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Baird Helgeson

Deputy editor | Local
Phone: 612-673-7193
Location: Minneapolis
Other languages: Russian

Baird Helgeson is deputy local editor at the Star Tribune. He helps supervise coverage of local news. Before becoming an editor, he was an award-winning reporter who covered state government and politics. He has worked for news organizations in Minnesota, Florida and North Dakota.

A native of Minneapolis, Helgeson lives with his wife and their two young boys in St. Paul. He is a graduate from the University of St. Thomas with a degree in print journalism. He is an occasional golfer, a slow jogger and an avid fly angler.
Recent content from Baird Helgeson
Gov. Mark Dayton high-fived Ashia Rhodes at the public bill signing ceremony Monday at the State Capitol rotunda. She was there with her sister Jada,

April 14: Minnesota makes history with largest minimum wage hike

The bill, signed into law Monday, will raise the base wage from $6.15 to $9.50 an hour and give raises to more than 325,000 Minnesotans.
Between campaign stops, Scott Honour made phone calls and checked e-mail from the front seat of his Ford F-350 truck.

Governor: Political rookie Scott Honour makes his case

Republican Scott Honour has made a fortune confounding doubters in the business world. Now he is out to do it in politics, without a shred of political experience or even his party's endorsement.
Rebecca Otto “This is not a scandal. It is what we do,” she said of the criticism.

Conflict-of-interest claims add heat to state auditor race

Minnesota State Auditor Rebecca Otto is facing new criticism from political rivals for hosting a national state auditors’ convention in St. Paul that was sponsored…

Minnesota property taxes down, with help of state aid, credits

But Republicans say taxes actually are rising for all.
Jennifer Parrish, center, celebrated the Supreme Court ruling with Sens. David Senjem and Carla Nelson at the House of Representatives building in St.

Supreme Court union dues ruling may upend Minnesota workers' fight

A new U.S. Supreme Court ruling that allows state-paid home health workers to opt out of paying union dues could upend one of the most…
Glen Taylor

Star Tribune buyer Glen Taylor has GOP tilt to giving

Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor says he tends to support moderate candidates from either party whose views are similar to his.
“Don’t boo,” President Obama told the crowd. “I want you to vote.”

Obama vows to keep listening, fighting

Band-shell speech, stop at job-training site end visit.
President Barack Obama talked with Rebekah Erler, 36, of Minneapolis at Matts Bar before going to a town hall meeting at Minnehaha Park Thursday.

Obama presses for higher base wage, equal pay

Obama said he shares the frustrations of Minnesotans who went to college, work hard and still struggle to buy homes, pay for child care and dig out from student loan debt.
At a rally in Virginia, Minn., on Monday, iron miners heard Gov. Mark Dayton speak against illegal steel dumping.

Gov. Mark Dayton is starting to sound like candidate Dayton

Dayton is starting to sketch out the political narrative that will shape his first-ever re-election campaign. He is talking more about his job-creation accomplishments.
Sen. Roger Reinert, DFL-Duluth

Minnesota, Wisconsin are back negotiating tax reciprocity

Minnesota revenue officials on Thursday offered to lower Wisconsin's annual payment by $1 million if the Badger State approves of the agreement by Sept. 30.
Republican gubernatorial candidate Marty Seifert spoke to delegates at the Minnesota Republican Party Convention at the Rochester Civic Center May 30,

Minnesota parties fight for relevance in political primaries

DFL and GOP candidates are taking on endorsed candidates, forcing the parties to prove their relevance.
State Economist Laura Kalambokidis explains part of the state's budget forecast, Friday, Feb. 28, 2014 in St. Paul, Minn. Minnesota's projected budget

New state economist Kalambokidis takes over from 'legend'

    Laura Kalambokidis has the kind of job at the Capitol where many in the building absorb her every word in a way that…
Gov. Mark Dayton accepts the party endorsement at the DFL convention in Duluth.

Evolving Mark Dayton feels a strong libertarian impulse

The emerging portrait of Dayton since he assumed office reveals a more nuanced leader with a strong libertarian strain pulsing in his political blood line.
PolyMet Mining Corp. intends to use this former LTV Steel Mining Co., which shut down in 2001, near Hoyt Lakes, Minn. to mine copper, nickel and some

PolyMet mining issue cuts deep into DFL unity at state convention

Activists at the state DFL convention decided against debating a proposal that would have made support of PolyMet Mining's proposal to extract copper and nickel from a LTV mine part of the party platform.
Republican Governor’s candidate Jeff Johnson addressed delegates at the Minnesota Republican Party Convention at the Rochester Civic Center Saturday

