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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
Steve Carlson, with Carlson Farms, harvested soybeans in his combine near Welch, Minn. in 2017.

Vows to try again after farm bill is voted down in the U.S. House

Conservative House members joined Democrats in rejecting the nearly $870 billion bill.
U.S. Rep. Tim Walz, shown in 2016, opposed the legislation citing concerns about how the government would pay for it in the long run — and how it wo

Walz says U.S. House veterans' health care bill causes 'long-term problems'

The VA Mission Act, a major overhaul of veterans health care, passed 347-70 with no Republicans voting against it.

National Democrats to give Minnesota DFL $100,000

It's aimed at increasing outreach to rural communities and small towns.
U.S. Rep. Erik Paulsen, in a 2016 Star Tribune file photo.

Rep. Erik Paulsen gets behind gun violence measure in Congress

He is joining a bipartisan effort to encourage states to pass laws that let law enforcement take firearms from people determined to be a danger to themselves or others.
Minnesota sample identification card and drivers license. This is a sample provided by the Minnesota department of Public Safety

Minnesota says licenses will work for flights through 2020

Gov. Mark Dayton and state lawmakers finally approved a process last year to get Minnesota in full compliance, and the state will start issuing REAL ID-compliant licenses this October.
Pete Stauber

GOP sees hope for grabbing northeastern Minn. congressional seat

DFL's inability to endorse seen as aiding Pete Stauber's chances.
House Budget Committee member Rep. Jason Lewis, R-Minn.

Rep. Jason Lewis spending big on U.S. House mailers, communications

The first-term Republican spent more on taxpayer-funded mass mailing and communications last year than any other member of the Minnesota delegation.
Campaigners for the advocacy group Avaaz held a banner in front of 100 cardboard cutouts of the Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg earlier this

Klobuchar wants 'consumer bill of rights' for Facebook users

Legislation a response to privacy breaches, election disruption revelations.
U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan, a Democrat, took even close supporters by surprise when he announced in February that he would not run again for Congress.

Crowded DFL field in northeastern Minnesota race to succeed Rep. Rick Nolan

Congressional seat held by Democrat Rick Nolan is a top target for Republicans.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.)

Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar queries Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg on privacy

Klobuchar suggested a rule that would require Facebook to notify its users of a breach within 72 hours.
Rep Collin Peterson, seen on a tour of Busch Agricultural Resources in Moorhead, Minn.

Rep. Peterson in hot seat as farm bill talks stall in Congress

As Congress prepares to return from its spring recess, Peterson questioned whether a new farm bill will even be in place before the old one expires on Sept. 30.
Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison listened during a forum on the future of the Democratic Party in Denver in December 2016.

Busy but restless, Ellison juggles House seat with political duties

Battling President Trump both in Congress and as a national party leader, he's considered changing political jobs as well.
Chris Jennings of Minneapolis North High school joined other students from Minnesota that attended the March For Our Lives rally Saturday in Washingto

Minnesotans add passion, voices to D.C. march on gun control

Students from many backgrounds joined together as 800,000 rallied for stricter gun control as part of the March for Our Lives event.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar pushed Tuesday for Facebook’s top leaders to appear before Congress to account for a massive breach of personal data.

Klobuchar wants answers from Facebook CEO Zuckerberg on breach

The Minnesota Democrat, in seeking Facebook CEO's testimony, says she wants assurances that user data is safe.
Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, left, accompanied by Energy Secretary Rick Perry, right, speaks during a Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, &

Feds route millions to aging Minnesota electrical lines

WASHINGTON – As electrical systems age and decline in northwestern Minnesota, Runestone Electric Association is preparing to upgrade 180 miles of line and build…
U.S. Rep. Tom Emmer said farmers across the country are facing a “suicide crisis.”

