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Where did Aldi Grocery Stores Go?

Brandon Boat

Dan DeBaun, Retail and Restaurant Reporter, Minneapolis St. Paul Business Journal

Changes in the grocery store market are nothing new in Minnesota–ask any former Red Owl customers. The recent pace of those changes have a lot of people wondering about the future of grocery stores in the Twin Cities. By buying Whole Foods, will Amazon dominate the market? Can Target make it in the groceries business? Why’s everyone so excited about Hy-Vee?

Miss DEEDs

Brandon Boat

Shawntera Hardy, Commissioner, Department of Employment and Economic Development

Minnesota’s Department of Employment and Economic Development is charged with growing the state’s economy, connecting citizens with jobs, and helping businesses grow. The woman at the helm is Shawntera Hardy, who previously worked in the state’s energy, healthcare, and transportation sectors. Earlier this year, Governor Dayton tasked DEED with answering Amazon’s call for proposals for a second headquarters. We talked with Commissioner Hardy about all of that, plus asked for résumé tips in the event this whole improv thing doesn’t work out.

Making Sense of the Census

Brandon Boat

Susan Brower, Minnesota State Demographer

Bob Tracy, Director of Public Policy and Communications, Minnesota Council on Foundations

No doubt you’ve already got your calendar marked for the decennial U.S. Census. As the Constitution mandates, every person in the United States will be counted in 2020. Or at least that’s the hope. There are already major concerns whether the federal government is adequately preparing for the upcoming census. We asked two local experts how the census actually works on the ground, and whether it’s a big deal if the count’s off by a few (million) people.

R2D2 Take the Wheel!

Brandon Boat

Frank Douma, State and Local Policy Program Director, Humphrey School of Public Affairs

A world of self-driving cars is right around the corner. Hopefully for the pedestrian on that corner, the car’s computer sensors will recognize him and not run him over. Adapting to autonomous vehicles poses ethical, logistical, cultural, and infrastructure questions that most people (let alone cities and states) have only begun to ponder. We will answer all those questions once and for all in a 90 minute improv show. We talked with Frank Douma, the State and Local Policy Program Director for the Humphrey School of Public Affairs.

Walzing to the Governor's Mansion

Brandon Boat

Tim Walz, U.S. Representative and DFL Candidate for Governor

Peggy Flanagan, MN Representative and DFL Candidate for Lt. Governor
First elected to the U.S. House in 2006, Tim Walz has represented southern Minnesota in Washington for more than a decade. Now the former school teacher and Army National Guard veteran is running for governor. We asked what was better preparation for political office: serving in the military or teaching middle school?

A Manufactured Home is Where The Heart Is

Brandon Boat

Kevin Walker, Director of Business Development, North Country Cooperative Foundation

Miguel Otárola, Metro Reporter, Star Tribune

For many, mobile homes and trailer parks have a negative connotation–synonymous with low class and poverty. In reality, they have been the foundations of thriving communities, beloved by the people who call them home. They have also served as affordable places to live for individuals and families. Yet Minnesota has been losing mobile home parks, despite a continued demand. We talked with Kevin Walker, a regional leader on these issues about the need for this type of affordable housing, and with Miguel Otárola of the Star Tribune who has covered the loss of places for these homes.

Erin Murphy: Nurse... State Representative... Governor?

Brandon Boat

Erin Murphy, State Representative and DFL Candidate for Governor    

Born in Wisconsin, State Representative Erin Murphy made a major upgrade more than 30 years ago by moving to St. Paul, Minnesota. She worked as a nurse at the University of Minnesota Hospital as part of a transplant team. In 2005, she ran for state house and won. Earlier this year, she announced her candidacy for governor. We’ll ask her about her background, her proposals for the state’s future, and to look at this weird bump on our foot...

Beyond the One Room Schoolhouse

Brandon Boat

Ed Graff, Superintendent of Minneapolis Public Schools
Joe Gothard, Saint Paul Superintendent

New leaders have taken the helm at both the Minneapolis and St. Paul school districts in just the past year. Ed Graff and Joe Gothard have signed up for one of the toughest and most important jobs out there. They are responsible for shaping school districts that serve tens of thousands of children from diverse ethnic, racial, socioeconomic, and cultural backgrounds. A stubborn achievement gap between white students and students of color has frustrated educational leaders before. Bring your Number 2 pencils (and promise not to throw them at us) for this important show on public education in the Twin Cities.

Painter's Ethics

Brandon Boat

Richard Painter, White House Ethics Lawyer for George W. Bush

What does a former White House ethics lawyer from a republican administration think of the Trump administration? As a veteran of the George W. Bush White House, Richard Painter has become the one of the most prominent voices arguing for transparency and accountability in the new administration. He’s talked with Rachel Maddow and Anderson Cooper. Last October, he talked with us. 

