorship, expect to hear plenty of debate about energy in the upcoming Minnesota legislative session. DFL legislators are likely to put up a raft of clean-power bills, including mandates for more wind and solar energy. “The House change makes a huge difference,” said Anderson, a former DFL legislator. Also, clean energy and environmental groups — spurred by an increasing urgency over climate change — are pushing for more aggressive movements away from coal. (Star Tribune)
4. Craig joins female congressional wave. Democrat Angie Craig became part of a historic election night when she and a record number of women won seats in Congress. When the next Congress is sworn in January, at least 123 of the members will be women. The wave of women swept into power were seen by many as a pushback against President Trump and what critics saw as his denigrating and demeaning remarks of women. Craig, a one-time business executive who will be representing Minnesota’s 2nd District, said what happened on election night reflected what she has witnessed in the business world: When qualified women run, more often than not they will win. “The truth of the matter is, the more women who run, the more women will win,” Craig said. “After 2016, the chaos of the last couple of years (prompted) a lot of well-qualified women to step off the sidelines and get involved in politics.” (Rochester Post Bulletin)
5. Necessity defense trial in Duluth. The topic of climate change wound its way into District Court in Duluth last month, and now a judicial referee is deciding whether or not a trio of protesters was justified in shutting down a local bank earlier this year in the name of environmental defense. Scot Bol, Ernesto Burbank and Michael Niemi had their case argued before Referee John Schulte in October and a decision could come any day. Bol and the others referred to themselves as water protectors, and called for Wells Fargo to divest itself from fossil fuels and Enbridge Energy, in particular. Enbridge is on target to build a new Line 3 oil pipeline replacement through Minnesota.The case is unique in that the defendants are employing the necessity defense — arguing that their illegal actions were less harmful than following the law. (Duluth News Tribune)