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Lori Sturdevant

Editorial writer and columnist | Newsroom
phone: 612-673-4505
Lori Sturdevant writes editorials and a weekly column about topics she has covered for more than 30 years, state government and politics. She joined the Minneapolis Tribune as a summer replacement reporter in 1975, returned as a reporter in 1976, and was lead Capitol reporter and a newsroom assignment editor before joining the editorial staff in 1992. A native of South Dakota, Lori is a graduate of Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and a member of that institution’s Board of Trustees. She has been the editor or co-author of nine books, including “A Man’s Reach: The Autobiography of Elmer L. Andersen,” “Her Honor: Rosalie Wahl and the Minnesota Women’s Movement,” and “The Pillsburys of Minnesota.” Her latest book is “Citizen Swain: Tales of a Minnesota Life,” by Tom H. Swain, to be released in April 2015 by University of Minnesota Press. Lori lives in St. Paul with her husband; they have three grown children. Follow @sturdevant
Recent content from Lori Sturdevant

Minnesota's cities are well aware that something's missing

That would be local government aid, at a level that's useful.
Legislators come and sometimes go too soon

Legislators come and sometimes go too soon

The pay, combined with the logistics, make the role tough for those who aim to be citizens and not just professional pols.
Same-sex marriage ruling: Can a movement suffer from success?

Same-sex marriage ruling: Can a movement suffer from success?

It happened to the women's movement, more than once.
Minnesota is at the intersection of history, sensitivity

Minnesota is at the intersection of history, sensitivity

With State Capitol renovation comes the opportunity to revisit the images on display.
Hillary Clinton in Minnesota: Quiet, but coordinating

Hillary Clinton in Minnesota: Quiet, but coordinating

Support is dependable. Coattails are a bigger question.
How to guide a legislative session Daudtfully

How to guide a legislative session Daudtfully

Well, I’m doubtful about the perceived results, but others are a bit breathless about it.
Bakk's dealmaking this year perturbed his caucus

Bakk's dealmaking this year perturbed his caucus

It boils down to resolving budgets and policy matters simultaneously.
Minnesota's last-minute legislating makes a mess of things

Minnesota's last-minute legislating makes a mess of things

This year’s victim is the state auditor. It doesn’t have to be this way.

The elements of an E-12 deal for Minnesota are present

The School Readiness program could be the catalyst in special-session discussions.
Lori Sturdevant: Legislature's work impeded by Capitol's reconstruction

Lori Sturdevant: Legislature's work impeded by Capitol's reconstruction

Usual patterns of lawmaking interaction were disrupted this year — and next year could be worse.

Minnesota's debate on universal preschool exposes differences

A breakthrough, in that it was on the table. A rift, however, in terms of execution.

Lori Sturdevant: Unfulfilled policy dreams can return next year

If Dayton makes good on his veto threat, education will be added to a growing 2016 Legislature agenda.

Lori Sturdevant: Legislature's dealmakers shouldn't squeeze out mental health improvements

Some state spending saves lives and money down the line.

Lori Sturdevant: University voices plead for state funding boost

If the Legislature does not aid the whole U of M system, the Board of Regents is bound to be tempted to exercise its constitutional autonomy.

Lori Sturdevant: What really is so special about $40 billion?

Pop quiz: How big is the state’s biennial budget? I bet your answer was “I don’t know.” Don’t count yourself ill-informed.

Lori Sturdevant: Duluth local government aid cuts are a rotten precedent

Republican-proposed cuts in local government aid are a poor precedent — and Duluth is a terrible target.
Minnesota's bridges are still out there, aging

Minnesota's bridges are still out there, aging

Of particular concern is infrastructure essentially untouched in 40 years.
It's a Minnesota party role reversal on nursing home funding

It's a Minnesota party role reversal on nursing home funding

House Republicans want to spend, and Senate DFLers want to bargain.
Senate office building: This space coming soon, with vacancy

Senate office building: This space coming soon, with vacancy

The new Senate office building could accommodate its opponents in 2016. Or, they could choose the costlier option.
It's not nice to mess with the Mother of MinnesotaCare

It's not nice to mess with the Mother of MinnesotaCare

But if you do change health policy — and Republicans want to — it would pay to involve an expert like former state Sen. Linda Berglin.
Sturdevant: At MnSCU, can 'Steven's project' be a shared goal?

Sturdevant: At MnSCU, can 'Steven's project' be a shared goal?

