Posted at 2:09 PM on January 20, 2012
by Brett Neely
Filed under: U.S. Senate
WASHINGTON - DFL Sen. Amy Klobuchar has invited Alexandria Technical Community College President Kevin Kopischke to next week's State of the Union address.
Members of Congress are allowed to bring a guest to major presidential addresses to both chambers of Congress and many use the opportunity to highlight issues important to them and their constituents.
In a statement, Klobuchar hailed Alexandria Tech's "tremendous success" and highlighted one of the school's manufacturing programs that has a 96 percent job placement rate.
The Obama Administration has made improving technical and community colleges a key part of strategy for improving the skills of American workers and boosting the nation's exports.
WASHINGTON - Even as all eyes are on tomorrow's Republican presidential primary in South Carolina, Texas Rep. Ron Paul has set his sights on Minnesota, where his campaign plans a "substantial" TV ad purchase ahead of the state's caucuses on Feb. 7. Paul's campaign is also buying ads in Nevada which holds its caucus on Feb. 4.
The heavy metal-themed ad entitled, "Big Dog," asks, "What's up with these sorry politicians? Lots of bark but when it's showtime, whimpering like little shih tzus."
Unlike his GOP rivals, Paul's campaign strategy is to accumulate delegates loyal to him at this summer's Republican convention by performing well in caucuses. Paul has an army of devoted supporters who he's hoping will turn out and support his insurgent candidacy.
In contrast, other candidates such as Mitt Romney are hoping to secure the nomination by winning big in primaries, which often feature winner-take-all delegates.
"Running ads in the key early voting states of Nevada and Minnesota is part of our delegate strategy to secure the Republican nomination. Both states present opportunities for a strong top-three showing in their upcoming caucuses," said Ron Paul 2012 National Campaign Chairman Jesse Benton.(4 Comments)
Governor Mark Dayton said this week that Ramsey County needs to come up with a "Plan C" for its bid for a Vikings stadium.
Reviewing the stadium bids submitted to him last week, the governor said Wednesday that the half-percent sales tax initially proposed by the county wasn't going to get a pass from the Legislature. State law requires a local referendum, and opponents are already well into a campaign to stop it.
An analysis distributed by the state says food and beverage taxes will like face the same hurdle, namely a referendum requirement and no legislative exemption.
The governor said the county needs to come up with a third way to stay in the stadium game.
But the county board agenda for next week makes no mention of any stadium. It's the last meeting before the Legislature convenes for 2012-- literally by hours.
And a key county commissioner says there's good reason. They have nothing more to talk about.
Victoria Reinhardt, of White Bear Lake, is the board's immediate past chair and heads the budget committee.
"What other option is there, as far as something that's local option?" Reinhardt said when asked today about next week's agenda. "There's sales tax. There's property tax. All of that is off the table. For good reason it's off the table. So no, I do not see that there's a way to come up with a local share to cover Ramsey County's portion.''
She DID say that she's very keen on the Arden Hills site, where the county and the Vikings have a handshake deal to build a $1.1 billion dollar stadium.
"My concern has always been that this is the largest Superfund site in the state. And we need to clean it up and we need to get in back on the tax rolls. And we need to do it now," Reinhardt said. "This is our opportunity to do it, and I am hopeful and the governor has stated that he's willing to step up to the plate, for Ramsey County, to get that done without the stadium.''
Vikings booster and county commissioner Tony Bennett, of Shoreview, agreed with Reinhardt that there isn't going to be another offer of local money to answer the governor's call. The only other option is property taxes, and even Bennett rules that out.
He's still hoping, though, for a Hail Mary: that a gambling expansion will pick up the entire public tab for a stadium.
''We haven't heard what's going to happen with the racino. The governor says pull tabs are it. There's money there, and they could do what should be done, which is spread the load around Minnesota a little bit more, because they are the Minnesota Vikings,'' Bennett said.
Commissioner Jim McDonough, another stadium supporter, says county officials think lawmakers have given local taxes a pass on a referendum dozens of times, and that that's all Ramsey County is asking for now -- to be treated like others have been.
"There's a lot more hurdles on the other side of the river," said McDonough, of St. Paul, referring to a charter amendment that caps Minneapolis contributions to a stadium at $10 million. "The governor and the legislature seem to prefer to jump those hurdles."
And while he says Ramsey County's bid may still be a fall-back for the rival Minneapolis sites, he and his fellow commissioners are going to stand pat now.
:"There's nothing more we can do," McDonough said.(1 Comments)