U.S. Rep. Tom Emmer seeks mental health services for farmers

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Tom Emmer is sponsoring legislation to expand access to mental health services for farmers. “Farmers in Minnesota and across America…
U.S. Rep. Erik Paulsen

In tough election year, Paulsen gets boost from economic panel

Paulsen's January appointment to the U.S. Joint Economic Committee by House Speaker Paul Ryan raises his profile in what promises to be a tough election year.
Rep. Jason Metsa, DFL-Virginia, at a February hearing of the House Taxes Committee. Metsa announced Thursday that he is running for Congress.

DFL state Rep. Jason Metsa running for U.S. House from northern Minnesota

Metsa is latest DFLer to get into race to defend northeastern Minnesota swing seat held by retiring U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan
In this Feb. 16, 2018, photo, Andy Cilek poses with a Tea Party shirt at his home in Eden Prairie, Minn. Cilek was one of two voters who defied electi

High court hears case of Minn. banning political apparel at poll locations

Lawsuit challenges Minnesota's restriction on voters wearing political messages to polling places on First Amendment grounds.
U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan, left, with his daughter Katherine.

Nolan says family concerns largely drove retirement decision

He says it's time to "give something back to my family."
Joe Radinovich as a state representative in 2012.

Joe Radinovich leaving as Frey's chief of staff to run for Congress

A former state representative from Crosby, Radinovich had recently shifted into Minneapolis politics by working with Frey
Sens. Tina Smith and Amy Klobuchar have written President Donald Trump's budget director asking the administration to reconsider its plans for elimina

Trump's proposal to end heating assistance called dangerous for rural Minnesotans, seniors

Trump administration pitches zeroing out federal heating assistance, used by 126,000 Minnesota households.
FILE - In this Nov. 9, 2016, file photo, U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan, D-Minn., meets with reporters in Baxter, Minn. Nolan announced Friday, Feb. 9, 2018, he

Candidates lining up for Nolan's seat in U.S. House

Unexpected retirement leaves a hotly contested swing district wide open.
U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan

U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan won't run for re-election in 8th District

The Democratic congressman who represents northern Minnesota said it's time "to pass the baton."
Sen. Tina Smith (D-Minn.) following a budget vote on Capitol Hill in Washington, Feb. 9, 2018. President Donald Trump on Friday morning signed into la

Minnesota congressional delegation splits on spending bill, but not along party lines

Republicans Emmer, Lewis joined by Democrats Walz, Ellison and Peterson in voting against two-year federal budget plan
Norm Coleman outside his Washington, D.C. office in 2015. The former Republican U.S. senator is backing state Sen. Karin Housley in the special electi

Former Sen. Norm Coleman endorses Republican Karin Housley's GOP bid for Senate

Support by Coleman, who once held seat up in November special election, suggests GOP establishment consolidating behind Housley
Democrat Angie Craig, shown in 2016, when she lost one of the closest congressional races in the country to Republican Rep. Jason Lewis.

In DFL race to take on U.S. Rep. Jason Lewis, rhetoric is getting sharper

DFLer Angie Craig wants rematch with Lewis, but challenger Jeff Erdmann suggests he'd appeal more to middle, working-class voters
Sen. Tina Smith, at her first home-state public appearance as a U.S. senator at Wyoming Machine in Stacy.

Sen. Tina Smith stands behind her work with Planned Parenthood

Senator's tenure as a Planned Parenthood executive is a lightning rod for critics.
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) speaks after the House voted to approve a continuing resolution that would fund the government, on Capitol Hill in Wa

For Minnesota, a shutdown could have major implications

Smith, other lawmakers from state express frustration.
President Donald Trump in the Oval Office.

