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Lori Sturdevant

Editorial writer and columnist | Newsroom
phone: 612-673-4505
Lori writes editorials and a weekly column about topics she has covered for more than 40 years, state government and politics. She's also a regular panelist on the Playing Politics podcast. Lori 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, ghostwriter or editor of 11 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 "When Republicans Were Progressive" by Dave Durenberger, to be released in September 2018. She is a three-time winner of the Minnesota Book Award. She is a three-time winner of the Minnesota Book Award. Lori lives in St. Paul with her husband; they have three grown children.
Recent content from Lori Sturdevant

Immigration and the Minnesota governor's race

For this state, it's a workforce issue. We need light, not heat.

Candidate filing gone wild in Minnesota: Was it the endorsement system's valediction?

What to make of DFL's several wide-open races.

At Minnesota's Un-Convention, bipartisan groups tack toward the center

A sense that partisanship is now so extreme that it poses a risk to the republic may have spurred turnout.

Questions for candidates in Minnesota's 2018 campaign

On legislative effectiveness, the rural-urban divide and much more.

U regent selection was distorted by abortion politics

The vote did not seem to be about the good of the university.
Illustration

Minnesota's state universities will fuel the future. So … legislators?

Public higher education must not be neglected.

Questions about the Legislature? Answers here.

On its size, influences, vacancies, constitutional obligations and more.

Minnesota's Eighth is a much-changed congressional district

It embodies many political and social trends and worries. A look at some numbers:
State Rep. Paul Thissen on Tuesday, when he was introduced as the newest Minnesota Supreme Court justice, replacing David Stras.

The 'how' of passing legislation in Minnesota: Still a mess

Longtime legislator Paul Thissen, on his way to the state Supreme Court, had some thoughts about this.

The Pawlenty advantage: In governor's race, he's known

Governor's race has strong field, but how many know that?
Lobbyist Sue Abderholden (middle) at the Legislature in 2017. Her task list this year has expanded.

There's extra policy pressure this year at the Minnesota Legislature for mental health

This might have been a quieter year for this topic than it's turned out to be.

New generation enters rough-and-tumble of politics in Minnesota, and impresses

Whether the old generation is ready to receive them is another question.

Ending poverty in Minnesota is behind schedule. A Republican plan wouldn't help.

A fair summation of proposed Medicaid work requirement: First, do harm.
“There are all kinds of ways that this creates a bad situation. It’s going to be hard … to protect lower- and middle-income families.” -- Nan

State-level tax changes: Minnesota's key players are in place

Following federal reform, Minnesota's concerns are business-friendliness and equity to all income levels.

Guns and public safety: Legislators are people, too — and sometimes an issue just hits home

Is this time really different? At the Capitol, signs of hope.
Republican state Sen. Carla Nelson, of Rochester, mingled with supporters after announcing her candidacy for the First Congressional District seat in

Candidates who switch capitols are rarer these days

A good test of whether voters like their congressional candidates legislatively seasoned will come in Minnesota's First District this year.
Gov. Rudy Perpich in 1989. The bulk of his time in office came after a four-year stint away.

How a Minnesota governor could get a sequel

Tim Pawlenty seems to have an itch for it. But Rudy Perpich provides the model.
The Met Council has grown into a highly effective, award-winning provider of public infrastructure and services. It also grew into a political footbal

Met Council is another of Minnesota's miracles

Our success is a regional story — at risk of an unhappy ending.

A wave of women on Minnesota ballots — one side, mostly

#MeToo brings a lineup of special-election hopefuls.
Ted Kolderie, author of the memoir/history/policy book “Thinking Out the How.”

Good policymaking still has a chance — at the state level

That's where innovation is most likely, bringing federalism full circle.

Immigration has a business case in Minnesota — and a faith case

For starters, the state's shortage isn't in jobs but in workers.
Tina Smith entered the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday.

U.S. Sen. Tina Smith begins a delicate balancing act

She can't afford to alienate Franken's supporters but will be expected to lead on women's issues.
Sen. Al Franken addresses the Senate.

Minnesota Dems might have stood by Franken; the D.C crowd would not

The Minnesota senator's fall is confirmation that the culture has shifted toward respect and dignity.

