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.: Corey Mitchell, Allison Sherry and Jim Spencer.

Posts about President Obama

White House awards $17 million to Minnesota community colleges for job training programs

Posted by: Corey Mitchell Updated: September 30, 2014 - 9:09 AM

Fourteen community colleges in Minnesota that are partnering with employers on job training are getting about $17 million from the Obama administration.

Minnesota State Community and Technical College in Fergus Falls will receive $2.5 million and South Central College in North Mankato will get $5.6 million.

The remaining will be spread between a dozen institutions across the state: Bemidji State University; Century College; Dakota County Technical College; Lake Superior College; Minneapolis Community & Technical College; Minnesota State Community and Technical College; Minnesota West Community and Technical College; Normandale Community College; Northland Community & Technical College; Ridgewater College; Riverland Community College; South Central College; and Saint Paul College.

Vice President Joe Biden and the secretaries of Education and Labor announced the grant winners Monday at the White House.

Linking job training to industry demand is key to the Obama administration’s strategy to improve wages and reduce unemployment. Nationwide, $450 million is being distributed to nearly 270 community colleges.

These are the final installments in the four-year Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training competitive grant program. Counting the grants announced Monday, the program has awarded about $2 billion.

The White House said the program is geared toward military veterans, the long-term jobless and people who lost jobs when their former employers shifted production offshore.

“People are going to gets skills to get a job tomorrow and punch their way to the middle class,” Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez said.

Obama appoints former Minnesota congressman to trade advisory panel

Posted by: Corey Mitchell Updated: September 29, 2014 - 8:56 AM

President Obama will reappoint former Minnesota congressman Bill Frenzel to the Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations, which provides policy advice to the White House on trade matters.

President Bush appointed Frenze, a Republican,l to the committee in 2002; he served as the panel’s chairman from 2002 to 2011. Frenzel also served on Bush’s Tax Reform Commission.

From 1971 to 1991, Frenzel represented the Third Congressional District, the seat currently held by GOP U.S. Rep. Erik Paulsen.

A version of this item appeared in Morning Hot Dish, the Star Tribune's daily political newsletter. To sign up, go to StarTribune.com/membercenter, check the Politics newsletter box and save the change.

Klobuchar rules out attorney general rumors

Posted by: Corey Mitchell Updated: September 25, 2014 - 4:13 PM

Democratic U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar on Thursday shot down speculation that she is a candidate to be the next U.S. attorney general.

"I intend to continue my work for the people of Minnesota as their Senator,” Klobuchar said in a statement. “We have a lot of work ahead in Congress in the next year and I want to be there to do it."

A flurry of speculation erupted Thursday morning after news broke that Attorney General Eric Holder would be resigning. Klobuchar, who spent nearly a decade as the Hennepin County attorney before winning her Senate seat in 2006, was among a number of potential replacements named in media reports.

Holder plans to remain at the Justice Department until his successor is chosen. President Obama formally announced his resignation Thursday afternoon in the East Room of the White House.

"Attorney General Holder has been a steady leader at the helm of the Justice Department during a time of significant challenge and change,” Klobuchar said. “I have worked with him on a range of important issues, including reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act and confirming a new U.S. Attorney for Minnesota. I thank Attorney General Holder for his dedicated service."

Klobuchar, meanwhile, is chasing national ambitions. She has dotten in and out of Iowa in the past year for various speeches and fundraisers and has raised moneny for both would-be presidential contender Hillary Rodham Clinton and a handful of other Democrats in vulnerable Senate races.

 

Franken, Klobuchar back Obama’s plan to arm Syrian rebels

Posted by: Corey Mitchell Updated: September 18, 2014 - 7:13 PM

With support from Democratic Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken, the U.S. Senate approved President Obama’s plan to train and equip Syrian rebels Thursday, backing his strategy to confront the Islamic State militants.

The legislation, drafted as an amendment to a routine bill to keep the government funded past Sept. 30, grants the president authority to train foreign forces to confront the Islamic State.

Opponents in both parties framed the vote as a precarious step toward a wider conflict in a region where American troops have been fighting for more than a decade.

Less than 24 hours before the vote, Franken told the Star Tribune he was unsure if he would support the measure.

“While I do have real concerns about this strategy, I believe that training and arming the Syrian rebels is our best available option,” Franken said in a statement after the vote.

The U.S. House approved the measure Wednesday.

The authorization expires in mid-December with the spending bill it is attached to, ensuring lawmakers will revisit the issue before the end of the year. The bill language specifies that the measure is not a broad authorization of force against the Islamic State.

“There needs to be a full debate in Congress on an authorization to use military force,” Franken said. “What I don’t want is for this to be a slippery slope that leads to another protracted ground war in the region.”

The debate over how to respond to the Islamic State has emerged a flashpoint in Minnesota’s U.S. Senate race. Federal authorities suspect that at least a dozen men and women have left the state to join the terrorist group.

Seizing on the potential threat to Minnesotans as a key campaign issue, Republican nominee Mike McFadden has criticized Franken’s, accusing the senator of blindly supporting Obama’s foreign policy.

Justice Department to expand outreach to Twin Cities in expanded effort to halt ISIS recruitment

Posted by: Allison Sherry Updated: September 17, 2014 - 9:19 PM

WASHINGTON -- The Twin Cities were one of three muncipalities in the country that will participate in a pilot program to boost outreach in the Islamic community in effort to combat recruitment of naturalized Americans by the terrorist group ISIL, Department of Justice officials said Wednesday.

The pilot project will "bring together important Minnesota law enforcement, religious, and community leaders to expand outreach to Minnesotans," according to Sen. Al Franken's office, which has urged the Obama administration to deliver additional resources to Minnesota.

Two men with Minnesota ties were killed fighting for ISIL, or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, in the Middle East.

Rep. Keith Ellison, a Democrat who represents Minneapolis, has also encouraged administration officials to work with the Somali community because they can be allies in identifying vulnerable young people who can become radicalized, he said.

US Attorney for Minnesota Andy Luger, issued a statement late Wednesday: 

"The Somali community in Minneapolis and St. Paul will benefit greatly from the additional resources we expect to receive as part of the pilot program," he said. "Our Somali friends deserve to prosper in Minnesota in peace and security, and this program seeks to make that happen, and create a blueprint for the country for how to prevent the radicalization of vulnerable youth."

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