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Tracking Minnesota’s political scene and keeping you up-to-date on those elected to serve you

Clinton announces Minn. leadership council; names conspicuously missing

WASHINGTON -- Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign appointed a few dozen Minnesotans to the her leadership council over the weekend -- though most of the state's U.S. House members are holding out on endorsing her.

Those on the leadership council are charged with “amplifying the national voice’ for Clinton across Minnesota, ahead of the March 1 caucuses.

The team includes Gov. Mark Dayton, Lt. Gov. Tina Smith, both Sens. Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar, some union leaders, including Denise Specht, president of Education Minnesota and 15 state representatives and senators, including Melissa Franzen, Jeff Hayden, Sandy Pappas and Kathy Sheran.

Only Democratic Rep. Tim Walz has signed onto support her on the U.S. House side.  Conspicuously missing from Clinton’s list, released Monday, are Reps. Rick Nolan, Collin Peterson, Keith Ellison and Betty McCollum.

McCollum, Ellison, Nolan and Peterson have said they have not endorsed anyone yet for the 2016 presidential campaign.

Clintons campaign noted they hope to expand the leadership council in Minnesota.

Dayton: Mass shootings 'incomprehensible' but unsure how to prevent them

Gov. Mark Dayton said Friday that he's open to policy changes aimed at preventing mass shootings like what happened a day earlier in Oregon, but that he's yet to see federal or state legislative changes that would be effective at doing so. 

"I think there's too many guns in the hands of people who shouldn't have them, but how do you keep the wrong people from getting their hands on guns?" Dayton said. "No one's come up with an answer to that. If they do, I'm all ears." 

Dayton has supported a proposed change to Minnesota law that would require people who buy weapons at gun shows be subject to a background check, as is now the case with purchases at gun stores. But he said he doubted such a move would prevent future mass shootings. 

In the latest incident, at least nine people were killed and seven injured in Thursday's shooting at a community college in rural Oregon. The 26-year-old shooter was killed in a shootout with police. President Obama responded with a plea to federal and state leaders that they take concrete steps to prevent what's become a depressingly common occurrence. 

"I don't think closing a gun show loophole is going to put an end to that, although it's the right thing to do," Dayton said. "If the president has something he thinks is going to make a significant difference at the national level, he should say what that is."

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