Minnesotans, don't forget about the tax bill

Franken news is just one of the big things going on.
Steve Cramer, president and CEO of the Minneapolis Downtown Council, spoke about Nicollet Mall reconstruction in March as Mayor Betsy Hodges looked on

Can the Minneapolis DFL and business make it, after all?

They still have work to do together.
Early voting in downtown Minneapolis on Oct. 20: We’ll soon learn what happens to one-party towns in turmoil.

Political parties lose the melody

Their burgeoning bust-ups are a national trend, most evident locally with the DFL.

With Park Board, Minneapolis voters must resolve an intense generational struggle

New ideas this election at the cost of experience?

Guess what? Affordable housing is an election issue

Maybe that's no surprise. But "how to solve" is up for debate.

The new generation gap in Minnesota: It's a formative thing

Here's how it might play out in the upcoming elections.
Voters told exit pollsters in 2009 and 2013 that they’ve got the ranking of candidates down. It’s what happens in counting the votes that gets com

This third time around may be the charm for ranked-choice voting

This year’s Minneapolis city election is RCV 3.0, the third since 2009 to allow voters to rank their preferences in multicandidate races via ranked-choice…
The Minnesota chapter of NORML -- the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws -- hosted a six-hour "Cannabis Rise 420 Rally" at the Sta

Legal marijuana debate will light up 2018 campaign

A full-throated debate over full legalization in this state has seemed to be a question of when, not if.
U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) speaks as Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.), Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) listen during a news confe

Is Minnesota the victim of a dirty deal on health care?

It appears that the federal government was not the most reliable partner.

There's money to be made in renewables. Argument enough?

It's a "better argument for a Republican." Fair enough. But, those climate consequences are pretty compelling, too.

Bottineau (the other light-rail extension) has a champion in Mike Opat

Two proposed lines: one liked, one not — but just in case ...

Electric-car revolution spells (more) trouble for Minnesota's road funding

Legislature has laid at least some plans for motoring trends.
Gov. Mark Dayton

A bubbling cauldron of candidates, but Dayton still has the front burner

Ruling on funding veto will set the stage for the governor's final session.

Minneapolis, St. Paul property tax hikes shine light on lagging state aid

Looks like this fall's Minneapolis and St. Paul campaigns won't be just about policing after all. Not with property tax increase proposals shooting like Roman candles from mayoral offices last week.

There's no transit plan so needed, so far off that it can't find its foes

But needs are changing, and neighborhoods will, too.

Leaders in greater Minnesota have ongoing worry about unmet needs

Right track or wrong track? Wrong track, they say.
Tale of two cities: St. Paul police officer Antwan Denson responded to a call in late June.

Do Minneapolis, St. Paul differ in policing style?

There are differences in cop culture and civilian review, though that is evolving.
Dr. Penny Wheeler, Chief Clinical Officer at Allina Hospitals & Clinics.

In Minnesota, would home-grown health care cost containment have better odds?

Health care policy punt to states may be welcomed.

There's cause for concern about party role in democracy

Could no-party-endorsement trend reach the state level?
In our hot seat: Departing Met Council Chair Adam Duininck.

Hypotheticals: The Met Council edition

Imagine if it had always been an elected body. Would there be less partisan suspicion?

Can feminism's goals once again be bipartisan?

For women, the economic mission is yet to be accomplished.
NEAR-ASSASSINATION: Following a shooting last week during a congressional baseball practice in Virginia, residents gathered to pray.

As history shows, political violence is a wicked thief for a democracy

As I saw too many times when young, it steals the public's power to decide.

Minnesota's Supreme Court must come to the rescue

What's at stake in battle between the governor and the Legislature is not just politics, but the state's Constitution.
Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka was seen as crucial to keeping budget talks moving forward at a key point.

A new, problem-solving GOP leader, Paul Gazelka, has been session's bright spot

He's been a fine addition to the State Capitol triumvirate.

Are visionary Republicans history in our state?

A post-Watergate Minnesota GOP chairman has this advice: If there's chaos in Washington, keep it there. Put on an orderly show in St. Paul.
Gov. Mark Dayton discussed pending legislation on Friday. By that time, he had issued several vetoes and was threatening more.

Regarding vetoes: Dayton, a former goalie, learns to fully block the net

He used to be resigned to having some unwanted legislation get past him. No more.

