With an insider’s eye, Hot Dish tracks the tastiest bits of Minnesota’s political scene and keep you up-to-date on those elected to serve you.

Contributors in Minnesota: Patrick Condon, J. Patrick Coolican, Patricia Lopez, Ricardo Lopez, Abby Simons, Rachel E. Stassen-Berger and Glen Stubbe. Contributors in D.C.: Allison Sherry and Jim Spencer.

Rep. Bachmann goes to border to hear "firsthand" from agents about immigration proposal

Posted by: Allison Sherry under Morning Hot Dish newsletter, 6th District, Republicans, President Obama Updated: November 21, 2014 - 5:01 PM

WASHINGTON -- In her final few weeks in office, Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann squeezed in a trip to the Mexican/American frontier Friday, a day after President Barack Obama unveiled a sweeping executive order that will protect millions of people from deportation.

Obama traveled to Las Vegas Friday to promote his order at a high school. Bachmann opposes the order, which she called amnesty that flouts the Constitution. She is traveling with Republican Rep. Steve King, of Iowa.

“While President Obama travels to Las Vegas to give another speech about his executive amnesty plan, I want to hear firsthand from those tasked with patrolling the border about their thoughts on the impact of the president’s actions," Bachmann said, in a statement. "We need to secure the border, stand up for American workers, and follow the Constitution—and the President’s unilateral decree undermines them all.”

The outgoing congresswoman sparked controversy this week in comments she made to the Washington Post calling immigrants "unskilled" and "illiterate". Bachmann tweeted out a link of the story and called it a "perfect example of the media sensationalizing a headline and creating a false perception."

*Will update with photos from the Bachmann/King trip as soon as they're made available by the congresswoman's office.*

Dayton, incoming Speaker Daudt break bread, talk upcoming session

Posted by: Patrick Condon under Minnesota governor, Gov. Mark Dayton, Minnesota legislature, Democrats, Republicans Updated: November 20, 2014 - 5:13 PM

Over a lunch of pork and potatoes at the governor's residence in St. Paul on Thursday, Gov. Mark Dayton and Rep. Kurt Daudt -- soon to be the Republican speaker of the House -- discussed the upcoming legislative session, and also took a few minutes to talk about their dogs. 

Dayton and Daudt, R-Crown, met privately for a little over an hour. Shortly after Republicans retook the House majority earlier this month, Daudt's GOP colleagues chose him to be the next speaker. He'll officially ascend to the post in January, when the new session starts. 

"The governor said it was a congenial conversation, and a great opportunity to get to know the new speaker better," said Matt Swenson, Dayton's spokesman. Dayton and Daudt share a love of dogs, and both own two. 

While the lunch chatter may have been friendly, the new Republican majority is likely to complicate the DFL governor's efforts to pursue an ambitious second-term agenda. The last time Dayton shared power with Republicans at the Capitol, in 2011-12, it led among other things to a 21-day state government shutdown amid disputes over taxes and spending cuts. 

Swenson said the two men didn't talk with too much specificity about issues, although he said both transportation and education were among the discussion topics.

Democrats and Republicans have both argued that the state needs to put more money into upgrading the state's transportation infrastructure, but the two parties differ in how best to do that. While Democrats are more likely to look for new sources of revenue, Republicans will argue that should be accomplished by spending less in other areas of state government -- including money for transit projects prized by many Democrats. 

Dayton has been meeting privately with the Legislature's top leaders in recent days. Prior to Thursday's meeting with Daudt, he met with Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook, and with Rep. Paul Thissen, DFL-Minneapolis, who in January will transition from speaker to minority leader. 

Swenson said Dayton was also seeking to meet soon with Sen. David Hann, R-Eden Prairie, the leader of Senate Republicans. 

Selcer defeats Stensrud in recount

Posted by: J. Patrick Coolican under Minnesota legislature, Democrats, Recount Updated: November 20, 2014 - 1:54 PM

A recount of the state House race in District 48A has been completed, and it confirms the original results, with DFL Rep. Yvonne Selcer holding on to her seat by 41 votes.

In the recount, Selcer picked up six additional votes, while her Republican opponent, Kirk Stensrud, picked up one additional vote. There were 19,171 votes cast in the close contest in the suburbs west of Minneapolis.

House Republicans, who won back the majority in this month's election, maintain a 72-62 advantage. 

Democrats attribute Selcer's victory to sheer effort: She is said to have started walking her district as soon as she won election in 2012 and continued through re-election, slogging through neighborhoods even during the coldest days of winter. 

  

Walz fails on VA leadership bid, remains on committee

Posted by: Allison Sherry under Morning Hot Dish newsletter, 1st District Updated: November 19, 2014 - 8:55 PM
WASHINGTON -- Democratic Rep. Tim Walz didn't make highest ranking Democrat on the Veterans Affairs Committee Wednesday despite high-profile endorsements from the Iraq Afghanistan Veterans for America and other veterans.
 
He lost out to someone more senior than Walz, Florida Rep. Corinne Brown, who has served on the VA committee for 22 years and will be the first African-American to serve in the post. Walz has been on the committee since 2007.
 
In a statement, Walz called the results disappointing and wished Brown well. "This has always been about doing all I can to advocate for and serve veterans and their families. I will continue to that," he said.
 
Brown had the endorsement of Democratic leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi. Walz, a veteran himself with the Army National Guard, stressed service and experience in solving what he called a crisis within the Veterans Administration.
 
Walz will remain on the committee in the new Congress in January.

Minneapolis pastor launches her own anti-Keystone pipeline effort to Sen. Klobuchar's office

Posted by: Allison Sherry under Morning Hot Dish newsletter, Minnesota U.S. senators Updated: November 18, 2014 - 5:46 PM

WASHINGTON -- Senior pastor the Rev. Sarah Campbell was at home Monday on her day off in Minneapolis when she got a call from the American Petroleum Institute asking her to participate in a survey about whether she supported the Keystone pipeline.

The question struck Campbell as funny since, just the day before, she told her parishoners at the Mayflower Church to urge their federal elected representatives to vote against the pipeline, which will carry crude from Canada to the Gulf Coast.

On the phone, Campbell told the surveyor, "I'm absolutely against it. We need to keep it in the ground," she said, but then decided she was curious where the call would take her if she answered another way. "And then I said, 'just a minute, maybe I'm in favor of it'. And she said, 'Ok, let me put you through to Sen. Klobuchar's office.'"

Klobuchar's office received more than 600 calls in the last two days from people both supporting and asking her to vote against the pipeline. The measure was handily passed by the House last week, with three Minnesota Democrats supporting it.

Campbell, who is against the pipeline because of her concern of climate change,helped organize her own call-a-thon to Klobuchar's office. They had about 25 members of the 750-strong church call the office in Minnesota. Another faith-based organization called the Interfaith Power and Light sent an additional 75 faxes.

On the Senate floor Tuesday, the Keystone measure failed by one vote. Both Klobuchar and Franken voted against it.

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