Staff Directory 6370582

Rochelle Olson

Reporter | Politics and Government
Phone: 612-673-1747

Rochelle Olson is a reporter on the politics and government team.


Olson has covered St. Paul and Minneapolis City Halls, Ramsey and Hennepin county governments as well as courts and state government. Before joining the Star Tribune in 2000, Olson worked for eight years with the Associated Press in Kansas City, Topeka, Charleston, W.Va. and St. Paul. She has a master's degree from the University of Kansas and a bachelor's from Hamline University. She grew up in Bloomington. She loves to swim and do yoga.
Recent content from Rochelle Olson
Nicole Powers mopped the floors at the 50-yard-line seats on Wednesday at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. She was part of a crew deep-cleaning the s

Reserves enough to pay off U.S. Bank Stadium 20 years early

Minnesota Vikings support early payoff of stadium. The gigantic stadium reserve — projected to top $1 billion by 2027 if untapped — was part of a healthy economic forecast Tuesday.
Mario Corona navigated his way through the 2022 Ice Palace Maze at the Zephyr Theatre in Stillwater.

Vikings' headquarters will be new site for Ice Maze in January

Maze's departure from Stillwater is part of the fallout from the financial collapse of the Zephyr Theatre.
Sam Bankman-Fried, the founder and chief executive of FTX, in the Bahamas last April.

Minnesota campaigns received donations from crypto leaders before FTX collapse

Former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried and an executive colleague were major political donors nationwide.
Jerry Hammer, executive vice president and general manager of the Minnesota State Fair, has spent his working life with the Great Minnesota Get-Togeth

Minnesota State Fair CEO Jerry Hammer retiring after 26 years

Hammer says he's not vanishing but it's time, after serving in the top job for longer than anyone.
New House Minority Leader Lisa Demuth, R-Cold Spring, is the first woman and person of color to lead the GOP caucus.

Lisa Demuth is first woman, person of color to lead Minnesota House GOP caucus

She describes her style as collaborative, leaves "wide open" the possibility of working with Democrats.
Sen. Kari Dziedzic emerged from a DFL caucus meeting as the new majority leader. Behind her are Sen. Ann Rest, new tax chair, Sen. Bobby Joe Champion,

DFL senators choose Kari Dziedzic as new majority leader

Four new DFL Senate caucus leaders all come from the Twin Cities. House Democrats and Senate Republicans also picked their leadership teams.
Sen. Doug Johnson in his office at the Capitol with one of his trophy fish on the wall in the background on June 10, 1991.

Gubernatorial candidate, longtime DFL state Sen. Doug 'Dougie' Johnson dies at 80

Retired from the Legislature in 2003, the savvy Iron Range DFLer stayed active in politics until the end.
State Auditor Julie Blaha

State Auditor Blaha declares victory, Wilson concedes in closest statewide matchup

DFL incumbent plans to keep focus on local governments; GOP challenger had wanted to broaden the office's scope.
Rep. Tom Emmer, right, spoke at the congressional forum at Farmfest, next to DFL challenger Jeanne Hendricks on Aug. 2.

Republican Tom Emmer beats little-known challenger in Minnesota CD6, eyes House leadership role

GOP congressman nails down a fifth term in the red stronghold of northern to southwestern Twin Cities suburbs.
DFL Congresswoman Ilhan Omar greets supporters as they gather for the election night party at the Eastro Restaurant & Event Center in Minneapolis, Min

Ilhan Omar easily wins re-election in Minnesota's 5th Congressional District

Omar has represented the district since 2018 after one term in the state House of Representatives.
Democratic Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes and GOP U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson.

Spending for Wisconsin's main statewide races towers over Minnesota

U.S. Senate race between Democrat Mandela Barnes and incumbent Republican Ron Johnson is critical to party control in D.C.
U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum stopped to view a massive crochet art instillation during the “Rise for Roe” event to rally voters Saturday in St. Paul.