The path forward, now that the chancellor and faculty union are on speaking terms again.
Funding for disabled and long-term care? It's personal

Funding for disabled and long-term care? It's personal

That’s true for those it affects, and it’s true for a legislator with a proposal.
An ailing paid-leave bill and the ripples of good health

An ailing paid-leave bill and the ripples of good health

This legislation matters for all Minnesotans, not just those lacking employer empathy.
The State GOP on the surplus: A blunt, mixed message

The State GOP on the surplus: A blunt, mixed message

It depended on whether you were hearing from legislators or the party chair. So, about that …

Minnesota's road needs will continue after its wallet thins out

Do legislators rejoicing in a budget surplus have a plan if a gas tax increase is dead?

Minnesota budget surplus and the 'good old days'

Veteran legislators who watched the bubble burst are less likely to favor tax cuts today.

Could there be a raise even more overdue? Why, yes.

For what we call welfare. That one hasn't happened this century and then some.
Strengthening Minnesota's classrooms, with nary a punitive thought

Strengthening Minnesota's classrooms, with nary a punitive thought

Proposals aplenty this year, but one legislator is working to bridge the GOP-teachers union divide.

Dayton vs. Bakk: It's more than a sideshow

Public spat between DFL governor, Senate leader could set back legislative efforts in 2015.

The bias against vocational education

It needs to stop. Students and businesses can be well-served by -year degrees, apprenticeships.
Is Minnesota ready to go all in on early education?

Is Minnesota ready to go all in on early education?

The futures of young learners and of the state are intertwined on this issue.
Sen. Tomassoni should think again

Sen. Tomassoni should think again

Even if his new job isn't technically a conflict of interest, he may be recusing himself often.

The equalizing work of the 1970s is back on the agenda

These used to be called “women's issues” and were partly addressed starting in the 1970s. Today, the lingering needs are getting attention.

State GOP on transportation: Why hurry?

Early signals are that Dayton's $9 billion, 10-year funding proposal will face delaying tactics.

K-12 as we know it is on the move

The Legislature is quickly warming to ways to meld high school and higher education.
Minnesota in 2016: The year the Legislature stays home?

Minnesota in 2016: The year the Legislature stays home?

Well, there's talk about it. But maybe a short session is more realistic.
What Gov. Mark Dayton can crib from former Gov. Rudy Perpich

What Gov. Mark Dayton can crib from former Gov. Rudy Perpich

The former governor's second and third terms both offer valuable lessons.
Panel discussion: A wrinkle in the Minnesota workforce

Panel discussion: A wrinkle in the Minnesota workforce

We tend to think of the state’s population as consistently growing, but here’s the catch (and what thought leaders say we should do about it).
Kurt Daudt — the legislative doctor in the House?

Kurt Daudt — the legislative doctor in the House?

The incoming speaker is hinting at better procedures.
The lieutenant governship: A role ripe for a remaking

The lieutenant governship: A role ripe for a remaking

It's been a few decades since a Minnesota lieutenant governor had a clear role or obvious influence. Tina Smith, incoming, may be in a better position than most.

Will GOP find a way to repay voters in rural Minnesota?

Republicans control Minnesota House because of new outstate lawmakers.
How to get out the vote? (Keith Ellison demonstrates.)

How to get out the vote? (Keith Ellison demonstrates.)

The Fifth District representative has always done the hard work, door to door and more, and it shows.
A new kind of chaos takes hold at the Capitol

A new kind of chaos takes hold at the Capitol

Major renovation project will displace legislators and others for two years.
Presidential unpopularity trickles down to state races

Presidential unpopularity trickles down to state races

And not just for Obama, but almost every midterm. That's an important thing for Minnesota parties to know.

Minnesota's political divide: Urban, rural

Tuesday's vote was a tilt toward rural, but let's not overcorrect.

Divided government is rather like a winter's day

One can hope the gears will turn, but the reality is things are pretty frozen.
Incumbents Peterson, Nolan learn from Oberstar's defeat

Incumbents Peterson, Nolan learn from Oberstar's defeat

Collin Peterson (in the Seventh Congressional District) and Rick Nolan (in the Eighth) believe they’ll work through any headwinds to retain their seats.

As election years go, this is a rather quiet one

Why? Here’s a theory: Old issues have been resolved, and new ones are still being shaped.

