Staff Directory 6370482

Lori Sturdevant

Editorial writer and columnist | Opinion
Phone: 612-673-4505

Lori Sturdevant is a retired Star Tribune editorial writer and columnist who has written about Minnesota government and politics since 1978. She is also the author or editor of 11 books about notable Minnesotans. 

Sturdevant is a native of Dell Rapids, S.D., and a graduate of Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. She has been a member of Coe's board of trustees for 30 years. Sturdevant lives in St. Paul with her husband. They have three grown children.
Recent content from Lori Sturdevant
“Why has growth [of workers] stopped? Baby boomer retirements, for one thing. A slowdown in international immigration for another. But a disconcerti

Calling all workers was session's Job One

The growth of workers in Minnesota has stopped, and that needs to be addressed.
“If dedicated revenue sources are allowed to lag behind inflation for a decade or three or four, transportation systems suffer, perhaps as much as t

Fixed-price gas tax leaves state roads in bad shape

Inflation is speeding ahead while our funding is idling.
“Gov. Tim Walz and the House DFL majority have both announced plans for a Social Security income tax cut that falls short of a full exemption,” Lo

On Social Security taxes, Minnesota seniors need a talking to

And legislators should be willing to do the talking.
Shepard Road in St. Paul was reduced from 50 to 35 MPH because of all the potholes, cars are seen driving on Shepard Road near Davern Street on Friday

Potholes and taxes in St. Paul

A few decades of disregard on several levels explains the current 1% sales tax proposal.
Entrance to the campus of the University of Minnesota

All U needs is love — at the Capitol

The University of Minnesota is crucial to our state's health, and it would be wise for the governor to show it.
“It would seem that a party that has long been suspicious of registration at the polls would welcome a change that gets more people on voter rolls i

Minnesota's voting reforms are 50 years in the making

They'll be labeled "extreme," but those who have been paying attention know better.
Michael Noble of Fresh Energy spoke at the bill signing on Feb. 7, where Gov. Tim Walz signed into law legislation that will move Minnesota utilities

Capping a clean energy career with a breakthrough

Michael Noble has now seen major climate legislation signed into law, but he's not done advocating for our future.
Former U.S. Sen. Dave Durenberger, photographed in 2020, has died at the age of 88.

'We need more Dave Durenbergers'

That's I what often heard voters say to the late senator. They're right.
The Minnesota State Capitol in St. Paul, where the legislative session opened last week.

DFL may go big, and that wouldn't be bad

Some policy moves are worth making, even if they come at a political price.
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz reviews notes before speaking about the state’s budget Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2022, at the Minnesota Department of Revenue in St.

Future well-being should top agenda for 2023

Minnesota's surplus is an opportunity to lead.
Voters fill out their ballots Nov. 8 at Emerson Dual Language School in Minneapolis.

One Minnesota dream meets two-Minnesota reality

This election, red got redder and blue got bluer, and we'll suffer because of that.
Many Minnesotans have registered on Election Day at least once, and most will tell you that it was easy, convenient and safe.

Same-day voter registration works in Minnesota

It helps more people vote, and is considered less prone to fraud than pre-registration. Why would we want to take that away?
A view of the Minnesota State Capitol on Thursday, May 16, 2019. (Glen Stubbe/Minneapolis Star Tribune/TNS) ORG XMIT: 48489742W

Abolishing state income taxes could be a costly mistake

Balancing that budget loss would require enormous spending cuts, increases in other taxes, or both.
Around 250 people gather at the State Capitol in St. Paul, Minn., on September 13, 2021, to show their support for abortion rights and to protest the

The swing districts of 2022

A Lake Minnetonka-area state Senate race could turn on the abortion issue.
Above, the view from the Minnesota State Capitol.

The Minnesota muddle

Citizens have come to accept state government dysfunction as normal, and that's not good.
A flare burns natural gas at an oil well on Aug. 26, 2021, in Watford City, N.D.