Johnson lands GOP endorsement for governor, but primary looms

Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson beat out three other Republicans to capture his party's endorsement for governor on Saturday. Now he must prepare to beat three more in the state's first major contested GOP primary in two decades.
Gov. Mark Dayton, Pollution Control Commissioner John Linc Stine and IRRRB Commissioner Tony Sertich spoke about the Unsession at a state Capitol news

Minnesota streamlines 1,200 laws under Dayton initiative

"Things don't get undone in government very readily," the DFL governor said of the changes approved by legislators this spring. "I think we are off to a very good start."
Jeff Johnson

Jeff Johnson chooses Bill Kuisle as GOP running mate

And Scott Honour loaned his campaign $250K before upcoming convention.
Gov. Mark Dayton held a press conference with Speaker Paul Thissen, Majority Leader Erin Murphy, Assistant Majority Leader Katie Sieben and Deputy Maj

DFLers tout tax breaks, $1.17 billion in construction

"Progress," Dayton says of session as DFL switches gears and moves on to campaigning to keep Capitol control.
Rep. Dan Schoen was emotional Friday after the medical marijuana bill passed. At right was Rep. Leon Lillie.

Verdict on hard-fought session shifts to Minnesota voters

Minnesota legislators who are dragging themselves home after an exhausting session now face an even larger challenge — gearing up for a wild election fight.
Minnesota quietly debuted a lottery ticket for the 21st century: a paperless purchase at a gas station pump or ATM, with quick-pick numbers sent via t

Legislative panel moves to ban online scratch-offs

Proposal also would outlaw gas pump and ATM tickets.
Hausman: “Now, the locals … don’t have to wait for it piece by piece.”

$1.1 billion bonding bill goes down to wire

Legislators discovered that a key water project might not qualify under statewide borrowing rules.
Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton delivered his State of the State speech before a joint session of the legislature at the State Capitol in St. Paul Wednesda

$1 billion in state building projects nears final OK

Affordable housing, higher education and convention centers seen as big winners.
Gov. Mark Dayton made a point as he spoke to the media Monday morning about his priorities for the end of the legislative session.

Dayton's veto threat over sprinklers sparks showdown

Dayton, legislative leaders at odds over a home sprinkler ban provision in bonding bill.

Nearly 1 million Minnesotans could see more tax relief

A $103 million tax relief package has bipartisan support in the Legislature.
FILE - This file screen shot made March 13, 2014, shows the Minnesota State Lottery website, which features eScratch Games.

Minnesota lottery officials try to salvage online sales

Minnesota State Lottery officials have been meeting daily with legislators to broker a compromise that would allow them to continue selling tickets online while prohibiting any new initiatives.
Minnesota Revenue Commissioner Myron Frans

Minnesota revenue officials racing to get refunds out

The tax break passed in the middle of filing season has revenue officials scrambling.
The latest concept illustrations depict a redesigned Nicollet Mall that would be a pedestrian-friendly corridor for living, working, shopping and recr

Senate wants $1.16 billion for higher education, transportation, housing

Several Republicans are critical of the proposal, which was unveiled with two weeks left in the session.
Gov. Mark Dayton delivered his state of the state address from the House Chamber Wednesday night. Behind him are Senate President Sandra Pappas and Ho

Thursday: Dayton pushes education, transportation

Gov. Mark Dayton prodded legislators to invest more in education and transportation and to be more ambitious in spending on state projects.
House Speaker Paul Thissen: The time for a deal “is now, right now."

DFLers seek late boost in construction spending

Senate DFLers plan to announce an $850 million spending plan Monday morning, but DFL leaders are trying to persuade Republicans to support a higher amount of state-backed debt.
Jim Oberstar

Jim Oberstar, Iron Range's longtime congressman, dies at 79

First elected from Minnesota's Eighth Congressional District in 1974, he served until he was upset at the polls by Republican Chip Cravaack in 2010.
Minnesota House chamber

Minnesota House OKs gun ban for abusers, stalkers

Stalkers, domestic abusers would be restricted; support is bipartisan.
Tom Bakk

Senate GOP blasts DFLers for consultant

Senate Republicans accuse their Democratic counterparts of paying a consultant who also has special media access to Senate floor debates.The Senate DFL's campaign arm has…
Bree Adams, Domestic Violence advocate for Saint Paul Intervention, spoke before the committee Tuesday, March 25, 2014, at the State Office in St. Pau

Minnesota is close to new gun limits

Minnesota could be on the verge of breakthrough changes in some of its gun laws, as a bipartisan group of lawmakers heads toward passing a bill to end firearm ownership for convicted stalkers and domestic abusers.
FILE - This file screen shot made March 13, 2014, shows the Minnesota State Lottery website, which features eScratch Games.

Minnesota Senate votes to ban online lottery ticket sales

Minnesota’s fledgling online lottery operation has been thrown into jeopardy as the state Senate passed a measure Friday banning Internet lottery ticket sales. The move…

Minnesota Lottery leader feels the heat from Legislature

Bipartisan group of legislators seeks to stop online ticket sales.

