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Maya Rao

Reporter | Washington Bureau
phone: 651-925-5043
Maya Rao wrote for The Press of Atlantic City and The Philadelphia Inquirer before moving to Minnesota in January 2012.
Recent content from Maya Rao
GOP's Erik Paulsen spent big last cycle, on track to do so again

GOP's Erik Paulsen spent big last cycle, on track to do so again

In the previous election cycle, Paulsen spent far more defending his congressional seat last year than any other Minnesotan in Congress

Ellison, Sanders, Democrats make new push for $15-an-hour minimum wage

Proposal reflects growing support among Democrats for higher base wage, but lacks GOP support.
Affordable housing advocates fear proposed HUD cuts would be devastating to Minnesota

Affordable housing advocates fear proposed HUD cuts would be devastating to Minnesota

Reduced federal spending on housing would affect constituencies as diverse as working families, seniors and people with disabilities, and those with criminal histories.
Senators push United Airlines for answers on overbooking

Senators push United Airlines for answers on overbooking

Minnesota Sens. Klobuchar, Franken are among those questioning airline's policy.
For Ellison, role with national Dems a chance to rebuild local parties

For Ellison, role with national Dems a chance to rebuild local parties

In DNC role, he's helping to rebuild the party from the ground up.
Rep. Jason Lewis charts own path on Capitol Hill

Rep. Jason Lewis charts own path on Capitol Hill

Approaching 100 days in office, Lewis' new congressional career is unfolding during an unusually chaotic era in Washington.
Midwestern farm interests closely watching Trump's ag secretary nominee

Midwestern farm interests closely watching Trump's ag secretary nominee

WASHINGTON – As Sonny Perdue moves toward becoming President Donald Trump's secretary of agriculture, Minnesota's congressional delegation and business leaders are hoping the former…
Walz's run for gov. raises stakes for southern Minn. seat

Walz's run for gov. raises stakes for southern Minn. seat

Republicans see a chance to reclaim the First District seat in the U.S. House, but Democrats say they'll fight to hold it.
Rural Minn. hospitals fear fallout as work visas slow

Rural Minn. hospitals fear fallout as work visas slow

As populations age in rural parts of the state and region, hospitals and clinics increasingly rely on immigrant doctors
Reps. Jason Lewis, Erik Paulsen voice disappointment over GOP health care bill failure

Reps. Jason Lewis, Erik Paulsen voice disappointment over GOP health care bill failure

The Minnesota congressmen say they'll keep working on the issue.
Supreme Court hears dispute over St. Croix property

Supreme Court hears dispute over St. Croix property

Justices posed tough questions to attorneys for the landowners and to the government regulators who blocked the transaction.
Selling rice to Japan? Minnesota tribes marketing wild rice to the world

Selling rice to Japan? Minnesota tribes marketing wild rice to the world

Leech Lake has hired a marketing specialist and is going to food shows to talk up the savory and nutritional qualities of the rice that grows on tribal waters. It's now backed by a USDA grant.
Twin Cities, Minnesota officials see big impact from Trump's budget

Twin Cities, Minnesota officials see big impact from Trump's budget

Concerns expressed about cuts in environmental cleanup programs, heating for poor households, AmeriCorps and airport service and security.
Older, poorer Minnesotans would lose most under GOP plan

Older, poorer Minnesotans would lose most under GOP plan

Minnesotans who are older and less affluent would get significantly fewer tax credits from the new Republican national health care plan, according to a new analysis.
Casseroles clash at Franken's annual hotdish competition for Minnesotans in Congress

Casseroles clash at Franken's annual hotdish competition for Minnesotans in Congress

Rep. Collin Peterson's bear dish wins Sen. Al Franken's yearly event.
Tom Emmer, Erik Paulsen, Jason Lewis praise House GOP health care plan

Tom Emmer, Erik Paulsen, Jason Lewis praise House GOP health care plan

Minn. Republicans in Congress stand by the measure, calling it an improvement.
Franken hands over $41K in contributions from Boston law firm under investigation

