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Torey Van Oot

Politics and Government | Reporter
Phone: 612-673-7299
Location: St. Paul

Torey Van Oot reports on Minnesota politics and government for the Star Tribune.


Van Oot covered state and national politics for more than a decade, contributing to outlets ranging from The Sacramento Bee to InStyle to The Washington Post. When she's not writing and tweeting about politics, Van Oot enjoys running, getting outdoors and checking out Minnesota's many craft breweries. She's told she has terrible taste in TV. Van Oot, who grew up in Vermont, lives in Minneapolis with her husband and a sweet but poorly behaved golden retriever.
Recent content from Torey Van Oot
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz proposed his state budget Tuesday.

Walz wants $700,000 for new staff to handle Minnesotans' questions and concerns

House Republicans blasted the proposal to create a new outreach office as "surreal."

Field set in special election for open House seat in east-central Minnesota

The general election will be held on March 19.
Sen. Jeremy Miller, R-Winona, said the move will help “families reach faster diagnoses, advance groundbreaking research and ultimately find cures fo

Minnesota lawmaker proposes Rare Disease Advisory Council

Research effort could be named after Chloe Barnes, Hopkins toddler who died.
U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar spoke to the overflow crowd at a campaign event at a mall Saturday in Mason City, Iowa.

First Klobuchar campaign trip underscores Iowa's importance

Gatherings like Sunday's will be the focus of Klobuchar's presidential campaign until Iowa picks its presidential nominee Feb. 3. For Klobuchar, who lacks the national name identification and fundraising prowess of some of her competitors for the Democratic nod, a strong showing in the state is crucial.
Joined by her daughter Abigail and husband John, Sen. Amy Klobuchar made her first campaign appearance as a presidential candidate Saturday in Eau Cla

Klobuchar points to importance of Midwest in Wis., Iowa campaign stops

The Minnesota Democrat pledged to work across the aisle and make rural issues a priority as she made the first stops of her 2020 presidential campaign.
Jason Rarick, above at a bingo fundraiser in Sturgeon Lake, cemented a 35-32 edge for Republicans in the state Senate.

With the Senate at full capacity, another special election is triggered

The contest for Jason Rarick's now-vacant former House seat will be held on March 19, with a primary set for March 5.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar waved to supporters on Feb. 10 along with her husband John Bessler and daughter Abigail Klobuchar Bessler after announcing she is r

Klobuchar's presidential bid faces fundraising challenge

Small-dollar donors could be crucial in a crowded 2020 presidential field.
GOP Sen. Julie Rosen, shown in 2013.

Minn. lawmakers seek more notice of prescription drug price hikes

Companies would have to pre-disclose the increases, under a new proposal.
Rep. Ilhan Omar's tweet that said "It's all about the Benjamins" is drawing widespread criticism from Republicans and Democrats alike.

Rep. Omar apologizes for tweet on Israel viewed as anti-Semitic

The freshman representative's statement came shortly after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Democratic leaders called for an apology, saying she used "anti-Semitic tropes and prejudicial accusations" about Israel's supporters.
U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar wipes snow from her hair after announcing she is running for president of the United States, at Boom Island Park, Sunday, Feb.

Sen. Klobuchar joins 2020 fray: 'I'm running for every American'

Sen. Amy Klobuchar will test her hometown brand on the national stage as she throws her hat into the ring for the 2020 race to be the President of the United States.
Jason Rarick, Republican candidate for State Senate in the SD11 special election, spoke with Lori Cervenka and her daughters Hannah and Casey, at a bi

GOP's Jason Rarick wins Minnesota Senate seat vacated by Democrat

The win expanded the GOP's narrow majority in the chamber and ended more than two decades of representation in the district by Democrats and members of the Lourey family.
Chris, who declined to give his last name because he was concerned "people might think I'm crazy," gave a thumbs up while jogging around Lake Harriet

New Minnesota tourism slogan encourages visitors to 'Find Your True North'

Gov. Tim Walz said the marketing campaign was especially fitting on the heels of a frigid week in Minnesota: "It's all about attitude."
Stu Lourey, DFL candidate, left, and Jason Rarick, the Republican candidate for State Senate in the SD11 special election.

High stakes define special Minn. Senate election Tuesday

The four-week sprint to fill the open seat, triggered by the appointment of the current senator to human services commissioner, has sent a tsunami of campaign cash and volunteers into the district.
Minnesota state Sen. Chris Eaton, left, and Chazz Smith, right, a cousin of the late rock star Prince, attend a rally at the Minnesota state Capitol i

'We're losing legends': Prince's cousin joins push for Minnesota opioid plan

Legislation would raise $20 million through increased fees on drug companies.
Minority Leader Kurt Daudt, R-Crown, held his black lab Lucy while service dog Daniel from Pawsitivity Service Dogs, checked out the press conference

Minnesota state dog? Group wants Labrador to be official breed

Legislators propose making Labrador retriever the official state dog.
A marijuana plant

Minn. measure would legalize marijuana by '22

Senate GOP leader dismissed bill, saying legalization is not a priority.
U.S. Rep. Angie Craig, a Democrat, held a town hall on Saturday in Burnsville. Here, Craig responded to a question.