Medical marijuana advocates continue push in Minnesota Legislature

Doctors share support, though none were present.
Tina Smith is leaving the Capitol and shifting to retail campaigning.

Dayton's recovery from surgery puts campaign load on running mate

With her boss back in St. Paul recuperating from hip surgery, Tina Smith is front and center in Gov. Mark Dayton's re-election effort.
Spam museum

State pursues new visitors with 'Only in Minnesota' campaign

Tourism officials are spending millions more to reach new markets.
Gov. Mark Dayton

For Minnesota DFL, GOP, the race for campaign cash is on

Fundraising reports help size up governor, House races as they prepare to heat up.
Looking for an edge: House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt has had to find any edge he can in a landscape where DFLers control the governor’s office, the

There's plenty on the line for GOP, House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt

Lacking the votes to block DFL initiatives, Daudt's only real strategy is dragging out floor debates and trying to land body blows where he can.
State Rep. Paul Thissen

DFL is pushing economic equality for women

Legislative measure would tackle income gap and strengthen protections for working women in the state.
Concerned about the size of state spending, Gov. Mark Dayton said he hopes to meet with legislative leaders. “I don’t question the wisdom or the v

Minnesota Senate adds $209 million to spending plan

Proposal has money for education, prisons and raises for home health workers, but Gov. Dayton is wary of growth.

Due a state tax refund? Wait until Thursday to file, state says

Consumers eager to take advantage of rebates for new tax changes should be able to file their forms by Thursday. The Minnesota Revenue Department has…
Advocates rallied for a higher minimum wage, as inflation remained a sticking point.

Key issues stall in Minnesota Legislature

While they are in firm control of the House, the Senate and the governor's office, DFLers have not agreed on the two major issues hanging over the Capitol — the minimum-wage hike and the proposed Senate office building.
Speaking on Thursday were, from left, GOP gubernatorial candidates Dave Thompson, Jeff Johnson, Kurt Zellers, Marty Seifert and Scott Honour.

GOP hopefuls find traction with Senate building

Five who are running for governor made a rare joint appearance to criticize a proposed Senate building.
A group of medical marijuana patients and advocates gathered in front of the governor's residence, earlier this month. A group of 11 later met with Go

Medical marijuana advocates bash Dayton's stance

Backers press for legalization, saying suffering patients shouldn't have to wait for a proposed $2 million study.
Rep. Ann Lenczewski, DFL-Bloomington, chairwoman of the House Taxes Committee, in April 2013.

DFL House leaders want targeted property tax relief

House committees want property tax relief to help homeowners, farmers, renters and businesses.
At stake: The 2018 Super Bowl would be Minnesota’s chance to show off the state and the new stadium before a global audience.

Minnesota legislators weigh Super Bowl tax breaks

A tax relief package designed to lure the Super Bowl to Minneapolis is running up against the limits of bipartisan zeal for cutting taxes at the Capitol this year.
As Gov. Mark Dayton announced a tax relief bill Friday, DFL Sens. Tom Bakk, left, and Rod Skoe shared the celebratory spotlight.

Dayton signs $444M in tax relief; more than a million to see breaks

Bill also bolsters rainy day fund, kills some business taxes
Senate Minority Leader David Hann

GOP senators refuse to be rushed on sweeping tax-relief measure

Gov. Mark Dayton, DFLers criticized the Republican holdouts for delaying the time-sensitive bill.
U.S. Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., visited with pupils and lunched on school food in the cafeteria at Meadow Lake Elementary in New Hope on Monday.

Franken wants free school lunch for more low-income students

Even as Minnesota legislators vote to provide more state aid, the senator vows to ask federal taxpayers to pick up the tab for reduced-priced school meals.

Using surplus, DFL, GOP jockey to be tax-cut heroes

Racing an April 15 target, both sides pile onto the relief bandwagon to repeal or cut taxes and take advantage of the state's budget surplus.
Gov. Mark Dayton

Dayton blasts DFL senators for slow approval of tax relief

Dayton said Senate leaders were holding hostage a middle-class tax-relief package until they get a new multimillion-dollar office building.
U.S. Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., visited with pupils and lunched on school food in the cafeteria at Meadow Lake Elementary in New Hope on Monday.

Franken wants free school lunch for more low-income students

Even as Minnesota legislators vote to provide more state aid, the senator vows to ask federal taxpayers to pick up the tab for reduced-priced school meals.
Gov. Mark Dayton

Tax break proposal isn't likely to reach Dayton's desk by deadline

Governor wants package of tax breaks passed so he can sign it Wednesday
A group of medical-marijuana advocates gathered in front of the governor’s residence, and 11 of them met with Gov. Mark Dayton inside.

