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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 35 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 author, editor or co-author of ten 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, released in 2015. She is a three-time winner of the Minnesota Book Award. Lori lives in St. Paul with her husband; they have three grown children. Follow @sturdevant.
Recent content from Lori Sturdevant
A day of big events, and one on which to ponder big goals

A day of big events, and one on which to ponder big goals

Football, the State Fair — and maybe a future World Expo, right here in our state.
Not even business support delivers light rail

Not even business support delivers light rail

And it won't, with this GOP, until campaign money hinges on it.
A former Minnesota high court justice steps into politics, on purpose

A former Minnesota high court justice steps into politics, on purpose

Why? Because the Merrick Garland nomination is still in limbo.

In northern Twin Cities exurbs, four GOP legislators are getting tested from the right

No schadenfreude, please: There's policy on the line.

Is it Phyllis Kahn being challenged, or her age?

The assessment is up to the electorate, which doesn't always prize experience.
Hillary Clinton is getting no quarter on behalf of equality

Hillary Clinton is getting no quarter on behalf of equality

What's behind that? Perhaps it's the evolution of the women's movement.
Party convention season: Voters just can't help falling in love with a familiar face

Party convention season: Voters just can't help falling in love with a familiar face

It wasn't always this way. But now we've had Reagan, Ventura, Franken, Page, Grams …
Minnesota GOP needn't bow to Trump 'unity'

Minnesota GOP needn't bow to Trump 'unity'

Guidance for races down the ballot can be found in tactics used in 1964's campaign.
The perils of being a House speaker

The perils of being a House speaker

Especially one with ambitions, when the Legislature has unfinished business.
Minnesota as 'Brainpower State': Exit interview with an expert

Minnesota as 'Brainpower State': Exit interview with an expert

The big question: Why has higher ed slipped as a shared priority among Minnesotans?
Back to the drawing board for Twin Cities transit funding

Back to the drawing board for Twin Cities transit funding

This time without the one-county burden.
On what will we weigh Minnesota legislators this November?

On what will we weigh Minnesota legislators this November?

National elections (Trump? Clinton?) usually drive state results. But, but, but …
Watch that turnover in the Minnesota Legislature

Watch that turnover in the Minnesota Legislature

Experience matters, and thus, so does legislator pay.
Gas tax? User fee? The name could make all the difference

Gas tax? User fee? The name could make all the difference

Perhaps the state could also be versatile on funding tools.
At Minnesota Legislature, a political point is made, at some cost

At Minnesota Legislature, a political point is made, at some cost

Hearing on fetal-tissue research made enough noise to matter to Minnesota.
The 2016 campaign: A game of 'what if?' in the presidential race

The 2016 campaign: A game of 'what if?' in the presidential race

Ranked-choice voting might have moderated the campaign.

In Minnesota's Third Congressional District, things have changed

Enough for a legislator to try again for Congress, even against an incumbent.

MnSCU could do worse than another Steven Rosenstone

The chancellor, who'll retire next year, knows what the state needs to thrive.

St. Paul soccer stadium, state tax bill are intertwined

Soccer plan is modest, but there's a larger obstacle.
Rewarding, punishing: Words that describe caregiving

Rewarding, punishing: Words that describe caregiving

Good public policy would make a common struggle easier for Minnesotans.

A presidential primary in Minnesota? Done it; here's the history

In Minnesota, it's something that's come with demand and gone after folks didn't like the results. It's probably coming back.
A Minnesota bonding bill's best hope is as legislator's last legacy

A Minnesota bonding bill's best hope is as legislator's last legacy

A sense of collaboration looks elusive. Enter LeRoy Stumpf on his way out.