Climate change, guns, shutdown top Rep. Angie Craig's first town hall

The doors to freshman Rep. Angie Craig’s first public town hall opened 18 hours after lawmakers voted to temporarily end the longest federal government shutdown…
OxyContin, in 80 mg pills

Minn. proposal to address opioid epidemic gets bipartisan support

A previous proposal stalled following intense lobbying from drug companies.
Stu Lourey and Michelle Lee are facing off in Tuesday's special election to determine the DFL candidate to compete for the seat vacated by Sen. Tony L

Stu Lourey wins DFL primary for Minnesota state Senate seat

Three candidates will compete in a Feb. 5 special election.
Hundreds gathered on the steps of the State Capitol Tuesday for the Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life (MCCL) March for Life. The annual march was

Thousands brave cold for Minnesota March for Life rally at Capitol

Abortion opponents plan to back ultrasound legislation again this year.
Former Gov. Mark Dayton was unable to pass family leave benefits in a divided Legislature.

'The time is now': Supporters of paid family leave launch new push in Minnesota

The proposal hasn't gained traction to pass in previous legislative sessions.
Stu Lourey and Michelle Lee are facing off in Tuesday's special election to determine the DFL candidate to compete for the seat vacated by Sen. Tony L

DFL candidates run for state Senate seat in special election

Primary winner will face GOP Rep. Jason Rarick in the Feb. 5 general election.
A young girl stood front and center at the front of the procession from St. Paul College to the State Capitol for the 2017 rally.

Minnesota Women's March keeps eyes on future amid anti-Semitism controversy

Some former supporters will boycott the rally over remarks by national leaders.
Beer was bountiful Wednesday at Fair State Brewing, but its founder said the shutdown is slowing plans for expansion.

Minnesota breweries facing delays because of shutdown

In Minnesota, where the thriving craft beer industry's estimated annual economic impact is roughly $2 billion, the uncertainty has some brewers on edge and making plans in case there's no breakthrough.
The Minnesota Senate opened up after Sen. Tony Lourey, right, joined Gov. Tim Walz's administration as commissioner of the Department of Human Service

Money, ads begin to flow in special election for Minnesota state Senate seat

The seat opened up when Gov. Tim Walz appointed the sitting senator as a commissioner.
Gov. Tim Walz and Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan walked with their team to a public reception in the rotunda at the State Capitol.

Minnesota lawmakers grapple with filling funding gaps during shutdown

Walz to unveil plan today to cover services affected by federal shutdown.
Sally Miller, the new DFL executive director

DFL taps top Tina Smith aide as new executive director

Minnesota's Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party has hired a longtime party organizer and top political aide to U.S. Sen. Tina Smith to as its new executive director.
Gov. Tim Walz spoke with Tony Sanneh of the Sanneh Foundation during the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce's annual policy kickoff event Wednesday.

More than just Walz's supporters showed up at his inaugural party

The event Saturday drew about 3,000 people to the Minneapolis Convention Center.
Gov. Tim Walz talked with Enbridge Line 3 protesters including Rose Whipple, right, of St. Paul after they interrupted his speech during a public rece

Health, gun violence, education top Minn. House DFL agenda

Some of the most high-profile proposals unveiled today are expected to face difficulty passing the Senate.
Gov.-elect Tim Walz speaks with State Sen. Tony Lourey after he announced Lourey will be commissioner of the Department of Human Services, Thursday, J

Field set for Minnesota's special Senate election to fill Tony Lourey's seat

Seat is expected to be hotly contested by both parties.
Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon, shown in 2016.

Democrats push proposals to increase voter turnout

They include automatic voter registration, expanded access for felons, presidential primary by mail.
Minnesota Gov.-elect Tim Walz, center, leans to get a picture of the wife and children of Steve Grove, left, Walz's new commissioner of economic devel

With latest commissioner picks, Gov.-elect Tim Walz's cabinet is nearly complete

Incoming governor says diverse candidates will find "common ground."

Minnesota campaign board proposal targets 'issue ads' funded by anonymous donors

Supporters of the proposal say it would close an election loophole.
Comcast, which also goes by Xfinity, is the largest TV and internet provider in the United States.

AG lawsuit: Comcast misled customers about prices, fees

Thousands of Minnesotans may have been duped into higher charges, the lawsuit by Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson claims.
Gov. Mark Dayton.

Dayton administration approves raising caps on local officials' pay

Under the proposed changes to pay ceilings, 22 positions across Minnesota could see increases.
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