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, Baird Helgeson, Patricia Lopez, Jim Ragsdale, Abby Simons, Rachel E. Stassen-Berger and Glen Stubbe. Contributors in D.C.: Allison Sherry, Corey Mitchell and Jim Spencer.

Posts about 4th District

Minnesota Democrats press Obama to sign order protecting LGBT workers from discrimination

Posted by: Corey Mitchell Updated: March 19, 2014 - 8:15 AM

Six of the seven Democrats in Minnesota’s congressional delegation are among the House and Senate members pressuring President Obama to sign an executive order protecting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans from workplace discrimination.

All told, 195 members of Congress signed the letter, including U.S. Sens. Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar and U.S. Reps. Keith Ellison, Betty McCollum, Rick Nolan and Tim Walz signed the letter; Democratic congressman Collin Peterson did not.

Obama has the ability to ban employment discrimination by government contractors.

“Issuing an executive order prohibiting discrimination against LGBT workers in federal contracts would build on the significant progress for LGBT rights made during your time as President and would further your legacy as a champion for LGBT equality. We urge you to act now to prevent irrational, taxpayer-funded workplace discrimination against LGBT Americans,” the letter reads.

Congressional legislation would apply to all employers. The proposed Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) has passed the Democratic-controlled Senate, but the legislation has stalled in the Republican-led House.

No Republicans signed on to the letter asking Obama to issue an executive order.

White House officials would prefer to see Congress pass ENDA, since executive action wouldn't protect all LGBT workers.

Ellison, a member of the U.S. House LGBT Equality Caucus, will moderate a panel discussion on transgender concerns, issues of inequality and LGBT youth experiences at 5 p.m. central standard time today at the Fridley Community Center.

Congressional letter to President Obama requesting an executive order protecting lesbian, gay, bisexual an...

McCollum, Ellison host discussion on women's economic security

Posted by: Corey Mitchell Updated: February 18, 2014 - 10:26 AM

Democratic U.S. Reps. Betty McCollum and Keith Ellison are hosting a women’s economic security forum at the State Capitol today.

The lawmakers will lead a panel discussion on workplace issues for women, including paid family leave, health care, child care, retirement security and equal pay.

Among the guests planning to join Ellison and McCollum are: State House Majority Leader Erin Murphy, DFL-St. Paul; Senate President Sandy Pappas, DFL-St. Paul; Terry Williams, vice president, Women’s Foundation of Minnesota; Lisa Stratton, founder of Gender Justice, a non-profit dedicated to eliminating gender barriers in employment; Patricia Brady, executive director of Workforce Solutions, which runs Ramsey County jobs programs; and Deb Fitzpatrick, director of the Center on Women and Public Policy at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs.

GOP U.S. Senate candidate fundraising numbers arrive

Posted by: Rachel E. Stassen-Berger Updated: February 10, 2014 - 5:01 PM

Newly available campaign finance reports highlight the fundraising disparity in Minnesota's U.S. Senate race.

According to documents on the Federal Election Commission's website on Monday, Republican candidate Julianne Ortman raised $234,000 so far for her bid to unseat Democratic U.S. Sen. Al Franken and Republican candidate Jim Abeler raised $87,000.

Franken has raised more than $12.4 million for his re-election campaign and had nearly $5 million cash on hand. Republican candidate Mike McFadden raised $2.2 million and had $1.7 million left in the bank at the start of the year. Republican candidate Chris Dahlberg raised far less.

Franken, McFadden and Dahlberg released the summary information from their reports by January 31, back when reports were due to be filed federally.

At that time, neither Ortman or Abeler released details of their fundraising reports. Because Senate candidates do not file their reports electronically, it takes a while for them to be uploaded to the FEC website. Ortman said last week that she had "nearly a quarter of a million dollars in 2013."

House candidates file their reports electronically so their fundraising information is available online when the reports are filed.

See all the fundraising information released by Minnesota's federal candidates for office below.

(scroll to see the numbers)

Lawmakers seek congressional hearing on propane crisis

Posted by: Corey Mitchell Updated: February 6, 2014 - 5:11 PM

A bipartisan coalition in Congress – including four Minnesota Democrats – is pressing leaders of the House Energy and Commerce Committee to explore potential solutions to the propane shortage in the Upper Midwest.

“As members representing the Midwest, we respectfully write today to request a hearing into the current propane shortage, the long term outlook of Midwestern supply and potential solutions to the problems,” the members wrote.

“As you may know, households and businesses across the Midwest have seen significant spikes in the price of propane fuels during the severe winter cold. Any further reduction in supply threatens to leave our constituents without the fuel necessary to heat their homes and keep livestock and poultry barns warm.”

U.S. Reps. Tim Walz, Betty McCollum, Rick Nolan and Collin Peterson signed the letter along with lawmakers from Iowa, Illinois, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin also signed the letter.

Last week, Gov. Mark Dayton’s executive council extended an emergency order to alleviate Minnesota’s propane shortage. Suppliers have been unable keep up with demand during the brutal cold that has battered businesses and homeowners.

Energy and Commerce Propane Hearing Request

Federal fundraising figures, finally

Posted by: Rachel E. Stassen-Berger Updated: January 31, 2014 - 9:52 AM

Friday is Federal Election Commission deadline day when federal candidates and groups must file their fundraising figures for 2013.

Follow along as we update our chart below with the cash hauls reported the the campaign finance agency.

Note: You may need to scroll a bit to see all the numbers.

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