Minnesota's legislative session opens on an urban-rural divide

In this battle, symbolism is as important as the policies being produced.
Jobs, jobs, jobs? Minnesota has 'em, but it needs more workers

Jobs, jobs, jobs? Minnesota has 'em, but it needs more workers

This is a generational phenomenon, not the government drag some suggest.
Take it from R.T. Rybak: Leadership is sobering

Take it from R.T. Rybak: Leadership is sobering

The former mayor quickly learned the difference between campaigning and governing — between earning love and respect. It's a lesson that Tuesday's caucusgoers should keep in mind.
Paid leave for new parents is overdue

Paid leave for new parents is overdue

The workforce has changed dramatically, but policies are stuck in the past. That may be about to change in Minnesota.
Looking for a presidential parallel? Think 1968

Looking for a presidential parallel? Think 1968

Sanders-Clinton is not unlike McCarthy-Humphrey — and look how that turned out.
For Gov. Dayton, water quality agenda runs deep

For Gov. Dayton, water quality agenda runs deep

Buffer-bill bickering aside, the governor is not backing down on this — especially with Flint.
A voice of higher ed — Robert Bruininks — is pretty keen on early ed

A voice of higher ed — Robert Bruininks — is pretty keen on early ed

This will be a key topic again this year at the Legislature. Might a former U president be a source of sage advice?
A welcome return of drug-store democracy

A welcome return of drug-store democracy

New forum relaunches legendary discussion group. The first topic — the legacy of slavery — won't be timid.

Minnesota's elder taxpayers have clout. (Alas?)

Will they get political favors that would be better directed elsewhere?
Forget Nazi comparisons — find other ways to reject hateful speech

Forget Nazi comparisons — find other ways to reject hateful speech

Even in the rare case where it's warranted, there are better ways to counter ugly, fearmongering rhetoric.
As Duluth Mayor Don Ness takes his leave, a takeaway

As Duluth Mayor Don Ness takes his leave, a takeaway

He doesn't think his soft-sell style of politics would work on a broader stage. That's not to say civic involvement wasn't worth it.

Iron Range seeks empathy as it reinvents

There's a perception that the metro area doesn't understand.
How one state should function: Help wanted in Willmar, beyond

How one state should function: Help wanted in Willmar, beyond

The workforce is a key to Minnesota's future.
Success as a united state

Success as a united state

A history lesson in a 'one state' path to urban/rural prosperity
Ann Lenczewski's thoughts on taxes, after 17 years in the Legislature

Ann Lenczewski's thoughts on taxes, after 17 years in the Legislature

She's been a type of politician that doesn't come along often.
Leaders can learn much from looking beyond their horizon

Leaders can learn much from looking beyond their horizon

A series of exchanges between officials of Minnesota and Germany showed as much — but it's ending.
University of Minnesota faces a big moment in AD pick

University of Minnesota faces a big moment in AD pick

Many people will be watching to see how this plays out in terms of gender fairness.
Equal justice under the law isn't something that can be achieved halfheartedly

Equal justice under the law isn't something that can be achieved halfheartedly

Take it from a former county attorney, now looking back on his life — his actions and inaction.
St. Paul elections: The protest vote, this time around

St. Paul elections: The protest vote, this time around

St. Paul's school board and City Council are targets of an electoral message that is not new and not necessarily right, but that shouldn't be underestimated.
A variance in vision at Minneapolis City Hall

A variance in vision at Minneapolis City Hall

The Working Families Agenda has highlighted perhaps significant differences between DFLers. City Council Member Jacob Frey would take a more targeted approach.
The federal judiciary, hampered by that other branch of government

The federal judiciary, hampered by that other branch of government

Consider the example of Minnesota's own Judge Wilhelmina Wright.

An open seat in Congress? Tough sell.

Sure, there are people ready to run to replace U.S. Rep. John Kline. But there are also notables who aren't.

A fairer court system in Minnesota? Yes, with miles to go

Reflecting on the work of retiring Justice Alan Page and that of his predecessor Rosalie Wahl.
This year, Minnesota isn't an also-ran in president-picking

This year, Minnesota isn't an also-ran in president-picking

Consequently, residents can expect to receive more than the usual amount of attention from candidates — when they catch on.

What the State Fair tells us about Minnesota voters

They're excited about the likes of Trump and Sanders; here at home, it's all fine.
For Amy Klobuchar, if immigration then were like immigration now …

For Amy Klobuchar, if immigration then were like immigration now …

The senator reflects on family history and Minnesota's needs and nature.
Mille Lacs special session: Dayton angled, and legislators didn't bite

Mille Lacs special session: Dayton angled, and legislators didn't bite

Does inaction regarding Lake Mille Lacs indicate that they're losing their appetite for helping in time of trouble?

So this is what a full load of roadwork looks like

Well, it really needs to be done. But can it be funded in a way that eases the disruption?

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?
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