In late push for Minn. voters, GOP takes to air, DFLers play ground game

Campaigns try to energize their voters and get them to turn out on Nov. 8.
Former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura, who was elected as a member of the Reform Party, is backing DFL Gov. Tim Walz for re-election.

Ventura blasts Republicans over Jan. 6, election denials

He praised Walz's handling of COVID-19 and compared Donald Trump to cult leader Jim Jones.
Former Minnesota governor Jesse Ventura is backing DFL Gov. Tim Walz’s re-election bid.

Ventura endorses Walz, citing strong leadership, COVID protections

State GOP calls Ventura a "discredited conspiracy theorist."
Then-President Donald Trump at Target Center in Minneapolis in 2019.

Trump endorsements test former president's Minnesota influence

Political scientists say Trump's support won't help and could hurt GOP candidates with swing voters.
Ben Jay, the new executive director of the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority

U.S. Bank Stadium gets new public oversight chief from California

Ben Jay will step in as executive director of the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority, at a salary of $192,000.
Steve Sviggum resigned as vice chair of the University of Minnesota Board of Regents on Tuesday, though he will continue as a regent until his term en

Sviggum steps down as vice chairman of U regents

Former House speaker faced increasing criticism for asking whether Morris campus is "too diverse." He will continue as a regent until his term expires.
Minnesota attorney general candidates DFL incumbent Keith Ellison, left, and Republican challenger Jim Schultz debated each other at St. Paul College.

Minnesota AG, secretary of state candidates face off in TV debates

The four candidates were on KSTP-TV about two weeks before Election Day.
Gov. Tim Walz, seen here at a campaign stop in Rochester, spoke at the Minnesota Business Partnership dinner, which convened for the first time since

Gov. Walz tells Minnesota business leaders his job is to listen to them

The DFLer spoke at the annual gathering of big shots at the Minnesota Business Partnership meeting.
University of Minnesota’s Regent Steve Sviggum, Friday, June 10, 2022 Minneapolis.

Twin Cities Native American group wants Sviggum removed from U Board of Regents immediately

Sviggum's mention of Morris is painful to American Indian community because of history as a boarding school and free tuition for tribal members.
State officials announced the new money at Flava Coffee & Cafe, owned by Shaunie Grigsby.

Minnesota launches $100 million effort to help new small businesses

Walz, Grove showcase website and highlight first phase of the plan at new Frogtown coffee shop.
University of Minnesota Regents Vice Chair Steve Sviggum said he is “truly sorry” to those he harmed or offended.

Sviggum 'unequivocally' apologizes for asking whether Morris campus is 'too diverse'

The former Minnesota House speaker issued a written statement amid calls for his resignation.
University of Minnesota’s Regent Steve Sviggum, Friday, June 10, 2022 Minneapolis.

U Regents Vice Chair Steve Sviggum asks if Morris campus is 'too diverse'

Sviggum, a former Republican legislative leader, says it's fair to ask the question.
Gov. Tim Walz walked into a news conference about the unrest in the wake of George Floyd’s killing in 2020, accompanied by Maj. Gen. Jon Jensen, adj

GOP opponent who never served criticizes Walz's exit from Guard

Former state Sen. Scott Jensen, who narrowly avoided the Vietnam-era draft, said Gov. Tim Walz's departure from the guard after 24 years of service is an example of the governor shirking his duties.
Republican challenger Jim Schultz and Democratic Attorney General Keith Ellison shook hands before a debate Friday in St. Paul.

Ellison, Schultz debate priorities, experience, plans for the attorney general's office

Republican Jim Schultz wants to redirect office to focus on crime, Democrat Keith Ellison says the mandate is to represent state agencies.
Judge Charles Webber

Scott County judge faces the only judicial race in Minnesota

Charles Webber's challenger is a young lawyer from Prior Lake.
DFL Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan, left, and GOP lieutenant governor candidate Matt Birk.

Birk, Flanagan want voters to weigh what they bring to ticket

Minnesota's lieutenant governor candidates differ greatly in style, substance.
Hennepin County Sheriff David Hutchinson.