Gas costs, climate crisis fuel a dilemma

Legislators must know we're running out of time to make meaningful policy changes.
Gov. Tim Walz leaves the podium as he finishes a news conference on Monday about the state’s latest economic forecast, including a more than $9 bill

A skeptic's view of the state surplus

The world has changed since that forecast was made.
Abortion rights advocates demonstrate in front of the U.S. Supreme Court on Dec. 1, in Washington.

In post-Roe Minnesota, abortion could be a potent political issue

Under state court precedent, it would be difficult to outlaw abortion in our state. But it's not unthinkable.
Climate activists attend a protest organized by the COP26 Coalition on Nov. 6 in Glasgow, Scotland, which was the host city of the COP26 U.N. Climate

Minnesota, the Midwest are central in combating climate change

For progress to occur, representative democracy will have to work better in these parts than it has in several decades.
Former Minneapolis Mayor Sharon Sayles-Belton: “The people who put Question 2 on the ballot have a vision, but they don’t have a plan. If you want

City Question 2: The nuanced message of a 'no' vote

Former Mayor Sharon Sayles Belton has a good sense of what will motivate voters and what parallels to draw.
Former Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie delivered a speech to the Bureau International des Expositions in 2017. Minnesota’s bid that year t

Expo could be just what Minnesota's battered reputation needs

My hunch is that the state benefits when the world is given a glimpse of what this place does right.
Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka is said to be considering a run for Minnesota governor in 2023.

No good commissioner goes unpunished

Confirmation as a blood sport makes government service ever less appealing to top talent.
Tom Swain, above in 2004, has created the Swain Climate Policy Series at the University of Minnesota.

Approaching 100, 'Citizen Swain' takes on climate change

Tom Swain's eagerness to take on big issues has led to the creation of the new Swain Climate Policy Series at the University of Minnesota.
Due to COVID restrictions, the Minnesota State Capitol remained fenced off to the public Jan. 4, the day before the start of the 2021 regular session

The politics of obstruction, Minnesota-style

Like the much-debated U.S. Senate filibuster, Minnesota's requirement of a supermajority to pass bonding bills is under scrutiny, and should be.
The Minnesota Legislature has the chance to pass legislation giving more support to families in need of child care.

Finally, women's value to workforce is acknowledged

It's beyond time for the state to provide more support for child care.
Scott Newman, R-Hutchinson, is the author of new voter ID legislation in the Minnesota Senate.

Voter ID is back to haunt Minnesota democracy

The rejection of a constitutional amendment in 2012 should have been persuasive to proponents of this bad idea, but it wasn't.
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz speaks from the Governor’s Reception room at the State Capitol, to discuss the latest steps in his response to COVID-19, on

The sorry state of 'One Minnesota' needs attention from Walz

He'll need broad support in order to lead effectively, and in November 2022.
A line of voters stood outside of First United Methodist Church as the sun rose in Duluth, Minn., on Nov. 3.

Minnesota voters still cross party lines

Recent trends toward partisan allegiance work against good government. Thankfully, some ticket-splitters remain with us.
The Supreme Court building in Washington, early on Oct. 12, before the first confirmation hearing for Judge Amy Coney Barrett, President Donald Trump�

Packing the court to save it? A Minnesota judicial moderate ponders

When word came that Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg had died, one name popped out of my mental source file: retired Minnesota Supreme Court…
Mindy Greiling and her son, Jim.

REVIEW: 'Fix What You Can,' by Mindy Greiling

NONFICTION: A former legislator shares the compelling story of her son's schizophrenia.
Protesters gathered at the Capitol in St. Paul to protest climate change inaction in September of 2019.

If we wait any longer to take climate change seriously, it will be too late

Yet the Republican-led state Senate isn't taking the threat seriously.
Todd Gallagher prepares mail in ballot envelopes including an I Voted sticker, July 29, in Minneapolis.

Voters show every sign of turning out in force this year

Even if unprecedented numbers stay home while doing it.
The Minnesota Legislature met in special session July 13. Social distancing requires a small number of legislators in the House Chamber. The rest part

One (half) cheer for the Legislature

The failure to pass the bonding bill is painful.
George Floyd’s growing memorial outside Cup Foods at East 38th Street and Chicago Avenue on June 16..