Minnesota Poll: State split on Russia meddling, Trump ties

Half of Minnesota residents are very or somewhat concerned about Russian interference in U.S. elections, but there's less certainty around the question of whether people connected to President Donald Trump engaged in improper coordination.
Rep. Collin Peterson

Minnesota farmers, food stamp users have much on line in next farm bill

Peterson is worried about GOP attempts to cut food assistance, crop insurance.
Holding hands with her husband, Archie, Sen. Tina Smith walked toward the U.S. Capitol building in the morning sun for her swearing-in ceremony Wednes

Tina Smith takes office in U.S. Senate, ready to get to work

She stood at the front of the Senate chamber alongside Alabama Sen. Doug Jones, also a Democrat, as Vice President Mike Pence administered their oaths of office.
Tina Smith greeted former Vice President Walter Mondale at MSP Airport on the way to D.C. for her swearing in. On the left is Smith's father.

Franken submits resignation letter; Smith ready to step in

Minnesota's ascendant senator, who will be sworn in Wednesday, also begins her campaign.
Tina Smith will be sworn in Wednesday, the day after Al Franken steps down. Pictured: Smith in 2015 at the North Star Ball in St. Paul.

Tina Smith prepares for crash course in the U.S. Senate

She'll be learning Senate ropes even as she dives into campaign mode.
Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson at a February 2017 news conference.

Minnesota's attorney general to sue over net neutrality

DFLer Lori Swanson says FCC's net neutrality rules repeal bad for consumers.
Sarah Clyne of the Domestic Abuse Project spoke at the Minnesota Capitol on Dec. 6 as Protect Minnesota rallied in opposition to federal Concealed Car

Push for gun permits across state lines concerns state's cops

Reciprocity bill passed the U.S. House but draws ire of some in law enforcement.
Amy Klobuchar, left, and Tina Smith.

Klobuchar, Smith will put state in small group with two female senators

WASHINGTON – Members of the public, says Sen. Amy Klobuchar, would sometimes mistake her for the wife of Sen. Al Franken. For Klobuchar, the…
The Capitol is seen in Washington, Monday, Dec. 18, 2017, as Congress returns to face action on the GOP tax bill and funding the government before the

Tax plan would have dramatic effect in Minnesota

The state's businesses stand to get large tax cuts, while limits on deductions for state and local taxes could pinch individuals and families who itemize.

Concealed-carry reciprocity divides delegation

WASHINGTON – The stream of calls for U.S. Sen. Al Franken to resign on Wednesday drowned out some important news for Minnesotans. The U.S.…
President Barack Obama visited a Project CARE class with Labor Secretary Thomas Perez and Senator Al Franken, Friday, June 27, 2014 in Minneapolis.

As Sen. Al Franken prepares to leave Senate, he leaves real accomplishments, much undone

WASHINGTON – Sen. Al Franken’s decision to quit the U.S. Senate leaves Minnesota suddenly without its most high-profile politician, a feisty Democratic brawler who…
Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., center, held hands with his wife, Franni Bryson, as he left the Capitol after announcing that he will resign in the coming w

As Al Franken begins Senate exit, debate builds over his successor

Now that Sen. Al Franken has announced he will resign in the coming weeks, Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton is facing a high-pressure decision over appointing a replacement.
Politico reported that a former Democratic aide says Sen. Al Franken tried to forcibly kiss her in 2006.

Sen. Al Franken will announce plans on Senate floor at 10:45 a.m.

The Minnesota senator, who called the latest anonymous accusation "preposterous," is set to speak about his future. It comes after Democratic leaders united Wednesday to tell him it was time to go.
Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) arrived on Wednesday before a confirmation hearing of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee for Alex Az

Senate Ethics Committee has opened inquiry into Al Franken

Also, a new accuser, an Army veteran, told CNN that a 2003 encounter came while posing for a photo with Franken, who was on a USO tour.
PolyMet Mine in Hoyt Lakes, Minn.

Controversial measures to clear way for more Minn. mining sparks debate in U.S. House

Minnesota congressmen say mining measures not threat to Boundary Waters.
On Thursday, Leeann Tweeden appeared on "The View" and read from what she said was a personal apology letter from Sen. Al Franken.

