Imagine being the head coordinator for a region comprising seven counties and 188 different communities. Now imagine trying to those places to work together on everything from housing and land stewardship to transportation and energy. That’s new Metropolitan Council Chair Nora Slawik’s job.
Mark Haveman, Executive Director, Minnesota Center for Fiscal Excellence.
Jim Schowalter, Former CEO of the Council of Health Plans
MinnesotaCare is a health insurance program for those earning too much to qualify for Medicade but too little to afford insurance on the private market. For the past 27 years, it has been funded by a 2% assessment on licensed health care professionals. But that tax is set to sunset this year. Whether to renew the tax, replace it with something else, or scrap it all together is one of the hottest and wonkiest debates at the Minnesota Legislature this term.
Last year, former Metro Transit sergeant Dave Hutch unseated longtime Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek, becoming the first openly gay sheriff in the Midwest. Sheriff Hutch has promised reform across the police department, from how inmates are treated in custody (including new procedures for trans inmates) to how it interacts with federal immigration agencies. Three months into the new job, we asked him how those reforms are going, what we can expect in the years ahead, and if he can do something about this parking ticket.
From transportation to housing, parks to waste water, the Hennepin County Board has a say in a myriad of issues that affect citizens’ daily lives. The Chair of the Hennepin County Board, Marion Greene, along with one of its newest members, Angela Conley, join us to help explain why county government matters. Together, the two represent all of South Minneapolis on the board, as well as part Northeast and St. Louis Park.
After six terms in U.S. House, Keith Ellison ran to be Minnesota’s Attorney General, and won. In his first few months in this new position, his office has joined a multi-state lawsuit against President Trump’s emergency border wall declaration, taken a special focus on wage theft in Minnesota, and made the office more public than it had been under his predecessor. What can we expect from him and the A.G. Office in the next three and a half years?
Senator Melisa Franzen, Senate District 49
Leili Fatehi, Campaign Manager, Minnesotans for Responsible Marijuana Regulation
Talk of legalizing recreational marijuana burned brightly at the Minnesota Legislature early this session, then went out in a puff of smoke. But the debate’s not over. Activists and legislators argue marijuana legalization is about overturning a racially unjust system as much as its about freedom and liberty. We will talk with the author of the Senate bill that would have legalized recreational marijuana in Minnesota, as well as the head of the campaign for “Responsible Marijuana Legalization.”
MAGGIE KOERTH-BAKER, SENIOR SCIENCE WRITER, FIVETHIRTYEIGHT
In an era of climate change and political chaos, it’s easy to forget that sometimes disasters are averted. FiveThirtyEight Science writer Maggie Koerth-Baker has been looking at examples in history when humans either worked together to avoid an environmental calamity, or just got lucky. What’s the secret to not destroying the planet or ourselves?
Author Marlon James is internationally renowned for his epic novels and stories. What's his process? How does writing contrast with teaching writing? Can he give us a sneak peak of his upcoming new series? Join us to find out.
University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler has announced he will step down at the end of this academic year. The search was on for a new leader for Minnesota’s premier institution of higher learner. What do you look for in a University president? How do you find qualified applicants? Can anybody apply? We talked with search committee members Matt Kramer, Vice-President of University Relations of the UMN and Adbul Omari, Regent and chair of the search committee.
Kevin Lee, Program Director, Senior Staff Attorney, Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy
Isaac Orr, Policy Fellow, Center of the American Experiment
One of the most contentious policy debates in the state circles around whether or not Minnesota should permit more companies to develop new mines, particularly around the Boundary Waters. We have two well-informed guests with two very different ideas on how the state should proceed.
Minneapolis City Council President Lisa Bender is leading a new, more progressive city council. Meanwhile, a new comprehensive plan for the city called Minneapolis 2040 has lead to a war of yard signs. We asked her about that and when we can finally all get pet goats.
The Peabody Award-winning, In The Dark is one of the best examples of a new form of journalism: the investigative podcast. What goes into making an investigative podcast series? How does the medium change how the story is told? Can the producers give us a sneak peak at Season 3?
One in four people in the United States has a criminal record. FOUR in four Americans have done something in their past that had they been caught or in a different circumstance, would be criminal. The organization We Are All Criminals works to get people to think differently about what it means to be a criminal, our justice system, and how we treat one another.
Melvin Carter won a decisive victory in St. Paul’s mayoral against a number of strong opponents. In his first six months, he’s been faced with questions about increasing the number of police officers in the city, budgets to repair aging roads, and the third-rail of St. Paul politics, trash collection.
Mike Veeck, Co-Owner, St. Paul Saints
Who would have thought to have a pig deliver baseballs to umpires midgame? Or run a steamroller over a mountain of disco records? Or gets heralded as the funniest member of a trio that also includes Bill Murray? The answer is Mike Veeck, co-owner of the St. Paul Saints.
Rebecca Noecker, St. Paul City Councilwoman, Ward 2
Veronica Mendez Moore, Co-Director of Centro de Trabajadores Unidos en Lucha
B Kyle, CEO of the St. Paul Area Chamber of Commerce
St. Paul is currently considering a proposal to raise its minimum wage. Is $15 an hour the right amount? Should tips count toward that $15 for restaurant workers? How quickly should the wage increase for different-sized businesses? Hear what city Councilwoman Rebecca Noecker and two members of the Citizen League’s minimum wage study committee are weighing as they try and come to a final proposal.
Kyle Roberts, Dean of Academic Affairs, United Theological Seminary
Zan Christ, Coordinator for Religious and Spiritual Life Programs, Hamline University
Chris Stedman, Author of Faithiest and former director of the Yale Humanist Community
Even in the land of the Church Basement Ladies, people’s relationships with faith institutions are changing. More Millennials are religiously unaffiliated than any previous generation. How and why are young people redefining the role of faith in their lives? What do these changes mean for religious institutions? Would it help to update the Old Testament with some well-placed hashtags?
Charlie Zelle, Minnesota Commissioner of Transportation
Major road construction has slowed and rerouted traffic on a number of Twin Cities thoroughfares. Minnesota’s Commissioner of Transportation, Charlie Zelle, promises it will get better soon, with newer roads, more accessible bus options, and the groundwork for a self-driving future. We asked him how he made it through all the traffic to join us.
Brenda Hartman, Healing Through Life Counseling, 2017 Bush Fellow
Ann McIntosh MD, BSN, FACEP, Emergency Physician, Speaker, and Educator
We’re ending our season with a show about endings. All of us (hopefully after a long and laugh-filled life) will pass on. Planning for our own or our loved one’s end of life can be intimidating, scary, and ultimately one of the most important ways to ensure a peaceful last chapter.
We talked with two women, Brenda Hartman and Dr. Ann MacIntosh, working to change the culture of fear around end-of-life care and planning. A truly important conversation for us all–except maybe vampires.
Timothy Taylor, Managing editor, The Journal of Economic Perspectives, Macalester College
Chris Farrell, Senior Economics Contributor, Marketplace and MPR
From the massive tax policy changes passed late last year, to new tariffs on steel and aluminum imposed, and wild stock market swings, there hasn’t been any shortage of economic news in 2018. We will talk with two brilliant (yet easily understandable) economists what to make of it all.
Timothy Taylor is both a professor at Macalester College and the professor you hear if you take The Great Course’s lecture series on economics. Chris Farrell is a regular contributor to public radio’s Marketplace, the Bloomberg Business, and the most frequent guest of The Theater of Public Policy