Hutchinson's officer license suspended for a month after DWI crash

The Hennepin County sheriff has been on unspecified medical leave since May.
GOP gubernatorial candidate Scott Jensen

Campaign check: Jensen repeats false rumor that Minnesota schools have litter boxes for 'furry' students

The GOP candidate for governor has made the claim multiple times without offering proof. The Minnesota Department of Education says it's not happening.
State DFL party chairman Ken Martin said Republican attorney general candidate Jim Schultz has “very very extreme anti-abortion” views.

DFL says Republican AG nominee Schultz's history on abortion is dangerous

DFL state chair says "bring it on" to Schultz's threatened defamation lawsuit.
DFL Secretary of State Steve Simon, left, and GOP challenger Kim Crockett.

GOP's Crockett won't commit to accepting Nov. election results

Incumbent Secretary of State Steve Simon, a Democrat, says Minnesota elections have safeguards and are secure. Republican challenger Kim Crockett raised doubts about election integrity.
U.S. Bank Stadium ANTHONY SOUFFLE • anthony.souffle@startribune.com

U.S. Bank Stadium won't host Kansas City-Tampa Bay game Sunday

U.S. Bank Stadium won't play host to the NFL's marquee game Sunday night because Tampa Bay was spared extensive damage from Hurricane Ian, the Buccaneers announced Thursday.
Winona State University is one of the Minnesota colleges and universities participating in the Direct Admissions program.

New state program aims to ease transition to college

Direct Admissions seeks to close equity gaps in education.
US Bank Stadium was packed the rafters with fans during Super Bowl LII Sunday night.  ] AARON LAVINSKY • aaron.lavinsky@startribune.com

Best of S

Minneapolis will host Buccaneers vs. Chiefs if hurricane forces game to move

The NFL's premier game this weekend would move across the country to U.S, Bank Stadium if the damage from Hurricane Ian forces the league to relocate it from Florida.
Chain link fence outside U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.

U.S. Bank Stadium may get new, permanent security fencing

The Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority directed staffers to choose a firm to design the fence and landscaping. The Minnesota Vikings have sought the fencing since the building opened in 2016.
The poll found most Minnesotans feel safe in their neighborhood, although one respondent said he doesn’t frequent downtown Minneapolis as much.

Minnesota Poll: 54% say crime has increased past few years

Just over half say crime is up, just under half say it's about the same.
DFL Sixth District candidate Jeanne Hendricks and her supporters walked in the Steamboat Days parade.

Carver Steamboat Days parade brings out politicians, firetrucks, MyPillow and candy

But the biggest names, including Rep. Tom Emmer, were absent.
Jerry Hammer, executive vice president and general manager of the Minnesota State Fair, has spent his working life with the Great Minnesota Get-Togeth

Longtime State Fair general manager says he is paid $350,000

Jerry Hammer released his salary in response to a written request even though it's not public.
Ruth Richardson has been named the new CEO at Planned Parenthood North Central States.

Richardson says she can balance Planned Parenthood work, legislative duties

Two-term DFLer says she won't lobby or vote on direct funding issues.
U.S. Rep. Dean Phillips has been hosting “Common Ground” conversations with constituents from across the political spectrum.

Rep. Dean Phillips' 'Common Ground' gatherings aim to bridge divide

The congressman says he's trying to show we have more that unites than divides us.
Olivia Barr, 25, of Minneapolis, was pleasantly surprised when she learned last month that virtually all her student debt would be canceled owing to t

Minnesotans who get student loan relief could face tax bill

Some DFL legislators are pressing for a quick Capitol deal to avoid higher taxes for borrowers.
From left, Gov. Tim Walz, Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan, Scott Jensen, Matt Birk.

Walz calls on Jensen and Birk to release their tax returns

Walz released his months ago, says it's tradition for gubernatorial candidates.
U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum is the longest serving member of Minnesota’s current congressional delegation.