In the fight for racial equity, why did the spark catch here, now?

The demography of our city and state, and how it's changed, can bring some insight to the big question many of us are asking.
Higher education, like the University of Minnesota, faces a budget crisis amid the pandemic.

Minnesota's higher education is facing a crisis

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the usual way of rebalancing budgets will put our colleges and universities at risk.

Minnesotans eager to vote as always — but not in the old way

It's up to legislators to tap the federal funding, update certain rules and bring clarity.
Researcher Lee Munnich in 2003.

Telework's moment of true arrival is bound to make ripples in Minnesota

The change we've been forced to make is likely to stick to some degree. And that has implications for Minnesota road funding.
Voters waited in line at the Peace United Church of Christ in Duluth's 15th precinct to cast their vote on Tuesday.

How it turned out for Minnesota to have a primary

Minnesota is not done figuring out how to do things best in total.
Rep. Alice Hausman, DFL-St. Paul, at a news conference in 2016.

Minnesota Legislature's main event this year: the housing shortage

State Rep. Alice Hausman will be found leading the charge.
In 2010, promoters of the 2010 U.S. census held an event at the Midtown Global Market to encourage participation. The same spirit will be needed this

Excuse the pun: This census really counts for Minnesota

Federal funding and a congressional seat are in the balance for the state.
Illustration by Edel Rodriguez for the Star Tribune

Race in America: The conversation is not over

The way forward? Defend legal gains, but above all discuss, says a Minnesota civil-rights activist.

After nearly a century, has time arrived for ERA?

Every half-century or so, the quest to protect women's rights inches ahead.

Trump vs. Congress: A fundamental concern

Others can analyze the politics. I worry about the future of checks and balances.
Tom Horner in 2010, when he was the gubernatorial candidate of the Independence Party. He does not favor third parties on the national stage in 2020.

Minnesotans, don't be the spoilers in 2020

This state's voters long have supported third parties, but there's too much at risk in 2020.

Trade-war objections: You won't keep 'em down, on the farms

When a Farmers Union president speaks …
Duluth's experience requesting a sales tax boost is informative.

How cities raise money in modern-era Minnesota

Things aren't as rough as they were, but the state-local partnership needs a tuneup.

On clean energy, 'just say no' is turning into a political no-no

It's a good way to lose elections, based on the evidence from, say, western Minnesota.
Tim Flaherty

A 'just say no' status quo prevails at the State Capitol, I fear

Politics was once a means to an end. Now it's just the end.
Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan.

Time to step up for the poorest of the poor

The state's MFIP program is overdue for a boost, and Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan can attest to both its value and its worthiness.
A ONE-MINNESOTA ADMINISTRATOR: Former House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher, now transportation commissioner.

Could you sell a gas tax statewide?

That's the task before MnDOT's new leader, Margaret Anderson Kelliher. Who is suited to it.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar will announce Sunday if she's running for president.

Ranked choice might be right for primaries (and Klobuchar)

Amy Klobuchar is the type of candidate who might benefit from this voting method, and its use could be more than just a pipe dream.
Sen. Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook, isn’t aligned with advocates of a nonpartisan redistricting commission. He wants to maximize his region’s clout.

Redistricting reform can't wait; so say its advocates

The push for a nonpartisan panel to draw political maps is needed now, before the new census breeds temptation, they argue.

How to hold onto Minnesota exceptionalism? Look to the immigrants who built, and are still building, a future here

Look to the immigrants who built — and are still building — a future here.
State Rep. Connie Bernardy, DFL-New Brighton.

The near future of higher ed at the State Capitol

Let's check in with two new legislative committee leaders about the challenges they'll face.
Gov.-elect Tim Walz and Lt. Gov.-elect Peggy Flanagan huddled in a hallway before addressing the budget forecast at a State Capitol news conference Th

Circumstances thrust a critical issue on the governor-elect

It's climate change. Time is short, and the White House isn't doing the job. What can a state do? Plenty.
A long line formed at the tiny one room of Douglas Town Hall on Election Day on Tuesday, November 6, 2018, in the area of Douglas Township, Minn.