Dismay, support, confusion follow Franken apology for behavior

As some former allies call for a resignation, the woman who reported that Sen. Al Franken kissed and groped at her without permission in 2006 said he has sent her a personal apology.
In this image provided by the U.S. Army, then-comedian Al Franken and sports commentator Leeann Tweeden perform a comic skit for service members durin

Franken apologizes to accuser; President Trump weighs in

Leeann Tweeden said Franken kissed and groped her without her consent during a USO tour in 2006. Sen. Klobuchar has called for an ethics investigation of Franken.
A tour group on the campus of Carleton College in Northfield in October 2015. Carleton College President Steven Poskanzer is among the Minnesota highe

Minn. higher education leaders raise alarms about GOP tax plan

As tax overhaul speeds through Congress, campus leaders in Minnesota say it has big downsides for student debtors, research capacity, building projects.
For a few months every year, 201 lawmakers — two-thirds of them men — gather in St. Paul, many far from home and family, and insulated from the tr

Sex harassment allegations are challenging State Capitol culture

Those who regularly pass through the Capitol share stories of a proverbial small world that can enable untoward behavior.
Lisa Klenk and her husband, Phillip Klenk, both veterans, have been forced to drive 75 miles to get promised medical care.

Veterans, especially in rural Minnesota, look on as lawmakers try to overhaul health care

Lawmakers working to fix much-maligned Choice Program.
U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken called on President Donald Trump to allow the government to negotiate lower prices for an opioid overdose reve

Sens. Amy Klobuchar, Al Franken call for action on opioid overdose reversal drug

WASHINGTON – As President Donald Trump announced that the opioid epidemic is a public health emergency, Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken called on…
President Trump speaks to the Heritage Foundation's President's Club meeting in Washington on Oct. 17.

Tax reform could add up to billions for Minnesota's biggest companies

Minnesota's biggest companies would see billions in relief – but what about workers?
U.S. Rep. Erik Paulsen, left, and Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady, right, during an interview with Star Tribune at Best Buy headquarters, Thursday

Paulsen backs bump stock ban, angering gun control opponents

The Minnesota Republican's decision to cosponsor the measure to ban a device that allows semi-automatic rifles to fire at the rate of machine guns has drawn the ire of gun-control opponents.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., left, and Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., speak about online political ads and preventing foreign interference in U.S. elections

Sen. Amy Klobuchar pushes for transparency in online political ads

The stronger proposed disclosure rules from Minnesota's Klobuchar and colleagues are aimed at diluting Russian interference in elections.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) speaks to reporters in Washington on Nov. 16, 2016.

Klobuchar, other lawmakers dined with Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump

Minnesota senator, others from Judiciary panel discussed criminal justice reform with Trump, Kushner
Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn.

Sen. Al Franken to donate campaign contributions from Harvey Weinstein

Minnesota senator will give away contributions from Hollywood producer accused of sexually harassing women
Activists look on from a distance during a rally with congressional Democrats in a call for "common sense" gun violence prevention legislation, on the

Few signs that Vegas shooting will shake up the gun debate

Minnesota Republicans in Congress aren't interested in talking guns after the mass shooting in Las Vegas, while Democrats say some response is necessary.
The tax code overhaul that President Donald Trump and congressional Republicans rolled out last week would affect many Minnesota households, eliminati

GOP tax overhaul takes aim at widely used deductions

Deductions on one-third of federal returns filed from Minnesota are on the chopping block.
Personnel of the American Embassy in Havana inspect embassy property, in Havana, Cuba, last month.

Lawmakers call for swift, apolitical fix in Cuba attacks

WASHINGTON – The bipartisan Cuba Working Group in the U.S. House on Friday praised the federal government’s decision to withdraw all nonessential personnel from…
U.S. Rep. Erik Paulsen

Minnesota Republicans, businesses praise GOP tax plan

As Trump rolls out tax proposal, plan wins praise from GOP's Paulsen, skepticism from Democrats

Stephen Censky, a Minnesota native, set to for influential USDA slot

A Minnesota native awaits confirmation for No 2. post at the agency.
Minnesota will receive $6 million in federal funding to address the opioid crisis.