Rep. McCollum visits Finland, Norway to support allies

Finland, Sweden successfully applied to join NATO after Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
DFL Attorney General Keith Ellison and GOP challenger Jim Schultz

AG candidates say they would beef up criminal prosecutions

Ellison said he wants to keep up consumer protections, while Schultz wants to depoliticize the office.
Review: 'Acceptance,' by  Emi Nietfeld

Review: 'Acceptance,' by Emi Nietfeld

Don't Miss
Kassius Benson

Chief Hennepin Public Defender under federal investigation for tax evasion

State Chief Ward says he's aware of the situation and Benson is presumed innocent
A large crowd attended the last day of the Minnesota State Fair in 2021.

State Fair, state officials expect a safe event with strong security

Governor, public safety officials spoke on fairgrounds before Thursday's opening.
Jerry Hammer, executive vice president and general manager of the Minnesota State Fair, has spent his working life with the Great Minnesota Get-Togeth

Longtime State Fair manager invites everyone back to the 'celebration of humanity'

At 67, general manager Jerry Hammer shows no sign he's ready to retire.
Gov. Tim Walz, Scott Jensen turn up the volume on public safety pitch to voters

Gov. Tim Walz, Scott Jensen turn up the volume on public safety pitch to voters

Governor convened a news conference outside U.S. Bank Stadium, Jensen decries lawlessness.
Unofficial results show about 18% of Minnesota’s eligible voters participated in Tuesday’s primary.

Primary turnout 'strong' given absence of hot statewide races, Minnesota secretary of state says

Unofficial numbers show primary turnout of 18%, shy of four years ago when competitive gubernatorial contests led the ballot.
In this file photo, U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., spoke at New Hampshire Technical Institute’s Concord Community College in February 2020.

Klobuchar says negotiated drug prices will help all consumers

The pharmaceutical industry fiercely opposed the measure.
Gov. Tim Walz inspected the walleye he caught while Chairman Faron Jackson Sr. of the Leech Lake band of Ojibwe pulls up the camera on his phone durin

Walz announces 2023 fishing opener will be in Mankato hometown

Gov. Tim Walz says this is the fifth time the opener has been in southern Minnesota. There are more than 150 lakes within 30 minutes of Mankato, according to the governor's office.
Attorney Erick Kaardal, who has devoted most of his 20-year legal career to suing the government, is representing the Traverse County attorney in the

Traverse County prosecutor wants to appeal ruling declaring abortion restrictions unconstitutional

Judge Thomas Gilligan will again make the ruling, plaintiff expects to appeal.
Rep. Tony Albright resigned his office early, even though he wasn’t seeking re-election.

Prior Lake legislator Tony Albright leaves office early for new job

The GOP representative is in his fifth term, wasn't seeking re-election.
U.S. Bank Stadium

With fewer local cops, U.S. Bank Stadium will seek off-duty officers from outside Minneapolis

The stadium board officially expanded its joint powers agreement in a vote Wednesday.
Attorney General Keith Ellison

Minnesota, other states reach tentative $4.25 billion settlement with major opioid manufacturer

Ellison says he will review the Teva Pharmaceuticals settlement.
Hennepin County Sheriff David Hutchinson

Hennepin County investigating complaints against Sheriff Hutchinson

Probe started in April, and the sheriff went on paid medical leave for unspecified reasons in May.
Nathan McGuire lost his job as Woodbury High School girls’ basketball coach after being defamed by a disgruntled parent.

Ex-Woodbury girls' basketball coach wins defamation suit against parent

Nathan McGuire received $50,000 and a signed letter from the parent admitting she lied about him.
Community members stood Saturday during a vigil held by family of Yee Lee and Molly Cheng at the site where rescuers found the bodies of Cheng and the

Lakeside vigil held for Maplewood family of five

Mother, father, three children dead in what authorities say were two suicides and three homicides.
Former Minneapolis police officers J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao are charged with aiding and abetting both second-degree murder and second-degree ma

Trial of two remaining ex-officers in George Floyd's killing moved to October

The trial was previously set for June, then January, but the prosecution pushed for August.
Lou Raguse spoke with defendant Jamal Smith in April at the Hennepin County jail.