Franken hands over $41K in contributions from Boston law firm under investigation

Democrats have returned more than $1 million since FEC began investigating firm accused of reimbursement scheme
Ilhan Omar dominated among students, rival's analysis shows

Ilhan Omar dominated among students, rival's analysis shows

Maneuvering in a white suit and red bow tie, Brian Rice pointed to the board drawn over with an election analysis in the second-floor conference…
Relentlessness helped Ilhan Omar to seal historic win

Relentlessness helped Ilhan Omar to seal historic win

Her state House campaign to unseat Rep. Phyllis Kahn knocked on thousands of doors and spread its reach wide.
Fierce battle in Minnesota's 2nd District GOP primary

Fierce battle in Minnesota's 2nd District GOP primary

Voters are weighing four candidates in the Republican primary on Tuesday, in the nationally watched race to replace retiring Rep. John Kline.
With Capitol renovation in final stretch, state's crown jewel gleams again

With Capitol renovation in final stretch, state's crown jewel gleams again

Capitol's first restoration in more than 100 years is nearing completion.
Money flows into competitive Minnesota legislative races

Money flows into competitive Minnesota legislative races

The fight for funds is fierce, with all 201 seats and no governor up for election.
True believers bond over Trump at St. Louis Park tavern

True believers bond over Trump at St. Louis Park tavern

Emilie Maua cried as she watched Donald Trump accept the Republican nomination for president. It was not that her hero had said much of anything…
Hillary Clinton stops in Mpls., pledging strong support for teachers

Hillary Clinton stops in Mpls., pledging strong support for teachers

The presumptive presidential nominee tells nation's No. 2 union that it will have ally in the White House.
Stung by defeats, Democrats shift strategy on gun control

Stung by defeats, Democrats shift strategy on gun control

The party is bringing its case to the people, with leaders urging members to conduct sit-ins around the country as they try to sustain the flash of activism on the gun issue.
Minnesota gun enthusiasts hold fast to AR-15

Minnesota gun enthusiasts hold fast to AR-15

In the world of competition shooting, one of the country's most-feared weapons is favored
Rifle used in Orlando popular among Minn. gun enthusiasts

Rifle used in Orlando popular among Minn. gun enthusiasts

The AR-15 is a top choice among hunters and hobbyists. It has also been used in some of the worst mass shootings in recent years, including Sandy Hook.
Minnesota pension changes get pushed off to next year

Minnesota pension changes get pushed off to next year

Legislators put off the issue when a deal fell through this session.
State's new rail director will tackle oil-train safety, other issues

State's new rail director will tackle oil-train safety, other issues

The map above Alene Tchourumoff’s desk shows lines that appear, at first, to denote rivers — they sprawl and branch off, weaving and curving across…
Minnesota will spend $35 million to advance racial equity

Minnesota will spend $35 million to advance racial equity

  Amid the partisan rancor over a $260 million tax-break bill, Gov. Mark Dayton last week approved many racial equity measures that won broad support.…

The pre-midnight special: Bill runner a key player in last-minute frenzy

The man hand-delivering legislation from chamber to chamber had to race across street due to construction.
Tin Cup caucus convenes at St. Paul watering hole

Tin Cup caucus convenes at St. Paul watering hole

“I dare you to go talk to that dude in the hat,” the school bus lobbyist is telling me. We are sitting at Tin Cup’s…
In first crack in stalemate, Minn. legislators agree on $259M tax bill

In first crack in stalemate, Minn. legislators agree on $259M tax bill

Outstate Minnesota wins big in tax bill; St. Paul soccer stadium included.
Feb. 1: Minnesota leaders' full-page ad decries bigotry toward Muslims

Feb. 1: Minnesota leaders' full-page ad decries bigotry toward Muslims

From across a broad spectrum, hate messages declared "un-Minnesotan."