Gov. Mark Dayton makes a sudden shift on medical marijuana

After meeting with medical marijuana advocates, Dayton said he would direct his top commissioners and staffers to see if some compromise could be reached in the remaining two months of the legislative session.
Gov. Mark Dayton

Gov. Dayton seeks bigger tax cuts in new budget

His budget calls for $616 million in relief, up from the $500 million sought by House DFLers. Reserves also would get boost.

Dayton plan looks to cut 1,000 laws

Governor targets the outdated and antiquated in a bid to streamline government. The GOP tells him to aim higher.
Tyler and Thom Bieniek had Tyler’s family over to their Sartell home in January to celebrate Thom’s passing his nursing board exam. “There are s

Six months of same-sex marriage: State confronts profound change

Nearly 3,000 couples are settling in to married life and its legal consequences while opponents wrestle with the quick shift.
“This is the best set of numbers we have seen in a while,” said Management and Budget Commissioner Jim Schowalter of the new forecast.

Minnesota budget surplus grows to $1.23 billion

The money gained in a strengthening economy is already igniting a legislative fight over what to do with the windfall.

Minnesota tax relief on fast track in House

With a sizable surplus forecast, House pushes for $500 million in tax breaks.
A new crop of House pages got their marching orders a half-hour before the start of the 2014 session on Tuesday. The session goes until mid-May.

Day 1 of legislative session: Budget surplus fight begins

A nearly $1 billion state surplus and an upcoming election put added pressure on legislators.
Two hundred forty six bills will be introduced into the State Senate Tuesday and Assistant Senate Secretaries Michael Linn and Colleen Pacheco wanted

As session opens, race is on to offer tax relief

GOP jumps the opening gavel, but Dems won't be far behind.

Minnesota Poll: Most say any budget surplus should be returned to taxpayers

Legislators heading back to the Capitol on Tuesday should know two important things about Minnesotans: A strong majority say they still support the new income…
House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt, from left, House Speaker Paul Thissen, Senate Majority Leader Thomas Bakk and Senate Minority Leader David Hann disc

Legislative session sets stage for fierce campaign battle

An intensifying partisan scuffle has already upped the political stakes for the legislative session.
In this file photo, advocates for both sides chant, sing and plead as they lined the entrance to the House floor at the state Capitol in St. Paul on T

Minnesota marriage vote could bring down GOP legislator

Rep. David FitzSimmons is in a fight for his seat as a challenger questions his conservative credentials.
Margaret Miles, left, and Cathy ten Broeke were the first to be wed Thursday at Minneapolis City Hall. Hundreds of relatives, guests and supporters we

Minnesota weddings start a new day for gay marriage

Couples celebrated their new right to wed in midnight ceremonies across the state.
Gov. Mark Dayton’s desk was moved outside so he could sign the gay marriage bill into law in front of several thousand jubilant supporters.

State says 'I do' to same-sex marriage; 7,000 witness signing

"You changed the course of history," Gov. Dayton said as Minnesota became the 12th state to legalize same-sex marriage.
Gov. Mark Dayton, left, with his new Lt. Gov. Tina Smith, at the podium, his former chief of staff, during a press conference Tuesday, Feb. 4. at the

Dayton picks chief of staff Tina Smith for running mate

Chief of staff Tina Smith brings strong business connections, DFL ties and trust from the governor
Yvonne Prettner Solon told reporters Tuesday that she will complete her term.

Jan. 15, 2014: Dayton gets chance to reshape ticket as Lt. Gov. departs

Prettner Solon will finish term but won't join boss in seeking another.
Tina Smith, right, is into her third year as Gov. Mark Dayton’s chief of staff — far longer than most last in the demanding position.

March 16, 2013: Tina Smith: Bridge-builder with a hammer

Tina Smith, "every Republican's favorite Democrat," moves easily among business leaders and DFL elite.
Rendering of the new Vikings stadium.

Minnesota Supreme Court clears the way for new Vikings stadium

Public financing of the $1 billion Vikings stadium is back on track after the Minnesota Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed a last-minute legal challenge that threatened to delay the project.
Macy's in downtown St. Paul

St. Paul Port Authority committee approves purchase of Macy's store

The agency will try to encourage reuse of the building.
Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton

Republicans lean on MNsure to make case against Dayton

Rocky rollout could hurt governor in campaign for a second term. But DFLers are confident problems will be resolved.
Sept. 6, 2013: MNsure director April Todd-Malmlov talks about MNsure. On the left is health commissioner Dr. Ed. Ehlinger; on the right is commerce co

Embattled MNsure director resigns amid criticism

With enrollment deadline looming, exchange board replaces April Todd-Malmlov with veteran health care leader Scott Leitz.