In Edina, the politics realign with the people

This year's legislative race there is about moderates — the tried-and-true.
It's a midterm election, and one's thoughts turn to turnout

It's a midterm election, and one's thoughts turn to turnout

There are obstacles to voting, so it isn';t necessarily shiftlessness that leads to nonparticipation. Although it kind of is, sometimes.
Issues abound for woman presidential candidate

Issues abound for woman presidential candidate

More gender integration in Washington would be helpful to all — men and women.

Minnesota's strengths, from one get-together to another

The state's lessons on citizenship and governance can be found, for sake of example, at the State Fair.

Apprenticeship, by any name, is a workable idea

Under a new project, Minnesota will give it a go.

The War of 1812, by any name, was pivotal for Minnesota

Did you know that? Here's your chance to become better acquainted with history.

The future sans the government Santas: Will anyone try to map it?

The era of government “gifts” may be over, but not the era of government revenue growth. Senate hopefuls, your visions?
Steering the State Capitol on Tom Bakk time

Steering the State Capitol on Tom Bakk time

The Senate majority leader isn’t facing an election. Perhaps that explains his strategies. Perhaps there’s more to it. With the senator from Cook, it isn’t always easy to tell.
Ortman: Seeking a Senate nomination the old-fashioned way — rung by rung

Ortman: Seeking a Senate nomination the old-fashioned way — rung by rung

Julianne Ortman hasn't gone quiet for the sake of safety. She's still building her political career.
Caring for frail elders? Not a workplace priority just yet

Caring for frail elders? Not a workplace priority just yet

That part of family responsibility got quite the cold shoulder from State Capitol lobbyists this year.
At State Capitol, a billion-dollar discipline won't house the homeless

At State Capitol, a billion-dollar discipline won't house the homeless

The cap on state bonding (in a time of low interest rates, at that) leaves needs unfilled.
All are not aboard for Minnesota's transportation bill

All are not aboard for Minnesota's transportation bill

Most critically, the Chamber of Commerce isn't. Here's its thinking — and mine.
Nancy Brataas helped build the state GOP

Nancy Brataas helped build the state GOP

Before serving in Legislature, she helped build a machine that won gubernatorial elections.
Progress, past and present, for women

Progress, past and present, for women

The debate over Minnesota’s Women’s Economic Security Act illuminates the issue.

Minnesotans are on the job, but overqualified for what's available

A political party stands to gain if it can truly help the state's workers meet their aspirations.

The Great State Capitol Office Space Debate, Part One

It's an easy target for Republicans. Come to think of it, they have practice at this.
Greater Minnesota broadband: An energizing effort

Greater Minnesota broadband: An energizing effort

It’s not a twin to the last century’s rural electrification, but it’s a close sibling.
This will be our state's 'undoing'

This will be our state's 'undoing'

That’s what you could say about Gov. Mark Dayton’s agenda, and it would be a compliment. How the ‘Unsession’ came to be.
The right-wing litmus test, part two: Judges

The right-wing litmus test, part two: Judges

A legislator who failed the first such test — same-sex marriage — should consider “flunking” again.

The art of a bonding bill, for a legislative minority

The 1995 experience can be a guide for Republicans this year.
Don Fraser: The former mayor still strives to improve kids' lives

Don Fraser: The former mayor still strives to improve kids' lives

Poverty is a key problem, and it's not an easy one to solve.
Mayo Clinic updates its model for the modern age

Mayo Clinic updates its model for the modern age

These days, it takes volume to make the numbers work. How to do that while keeping the focus on the patient?

Even in Minnesota, politics runs in families

We’re too modest to confess an affinity for ‘dynasty.’ It’s not a bad thing anyway.
Caucuses vs. primaries? The thinking is evolving.

Caucuses vs. primaries? The thinking is evolving.

Republicans this year are likely to get the sort of hybrid that’s familiar to DFLers.
The parties and their perils: The internal for a DFL legislative seat

The parties and their perils: The internal for a DFL legislative seat

In District 60B, currently represented by Phyllis Kahn, age, ambition and pioneering zeal are at issue.
Heaps of repairs are needed at the U and MnSCU

Heaps of repairs are needed at the U and MnSCU

To modernize, higher educators are daydreaming about getting off the bonding bill roller-coaster.
Marijuana is on the move: What, then, for Minnesota?

Marijuana is on the move: What, then, for Minnesota?

Medical usage is the only change being actively promoted. That strategy may lag the populace.
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