GOP's $800 million public-works bill fails to pass

Legislative leaders are still negotiating over final budget priorities.
Law enforcement is flexing its muscle at Minnesota Capitol

Law enforcement is flexing its muscle at Minnesota Capitol

Police groups' influence over legislative process on display with key bills.
Sunday liquor store sales remain illegal after loss at Legislature

Sunday liquor store sales remain illegal after loss at Legislature

For lawmakers, it was a frenzied day on smaller issues, but no progress on the big ones.
Outstate cities press for legislative action in Minnesota

Outstate cities press for legislative action in Minnesota

Armed with ice cream, city officials from around the state lobby for more spending in rural areas.
Body-cam bill with restrictions on public access advances in Minnesota House

Body-cam bill with restrictions on public access advances in Minnesota House

Over the protests of its chairwoman, the House data practices committee approved legislation that would give law enforcement more control over recordings they make during interactions with citizens.
Legislators struggle to strike balance with body cameras

Legislators struggle to strike balance with body cameras

State lawmakers are struggling to balance privacy rights, transparency, policing needs.
Dayton and DFLers press GOP for details of bonding proposal

Dayton and DFLers press GOP for details of bonding proposal

House Republicans have offered to spend $600M on statewide projects.
Minnesota Poll: Most favor Supreme Court nominee, Senate vote

Minnesota Poll: Most favor Supreme Court nominee, Senate vote

A strong majority of Minnesotans say the U.S. Senate should immediately hold confirmation hearings and vote on Merrick Garland's Supreme Court nomination.
State's cosmetologists brace for regulatory overhaul

State's cosmetologists brace for regulatory overhaul

Clearer rules and a focus on cleanliness should help streamline the process.
Minneapolis Council Member Warsame backs Mohamud Noor in race vs. Rep. Kahn

Minneapolis Council Member Warsame backs Mohamud Noor in race vs. Rep. Kahn

Minneapolis official supported longtime legislator 2 years ago.

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton appoints state rail director

The newly created position comes amid growing concern about oil train safety
State considers expanding list of jobs that will require license

State considers expanding list of jobs that will require license

These proposals are unfolding amid a national debate about the increasing appearance of licensure requirements in jobs that once required none.
Minnesota edging closer to Real ID compliance

Minnesota edging closer to Real ID compliance

State leaders are looking to approve changes to comply with federal law this session.
Rep. Phyllis Kahn fights to stay relevant as DFL pushes for new blood

Rep. Phyllis Kahn fights to stay relevant as DFL pushes for new blood

Longtime state Rep. Phyllis Kahn has been one of the most reliably liberal voices at the State Capitol, blazing the way on everything from anti-smoking…
Rybak, Dibble endorse Ilhan Omar over Rep. Kahn in DFL battle

Rybak, Dibble endorse Ilhan Omar over Rep. Kahn in DFL battle

Omar is trying to defeat Rep. Phyllis Kahn, the Legislature's longest-serving member
Rep. Kahn, rivals head to primary without DFL endorsement

Rep. Kahn, rivals head to primary without DFL endorsement

Ilhan Omar came within a few votes of securing the party's endorsement, but the day ended without a nod to anyone.
Minn. legislators want railroads to open books on emergency response

Minn. legislators want railroads to open books on emergency response

Local officials want to be better prepared for oil train derailments

Minnesota cities rush to restrict where sex offenders live

The issue is politically perilous for leaders of both parties, who must weigh the constitutional questions vs. the political blowback from releasing potentially dangerous offenders into the community.

Minnesotans with student loan debt speak out to legislators

Legislators heard testimony Wednesday from people saddled with college debt as they considered several proposals to ease the burden for many of the 882,000 current or former student borrowers in the state.