Pile-on legislation is aplenty — and unconstitutional in Minnesota

Why legislators face a single-subject rule (which they ignore).
Swedish-American journalist Klas Bergman

With immigration in the glare, read about Minnesota's history

Especially if you have Nordic heritage, you'll like this book. But its value goes beyond that.
Revenue Commissioner Cynthia Bauerly is defending her department against a proposed $12 million cut in operating funds.

Minnesota Department of Revenue faces budget cuts. Wise?

This is, after all, the department that brings in the funds for Minnesota.
Minnesota’s Dave Durenberger led the Senate Intelligence Committee as the Iran-contra affair became news.

The art of investigating the president, from one who knows

How Minnesota's Dave Durenberger handled the developing news about the Iran-contra affair.
Wind’s economic power is stabilizing small towns near windy Buffalo Ridge in southwestern Minnesota. One can trace that back in part to moves made b

GOP spits into the wind on renewable energy

Carbon-free sources have momentum, thanks to visionary leadership of the past.
State Rep. Erin Murphy

Well, someone's gotta take on health care for Minnesotans

In Minnesota, that would be state Rep. Erin Murphy, a licensed nurse, who says: "You don't walk away from a patient who needs your attention."

Minnesota's renowned people power is waning

Examples abound. Will citizens get cynical or energized by this?
DFL State Rep. Paul Marquart has a key role this year.

In western Minnesota, a diminished DFL, and yet

The party has purpose and perhaps a chance in this session to show rural voters how it better meets their needs.

Citizens League may have refreshed role as regional arbiter

It would be a welcome revival of civic culture cultivation, if legislators buy in.

Attention to redistricting is particularly hot in Minnesota this year

It's all about the driver's seat.

Steve Sviggum's likely return to the Board of Regents? Copacetic.

Quick pick was needed for the board, and he's the guy.
Mark Erickson is economic development authority director of Winthrop, Minn. He’s also chair of the League of Minnesota Cities’ telecommunications

Broadband is still the missing link in rural Minnesota

Voters there may warm to politicians who can make things better on this front.
The Rev. Peg Chemberlin has led the local response to Trump’s directive.

Minnesota's faith communities speak with one voice on refugee issue

A critical mass unites against Trump policy.
Gov. Mark Dayton (here with senior adviser Bob Hume, Lt. Governor Tina Smith and Chief of Staff Jaime Tincher) has the aura of an elder statesman. The

Have Minnesota leaders kicked the gridlock habit?

An agreement on health premium relief and other factors give reason for hope.

The message of the Women's Marches, articulated

For that, let's turn to the leader of St. Catherine University.

Possible maneuver on light rail is a step away from 'One State'

It involves dissolving the Counties Transit Improvement Board.
The Minnesota State Capitol was prepared for the 2017 legislative session opener on Jan. 3 following renovation.

State Capitol grandeur, glad you're back

When you were out of commission for updates, things didn't always go well.
Outgoing U.S. Rep. John Kline surmises that President-elect Donald Trump “won’t be far from the vast majority of House Republicans.”

Thoughts for a time of political transition

Who's leaving the scene and what lies ahead.
Minnesota: Where 'nobody gets a special deal'

Minnesota: Where 'nobody gets a special deal'

Our state isn't like other places when it comes to politics. Here, self-dealing is self-destruction.

Voters do worry that billionaires buy elections

Trump, unbeholden to big money? Just a wish.
State and federal policies should be built on the notion of “a right to be rural,” says Minnesota Farmer’s Union president Doug Peterson.

Neglected: The path to winning rural Minnesota votes

Some of state's best historical ideas for achieving equity remain the best way forward.

Greater MSP and the talent pool: A mission to ease the election's ills

Coming together for our region's future is still a highly relevant goal.

Blue state's margin won't last without DFL focus on all of it

DFL must remember to pay attention to economic security in rural Minnesota.
A breakthrough moment for women, and, as usual, it's a struggle

A breakthrough moment for women, and, as usual, it's a struggle

A breakthrough to leadership still requires working twice as hard.

In the leadership battle for Minnesota House, what about the leaders?

Let's examine the curricula vitae of the two men who'd run the state House.
U.S. Rep. Tom Emmer waved to the crowd as he left the state GOP convention in May. Emmer wants his party to support the aspirations of low-income Amer

U.S. Rep. Tom Emmer can help the GOP rebuild after Trump

He's a loyal team player, even in this election. He also has an broader vision for his party.
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