Judge says KARE 11 reporter doesn't have to testify in Hwy. 169 road rage killing trial

Prosecutor sought to compel Lou Raguse to talk about his interview with the defendant
Kassius Benson

Hennepin chief public defender still has private clients while in public office

Minnesota law requires public defenders to be devoted full time to the job.
Mourners prepare before a funeral in August 2021 for Jay Boughton, who was fatally shot after a brief altercation in Plymouth traffic.

TV reporter fights Hennepin prosecutor's subpoena in Hwy. 169 shooting case

KARE 11's Lou Raguse had jailhouse interview with the defendant.
James Schinder, with the Chanhassen American Legion Post 580 honor guard, stood in salute after placing the commemorative wreath during a Memorial Day

Minnesotans streamed to parks, fairgrounds for summer kickoff

Canceled flights made for a frustrating holiday weekend for longer-distance travelers.
Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison ran towards the stage after being endorsed during the DFL state convention.

Attorney General Keith Ellison easily wins DFL endorsement for second term

Delegates also endorsed Secretary of State Steve Simon, who is seeking a third term.
Minnesota Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan and Gov. Tim Walz shared a laugh after they both accepted their endorsements Friday during the 2022 State DFL Conven

Minnesota DFLers endorse Walz, Flanagan for second term

The first day of the party's state convention focused on incumbents' track records and the possibility that Roe v. Wade could be overturned.
Former Minneapolis police officer Thomas Lane, right, entered the Hennepin County Public Safety Facility in 2020 with his attorney Earl Gray.

Ex-officer Lane pleads guilty to charge for role in Floyd's murder

Thomas Lane was one of three officers convicted in federal court and expected to face trial next month on state charges. In exchange for the plea, Lane agreed to a sentence of three years, to be served concurrently with his federal sentence for violating Floyd's civil rights. That sentence has yet to be handed down.
Toshira Garraway, with Families Supporting Families Against Police Violence, leads a chant of “Amir Locke” during a news conference Wednesday outs

Legal experts say Locke decision shows that law must change

Experts say case shows changes to the law, but they urge more investigation, verification by police before entering homes.
James D. Blue

Orono man pleads guilty in crash that killed 2, including Motzko's son

The plea does not include an agreement between the defense and prosecution about James D. Blue's sentence in the crash, which killed Mack Motzko, 20, the son of U men's hockey coach Bob Motzko.
A panoramic view of the field can be seen through the window of the United Healthcare Sensory Suite.

Twins unveil new sensory room at Target Field in advance of home opener this week

Results of $30 million audiovisual upgrades won't be apparent until 2023.
Sun Country jets on the tarmac at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport at the airline’s maintenance facility.

Final Four organizers say Sun Country canceled team welcome space at last minute

When hometown airline Sun Country backed out, Delta Air Lines stepped in to provide a hangar and charter flights for some of the women's Final Four teams last week, organizers and the airlines said.
UConn guard Paige Bueckers was pressed in Sunday’s championship game by South Carolina guard Destanni Henderson.

Final Four weekend a marker on Minneapolis' road to recovery

Visitors, positive publicity left leaders feeling good about a return from pandemic and civic struggles.
Young fans held a sign for UConn star guard Paige Bueckers during the NCAA women’s basketball championship game Sunday night at Target Center.

Many came to 'see Paige play,' but South Carolina takes title

The NCAA Women's FInal Four this weekend breathed life back into downtown Minneapolis after two years of a pandemic that kept workers and tourists away.
Crews installed a replica of the Women’s NCAA Championship trophy on 1st Avenue in front of Target Center in Minneapolis on Thursday.

Women's Final Four fans arrive in Minneapolis ready for action

The first two games are set for Friday; finalists will face off on Sunday.
Pennsylvania’s Lia Thomas won the women’s 500-yard freestyle at the NCAA championships on March 17.

NCAA looks to phase in rules for transgender athletes

NCAA President Mark Emmert, speaking in advance of the women's Final Four basketball weekend at Target Center, said the NCAA is looking to phase in standards similar to those employed by the Olympics.