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

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.

Congress selects State of the Union guests with message in mind

Posted by: Corey Mitchell Updated: January 28, 2014 - 6:45 PM

Seats at President Obama's State of the Union address Tuesday night will be filled with the legislative priorities of the 113th Congress.

On a night when the president lays out his blueprint for the year, members of Congress often choose their guests to convey a message of their own: the person often symbolizes a policy or issue the lawmaker is promoting.

In Minnesota, those issues range from job training and fighting poverty to ending child sex trafficking and repealing President Obama’s health care law.

Here’s a member-by-member look at the guests of the state’s congressional delegation:

U.S. Sen. Al Franken will host Erick Ajax, vice president and co-owner of E.J. Ajax and Sons, a Minneapolis-based metal-stamping company. Franken has introduced legislation that would create a multi-billion dollar grant program to fund partnerships between businesses and two-year colleges to fill job openings in high-demand fields.

Mayo Clinic CEO Dr. John Noseworthy will be U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s guest. A supporter of Mayo's partnerships to help match students' skills with jobs, Klobuchar has introduced legislation that would fund 100 new science, technology, engineering and math-themed high schools and support scientific research.

Owatonna Mayor Tom Kuntz will be U.S. Rep. Tim Walz's guest. Walz and Kuntz released a joint statement this month calling for passage of transportation funding bills in both houses of Congress in 2014.

U.S. Rep. John Kline will host Keith Anderson, vice chairman of the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community. The tribe is the largest employer in Scott County, which is part of Kline's district in the southern suburbs and exurbs of the Twin Cities.

U.S. Rep. Erik Paulsen’s guest for President Obama’s State of the Union speech Tuesday will be Vednita Carter, founder and executive director of Breaking Free, a St. Paul-based organization that helps women escape prostitution. Paulsen, the author of two bills designed to combat child sex trafficking, wrote a letter to Obama this month, requesting that he address the issue during the speech.

U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum’s guest will be Clarence Hightower, executive director of the Community Action Partnership of Ramsey and Washington Counties, an anti-poverty agency. This year, McCollum plans to push for more federal grant money to be distributed to not-for-profit agencies, such as the Community Action Partnership, to tackle poverty.

Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges will attend President Obama’s State of the Union speech as the guest of U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison. The two are working on plans to close the achievement gap in the city’s schools and radically reduce the amount of garbage the city sends to landfills, with the eventual goal of reaching "zero waste."

Dr. Julie Anderson, a family physician from St. Cloud, will be U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann’s guest. A University of Minnesota Medical School graduate, Anderson has concerns about how the Affordable Care Act will affect her practice. Bachmann has been one of Congress’ most vocal critics of the health care reform law.

U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson, who will not bring a guest, gave his pass to U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan, according to staff.

As a result, Nolan will have two guests – Carri Jones, chairwoman of the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, and Melanie Benjamin, executive director of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe. Nolan's northeastern Minnesota districts includes five of the six Minnesota Chippewa Tribe bands.

House funding bill includes $17 million for new Stillwater armory

Posted by: Corey Mitchell Updated: January 15, 2014 - 5:04 PM

The $1.1 trillion spending plan to fund the government through the end of September includes $17 million in funding for a new Army National Guard armory in Stillwater.

Slated to open in late 2015, the National Guard armory will share space with a new fire station on a 19-acre site on Myrtle Avenue in the city’s west end.

"Through my work on the House Appropriations Committee, I was proud to advocate for this project," said Democratic U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum, who represents Stillwater.

The spending bill passed the U.S. House 359 to 67 with broad bipartisan support. Siding with a bloc of staunch fiscal conservatives, U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann was the lone member of the Minnesota delegation to vote against the bill.

The omnibus measure moves next to the Senate, where it is expected to pass easily by Friday before heading to President Obama for his signature.

Staff writer Kevin Giles contributed to this report.

Ellison, McCollum fast for immigration reform

Posted by: Corey Mitchell Updated: December 3, 2013 - 2:11 PM

U.S. Reps. Keith Ellison and Betty McCollum are among the House Democrats who plan to fast today in support of activists pushing the House to take up comprehensive immigration reform.

The lawmakers took over for three activists who had camped on the National Mall without food for three weeks to raise awareness and make the case for reform.

The U.S. Senate passed an immigration bill this year, but work on legislation has stalled in the Republican-led House.

“It is imperative that the House of Representatives follow the bipartisan lead of the United States Senate and pass comprehensive immigration reform legislation before the end of this year,” McCollum said in a statement. 

“Immigration reform is one of the most pressing issues facing our country today and it has the support of the business community, faith leaders, law enforcement, labor, and families throughout Minnesota.”

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