DFL legislators want pension fund investments in fossil fuel firms to end

DFL legislators want state pension fund managers to dump fossil fuel stocks.
Minnesota GOP leader breaks with Trump, Cruz on Muslims

Minnesota GOP leader breaks with Trump, Cruz on Muslims

Minnesota GOP Chairman Keith Downey is breaking from leading Republican presidential candidates after controversial remarks about Muslims by Donald Trump and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.…
DFL takes battle over paid family leave to Capitol

DFL takes battle over paid family leave to Capitol

Minnesota DFLers are intensifying efforts to adopt one of the most sweeping paid family leave policies in the country, an effort gaining wide support from labor unions and low-income groups.
Dayton signs Iron Range jobless benefits extension after House OK

Dayton signs Iron Range jobless benefits extension after House OK

After frantic and uncertain day, House has agreed to pass measure to extend benefits for 26 weeks.
Dayton wants $4M set aside for PolyMet legal costs

Dayton wants $4M set aside for PolyMet legal costs

Minnesota is now spending $60,000 a month on a Washington, D.C., firm hired to protect the state against future lawsuits related to PolyMet Mining Corp.

Minnesota unemployment fund reaches solvency as politicians weigh refunds

The Minnesota House passed a measure Thursday to extend benefits for laid-off steel workers on the Iron Range but also return millions of dollars in unemployment insurance to employers.
Doctor-assisted suicide proposal tabled after emotional hearing

Doctor-assisted suicide proposal tabled after emotional hearing

Sen. Chris Eaton abruptly withdrew the measure in a hearing that drew hundreds of people and hours of wrenching testimony.
DFL, GOP still split on Iron Range benefits

DFL, GOP still split on Iron Range benefits

Republicans push for business tax cuts as part of the relief legislation.
Why Donald Trump? A look at some of his Minnesota supporters

Why Donald Trump? A look at some of his Minnesota supporters

His own party fears and distrusts him. His critics call him a phony or a fascist. His backers see him as the sole choice.

Minnesota pensions struggle to divest from Iran

State law says they must divest from firms doing business there — as more aim to do.
Tensions erupt over jobless benefits, setting tone at Capitol

Tensions erupt over jobless benefits, setting tone at Capitol

As the session opens next week, fur is already flying over help for Iron Range.
Caucus lines, waits bring calls for Minnesota to move to primary

Caucus lines, waits bring calls for Minnesota to move to primary

Gov. Dayton is the latest official urging the change, which would allow for all-day voting.
Minnesota has $900M budget surplus; lower than expected

Minnesota has $900M budget surplus; lower than expected

Officials had been counting on a projected surplus of $1.2 billion for the upcoming legislative session, which begins next month.
Dayton and legislative leaders predict tough session

Dayton and legislative leaders predict tough session

Big disagreements loom on both education and transportation issues.
High stakes fuel flames in races to succeed GOP Rep. Kline

High stakes fuel flames in races to succeed GOP Rep. Kline

The contest to replace retiring U.S. Rep. John Kline is intensifying as Republican candidates struggle to break out from the crowded field.
Democrats' battle for black voters hits Minnesota

Democrats' battle for black voters hits Minnesota

The state's relatively small black population is not likely to swing the vote in the upcoming caucuses between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, but the fight reflects a larger, national battle for black voters.
Biden: St. Paul's Union Depot highlights stimulus' success

Biden: St. Paul's Union Depot highlights stimulus' success

Vice President Joe Biden came to St. Paul on Thursday to praise the Union Depot, the multimillion dollar renovation aided by federal stimulus money, as part of a two-day, three-city tour to highlight the importance of the federal stimulus program.

Minn. legislators use campaign cash for child care, pet urns and travel

Legislators use campaign funds for golf, luggage, Vegas hotels, and it's OK.

High life expectancy strains Minnesota pension systems

Our 2nd-highest U.S. life expectancy throws a wrench in retirement funds' projections.
St. Cloud comes to grips with clashes between immigrants, longtimers

St. Cloud comes to grips with clashes between immigrants, longtimers

Amid racial tension, Dayton looks to bolster local human rights office
'Making a Murderer' defense attorney makes case at Minnesota Capitol

'Making a Murderer' defense attorney makes case at Minnesota Capitol

Dean Strang makes his case for better public defense.
Bernie Sanders brings fiery populist message to St. Paul

Bernie Sanders brings fiery populist message to St. Paul

Hours after speaking to 6,000 people in Duluth, Sanders addressed more than 14,000 at RiverCentre, aiming for momentum before the Iowa caucuses on Monday.
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