Daily Digest: Hitting the road to combat hate

Good morning. Get Monday started with your Daily Digest.

1. Ellison looks to combat bias crimes outside the metro. Victoria McWane-Creek, an African-American college administrator in Fergus Falls, Minn., recalled one of the more blatant acts of racism she encountered in the past year. Her family was preparing a Labor Day picnic when a group of white men shouted “hey n — — -” before speeding off in an SUV. “It’s not so much overt acts of racism, some folks face just an atmosphere and culture of society that reduces the humanity of the other,” she said. “Being whatever while black here is more difficult.” This month, in a classroom at the Minnesota State Community and Technical College, where she is the housing director, McWane-Creek had a literal seat at the table as Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison asked for ideas on how he could leverage his office to address incidents like hers. Facing a rising number of episodes of intolerance against immigrants and minorities, rural Minnesota is emerging as a key part of state officials’ search for solutions to hate and bias-motivated crime. (Star Tribune)

2. Did Klobuchar achieve what she needed in debate? A substantive approach, a blunt political argument and a memorable one-liner in the first Democratic presidential debate has kept Sen. Amy Klobuchar in the mix as the contest hurtles forward. The candidate from Minnesota, selling Midwestern electability and concrete progress in Washington, won positive but not effusive reviews from pundits for her Miami performance. “@amyklobuchar has good night,” Jennifer Palmieri, formerly a top media adviser to Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, posted on Twitter. With the Democratic field still packed, attention from the national media and good impressions among party insiders are vital to sustaining momentum. Klobuchar, who remains in low single digits in national polls, fell short of the kind of breakout moment achieved by rivals like Kamala Harris of California and Julián Castro of Texas. And a muddled answer to a question about black and Latino voters points to a continuing challenge for her candidacy. (Star Tribune)

3. Walz says more can be done to help cities. Before a crowd of lanyard-adorned officials gathered in Duluth Friday morning for the League of Minnesota Cities conference, Democratic Gov. Tim Walz largely celebrated the recent legislative session that he says did a lot of good for local governments. “I don’t think we should go around getting pats on the back for doing what we’re supposed to do,” he said, prompting applause in the crowded Lake Superior Ballroom at the DECC. “I will say if we measure ourselves against other states and the federal government, it is something we’re celebrating.” Local Government Aid is set to increase by $26 million, bringing it back to 2002 levels. The state payments that many cities depend on to balance their budgets and pay for essential services were cut in 2003 to balance the state budget. Asked what can be done to ensure the hundreds of small municipalities that do not receive Local Government Aid have the means to provide for their citizens, Walz said he’s open to looking at formula changes, again stressed the need for a gas tax increase and said he will be “aggressive” in seeking a bonding package next year. (Duluth News Tribune)

4. Hagedorn faces critics at Rochester town hall meeting. U.S. Rep. Jim Hagedorn encountered a restive crowd Friday during a Rochester town hall meeting. The first-term GOP congressman’s give-and-take with the audience elicited both angry outbursts from some and enthusiastic applause from others. The crowd did not fill up the hall, but it was still a decent-sized crowd for a Friday evening meeting. Rochester Area Chamber of Commerce President Kathleen Harrington, who served as moderator, occasionally had to admonish the crowd when it threatened to get too unruly. As Hagedorn discussed issues such as immigration and health care, the Mueller report and guns, critics would hold up colored sticky notes to signal their disapproval of what he said.  (Rochester Post Bulletin)

5. Congratulations are in order. Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan is engaged, with plans in the works for a low-key wedding before the year is up. Flanagan’s fiance, Tom Weber, proposed on Monday after a dinner in downtown St. Paul. “It was a very traditional, pull-out-the-ring proposal, but without any cannons, balloons or airplane writing in the sky,” Weber said, adding, “She was surprised.” Flanagan has worn the ring Weber gave her to public appearances. But the couple waited to announce their engagement until they could give word to close friends and family. Flanagan tweeted Sunday morning that she is “so excited to spend the rest of my life with this man. We’re engaged and I’m over the moon.” (MPR News)

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