Minnesota gets $6 million from feds to fight opioids

Nearly $250,000 will go to the White Earth Band of Ojibwe to combat drug overdoses.
Speaking on the U.S. House floor, U.S. Rep. Erik Paulsen called the Boundary Waters the Minnesota version of Yellowstone National Park.

Paulsen jumps into BWCA mining ban debate, backs moratorium

Paulsen breaks GOP ranks as House votes to lift mining ban.
FILE - In this Feb. 26, 2015, file photo, Federal Communication Commission Commissioner Ajit Pai speaks during an open hearing and vote on "Net Neutra

FCC's decision on 'net neutrality' looms; advocates push back

Foes, including Sen. Al Franken, say looser rules could lead to blocked content and higher prices.
U.S. Representative Keith Ellison

Minnesota's Keith Ellison, in Democratic leadership role, central in party's rebuilding effort

Personal contact is key to building party, Ellison says.
Soldiers training at Fort Bragg, N.C., in 2014. Both the House and Senate unanimously passed the "Forever GI Bill."

Passage of 'Forever GI' Bill is touted as a way to get things done in D.C. in polarizing times

Expanded college program zips through the U.S. House and Senate, but a health care battle awaits.
FILE - In this June 18, 2014, file photo Cobb County police investigate an SUV where a toddler died near Marietta, Ga., when the father forgot to drop

Franken introduces bill to save children trapped in hot cars

The measure would require newly manufactured cars to come with sensors that alert the driver if a child is still in the back seat after the vehicle is turned off.

Senate Democrats set their conditions for tax reform ahead of GOP's push in Congress

The Democrats' letter to Trump and GOP leaders asks for no cuts for wealthiest 1 percent.
In this Aug. 17, 2016, file photo, Republican Rep. Erik Paulsen takes part in a debate in Minnetonka, Minn.

Congressional Republicans regroup to focus on taxes

"I think it's obvious that there were some lessons learned from health care," said U.S. Rep. Erik Paulsen, who voted for the health care bill in the House.
Congressman Tom Emmer’s bill would undo a move by the Obama administration that stopped lease renewals.

U.S. Rep. Tom Emmer pushes to restore mineral rights

The Sixth District Republican's move comes in response to the Obama administration's 11th-hour decision not to renew mining leases for Twin Metals in northeastern Minnesota.
EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, shown in June with President Trump, was scheduled to visit the Twin Cities on Wednesday.

House committee passes bill to trim EPA spending, but by far less than proposed by Trump

Agency faces 6.5 percent cut in bill headed to the House.
Hartzler

Despite Minnesota GOP support, ban on transgender medical funding fails

WASHINGTON – The U.S. House on Thursday unexpectedly defeated a GOP-sponsored prohibition on military funding for transgender medical expenses. The amendment by Rep. Vicky…
FILE -In this June 13, 2012 file photo, Rick Nolan, then a candidate for the 8th Congressional District seat in Minnesota, is interviewed in Minneapol

Rep. Rick Nolan touts his PolyMet land-swap bill

The congressman testified on bill to exchange forest and mining firm's acreage.
Congressman Rick Nolan, pictured in 2016.

Rep. Nolan tries to balance mining support, climate change opposition

He delicately balances support for PolyMet land swap and climate change work.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar and a paramedic from Minnesota are among the speakers at Hazelden’s opioid town hall in D.C.

Hazelden Betty Ford to hold opioid town hall in D.C.

WASHINGTON – As lawmakers wrangle over the opioid crisis, the Hazelden Betty Ford Institute for Recovery Advocacy is sponsoring a town hall next Wednesday…

Another DFLer announces bid to succeed Rep. Tim Walz

Daniel Feehan, an Iraq war veteran, is fifth DFLer to enter the race.
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