Don Davis has been the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau chief since 2001, covering state government and politics for two dozen newspapers in the state. Don also blogs at Capital Chatter on Areavoices.
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The announcement will be carried on all Forum Communication websites. U.S. Sen. Al Franken will address the Senate at 10:45 a.m. Central time today with what many say will be his resignation after sexual misconduct allegations.
WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Al Franken's political friends want and expect him to resign. The Minnesota Democrat plans a Thursday, Dec. 7, announcement in Washington that many political leaders expect to produce his resignation as accusations of sexual misconduct multiply.
ST. PAUL — The economy remains strong, but a new report indicates Minnesotans should not be overly confident. The Tuesday, Dec. 5, budget forecast, which state leaders release twice a year, showed a $188 million deficit out of a $46 billion, two-year budget. The forecast was based on economic predictions that contained a lot of uncertainties. State leaders were happy with what the 73-page report said about the economy.
ST. PAUL — Tuesday, Dec. 5 is a big day, at least under the Minnesota Capitol dome. It actually will be big stuff for all Minnesotans, but they barely will notice. On Tuesday comes the first of two "budget forecasts" in the next few months. It may be a ho-hum moment for many, but the two announcements are key to how much money state officials will have available to spend for the rest of the current budget cycle.
An Army veteran from Ohio says U.S. Sen. Al Franken cupped her breast in 2003. Stephanie Kemplin, 41, told CNN about a USO tour photo opportunity in Kuwait in which she said the Minnesota Democrat reached around her and touched her breast. She is the fifth woman to accuse Franken of sexual misconduct.
The deck is stacked against the development of housing for the workforce in greater Minnesota. Private developers prefer to build in the Twin Cities and other large communities. They see higher risks in greater Minnesota, largely because many of the areas short of housing rely on one or two major employers. If one closes to cuts back, it may be hard or impossible to collect enough rent to make a profit.
PERHAM, Minn.—More than 70 percent of people who work in Perham commute to the picturesque community of 3,000. If affordable housing were available in town, more workers in the community's factories could live close. But as it stands, booming Perham is one of Minnesota's most often used examples of the lack of workforce housing. "Perham is sort of the little engine that could," state Housing Commissioner Mary Tingerthal said. "Jobs just keep coming."
ALEXANDRIA, Minn.—Businesses in communities short of housing commonly donate money to build apartments, or help employees buy homes, but a central Minnesota meatpacker bought an entire apartment building to shelter some of its new employees. Long Prairie Packing, part of the Wisconsin-based American Foods Group, bought an old apartment building in Alexandria three years ago mostly for new workers. "We can bring people to the area, get them settled in their jobs," American Foods' President Steven Van Lannen said.
ST. PAUL — The story is that greater Minnesota loses population because there are not enough jobs. However, many greater Minnesota communities actually have plenty of jobs, leaving areas short of housing for workers that businesses and industries need. Some industries have resorted to busing in workers and some have helped finance housing in an effort to attract workers. It is a story most Minnesotans do not know, but one that keeps city and business leaders awake at night. Some experts guess that up to 7,500 new homes are needed, but no one really knows.
ST. PAUL -- A former Minnesota woman says U.S. Sen. Al Franken grabbed her buttocks while her husband was taking their photo at the 2010 Minnesota State Fair. Lindsay Menz, who now lives in Texas, said on Twitter: "In August 2010, @alfranken grabbed me while taking a photo together at the Minnesota State Fair. I felt violated & embarrassed." Tweeting to radio host Leeann Tweeden, she added: "I 100% believe your account of him & his actions, ... Thank you for sharing your story."