How to make government better? You have plenty to say

And so do two leading voices on the subject who are in town. (Ranked-choice voting, anyone?)
Math doesn't add up on state Social Security tax cut

Math doesn't add up on state Social Security tax cut

Exempting Social Security from taxes now would take an ever-bigger bite from state treasury.
U.S. Reps. Collin Peterson will be entering his 15th term.

Peterson, Emmer bridge the divide of geography and party

So perhaps U.S. Reps. Collin Peterson and Tom Emmer have something to show us.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar arrived at the DFL headquarters election party on Tuesday. Tellingly, she had been on Stephen Colbert’s late-night show the day b

Presidential prospects for the 'senator next door'

The style that's won Klobuchar so much Minnesota support can transfer — and is beginning to.

Your vote against hate this year will matter

That's a mission that events at the end of this campaign season have necessitated.

Economy is humming, but many candidates are running on fear

With low jobless rate, rising incomes, pols have a window to address tough issues.

We're in the danger zone of distrust

But there's a way out. It entails building relationships — for real, not for the sake of saying so.
Climate-news highlights gulf between congressional candidates Hagedorn and Feehan

Climate-news highlights gulf between congressional candidates Hagedorn and Feehan

Who are you going to believe about climate change — 91 scientists from 40 countries who draw conclusions from more than 6,000 scientific studies, or…

2018 campaign further widening our gender gap

How far apart are men and women? Watch midterm elections for a sign.

Retiring chamber leader Blazar has a message he hopes has staying power

Immigration and Minnesota: Better together.

Minnesota's business leaders want a commitment from candidates, and it's not tax cuts

Do would-be governors know the tools to solve a skilled-worker shortage?
Joe Radinovich, then a state representative, in 2014. As a Republican super-PAC attacks the DFL congressional candidate for past driving infractions,

Hyperbolic attack ads, anti-Radinovich edition

Here's what you really ought to know about the candidate.
DFL challenger Dean Phillips and Republican U.S. Rep. Erik Paulsen greeted each other at the end of their debate in August.

Congressional candidate Dean Phillips wages his own kind of challenge

He stresses campaign finance reform in his bid to unseat Rep. Erik Paulsen, even as national party pols resist that tack.
Hubert Humphrey (in 1966) was the Democratic presidential candidate in 1968.

New book on a favorite son holds timeless truths and tantalizing what ifs

Humphrey biography highlights importance of acting on one's principles.
Gov. Mark Dayton took the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge at the Minnesota State Fair in 2014. It’s a moment in his State Fair history, which also includes

Interviewing Gov. Mark Dayton at the Minnesota State Fair, year eight

He's been remarkably consistent about his policy priorities. The basics don't change, he says.
Newer kids on the block: DFLer Tim Walz, left, and Republican Jeff Johnson won their respective gubernatorial primaries on Tuesday. Their opponents in

We're not in 2006 anymore, candidates and pundits

Minnesota has changed over 12 years, and the primaries showed it.
Jim Nichols with Erin Murphy at Farmfest. Nichols, a southwestern Minnesota farmer and elder statesman in state politics, is endorsing Murphy this yea

A word from Farmfest: State may soon be managing a crisis

In that context, a former ag commissioner is backing Erin Murphy for governor.

He's no longer a candidate, but Chris Coleman still stumps hard — for affordable housing

Otherwise, there's very little talk about this topic.
#MeToo has not subsided. It's on this year's ballot.

#MeToo has not subsided. It's on this year's ballot.

Witness Rick Nolan's troubles. Witness resentment over Al Franken's departure.
State Rep. Sheldon Johnson, DFL-St. Paul, during this year’s session.

Retiring legislator continues to serve by telling the story of what beset him

Sheldon Johnson wants to get the word out about his insidious nemesis: Lyme disease.