Black Guns Matter

Brandon Boat

Like many working for racial and social justice, Hip Hop artist turned activist Maj Toure advocates for more education of urban communities, deescalation police training, and dismantling systemic racism. Unlike many of his peers, he also believes part of the solution is for more people of color to understand and take advantage of their 2nd Amendment rights and be trained in gun safety. He is the founder of Black Guns Matter.

Trash Talk!

Brandon Boat

What happens to your trash after you’ve put it out on the curb? Whether it’s going to be recycled or put in the landfill, the story of your trash is likely more complex and winding than you might expect. We asked three experts, Wayne Gjerde of the MPCA and Lynn Hoffman and Kate Davenport of Eureka Recycling to tell us The Story of Trash.

I wouldn't have to move!

Brandon Boat

For more than a decade, Chris Coleman has led Minnesota’s Capitol City. In that time he championed the construction of the LRT Green Line, ran a successful bid for the city to host the 2008 Republican National Convention, and was elected President of the National League of Cities. Earlier this year he announced his bid for governor of Minnesota, a job which conveniently would only be a few miles from his current offices!

Welcome to MN! Wait...where are you going?

Brandon Boat

Good news: People of diverse backgrounds and ethnicities move to the Twin Cities for good jobs in large numbers. Bad news: After just a few years, they leave in much larger numbers than their Caucasian counterparts.
We asked our guests, Dr. Janine Sanders Jones and John Hardy, why Minnesota is able to attract a diverse workforce, but can’t seem to retain it. Also, what are businesses in the state doing to keep people here?

The Business of Business

Brandon Boat

Steve Cramer, President of the Minneapolis Downtown Council and

Jonathan Weinhagen, President of Minneapolis Regional Chamber of Commerce
When Macy’s announced it was closing its store in downtown Minneapolis, people across the state panicked. What will become of retail in Minneapolis?! What does this say the economic climate in the Twin Cities and beyond?! WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO THE SKYWAYS?! We’ll ask all these questions and more of Steve Cramer and Jonathan Weinhagen.

Who Needs Friends? Diplomacy in 2017

Brandon Boat

One area where a president has wide latitude is in foreign policy. In just the first few weeks of the Trump administration, the president has thrown diplomatic norms and historical precedent to the wind. Does it matter? Are international affairs really affected by the personalities driving them? We asked longtime Foreign Service officer and current Diplomat-in-Residence, Mary Curtin that and if Canada might need a resident policy improv comedy troupe.

Up the Amazon Without a Paddle

Brandon Boat

What started out as an online bookstore has wildly changed the way people get everything from toilet paper to cat toys. Amazon hasn’t just changed the way people shop, it’s changing the face of retail and labor in Minnesota and beyond. Is there a downside to being able to get 10,000 baby wipes delivered to your house in under an hour? We asked Olivia LaVecchia, a Research Associate at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and co-author of a report of Amazon’s effects on local communities and businesses. 

The Auditor Always Rings Twice

Brandon Boat

If you’re like most Minnesotans, each year you eagerly await the audit of your local government’s finances. But have you ever wondered who produces that thrilling page-turner of a beach read? The J.K. Rowling of Minnesota financial documents is none other than State Auditor Rebecca Otto, our guest on March 13. As if being state auditor weren’t exciting enough, Otto has announced a run for a new job, Governor. We asked her about both, and if she can help us reconcile these expense reports.

The State Rep-To-Be in 60-B

Brandon Boat

Ilhan Omar, DFL candidate for Minnesota House, District 60B

This August, Ilhan Omar won the 60B DFL primary for Minnesota House. If she wins in November (which is highly likely in the heavily democratic district) she will become the first Somali-American elected to a state legislature in the U.S. In her first improv-show interview since winning her primary, Omar joined T2P2 to talk about the significance of her candidacy, as well as the issues she will likely face at the Minnesota Legislature in 2017. 

The Economics of Art

Brandon Boat

Shelia Smith, Executive Director of Minnesota Citizens for the Arts

Laura Zabel  Executive Director of Springboard for the Arts

Does art make a place more beautiful? Of course. Does art improve quality of life? You bet. Does art help us grapple with our own humanity? Sure. But what about the cold, hard monetary bottom line? Shelia Smith and Laura Zabel join us to talk about the economic impact that the arts have on communities large and small. By the end of the improv performance, everyone in the audience will be rich! 

Economics of the TPP

Brandon Boat

Robert Kudrle, Economist and Professor of Public Affairs & Planning at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs

The Trans Pacific Partnership would be one of the largest trade agreements in history, reshaping the relationship between the U.S. and more than a dozen Pacific nations. Both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have come out against it. But what would it actually do? What effect would its implementation have on workers in the U.S. and abroad, for businesses, and for the environment? We dig into the “boring” details of the T.P.P. with economics and policy professor, Bob Kudrle.