Pat Kessler knows Minnesota politics.
He’s been on the beat longer than any other TV reporter in the Twin Cities, covering state government, politics, campaigns and conventions since 1984.
Pat “pulls back the curtain” on what’s happening in government with stories both amusing and annoying, as well as reporting information you need to know to keep up on the issues that affect you most.
And Pat’s popular “Reality Check” segments separate fact from fiction in a political world that is often more fiction than fact.
Pat studied English and journalism at Macalester College in St. Paul.
He’s an avid reader, involved in many local volunteer programs and exhibits a particular fondness for baseball.
Before joining WCCO-TV, Pat was a reporter for Minnesota Public Radio, and a technical assistant for “A Prairie Home Companion” with Garrison Keillor.
The Minnesota Vikings are putting more money into the new stadium under construction in downtown Minneapolis. The Vikes are adding another $647,000 for stadium extras, from sideline seating to food concessions. The latest upgrades include upgrading the team’s locker room, expanding cooking and concession areas and adding end-zone seating areas it calls “Red Zone Mini-Suites.”
Minnesota’s top two political leaders met face to face Thursday for the first time since the election. They’re pledging cooperation, not division. Minnesota’s top two political leaders met face to face Thursday for the first time since the election. They’re pledging cooperation, not division. Over a luncheon of pork loin and potatoes, the Republican Speaker and Democratic Governor met face to face at the official Residence.
Minnesota’s health insurance exchange has seen a spike in consumer visits in its first workweek since open enrollment began last weekend but is handling the load well, officials said Wednesday. MNsure CEO Scott Leitz told the board of directors there had been no major technical issues and no unplanned downtime since the system went live Saturday morning for its second open enrollment season.
The executive director of Minnesota’s health insurance exchange says a mostly problem-free weekend rollout netted more than 500 enrollees.
Connie Grover has been in the bar-and-restaurant business for more than 30 years. So she’s accustomed to sudden change. But she was stunned to get a letter from PreferredOne saying her monthly insurance rates are going up 160 percent. “I couldn’t believe how high the rate went,” Grover said. “I just couldn’t believe it.”
An audit of MNsure found Minnesota’s Human Services Department made multiple mistakes verifying who’s eligible for which public health program. Legislative Auditor James Nobles said human services got it wrong at least 17 percent of the time. “We spent a lot of money, taken quite a bit of time now and we ought to be at a point where they can get it right — all the time, on every case,” Nobles said.
Minnesota honored its veterans with a special state program Tuesday in Inver Grove Heights. State military leaders honored Minnesota’s 370,000 veterans, including 26,000 who were deployed for extended periods of time after 9/11.
Six months after winning a bid to host the 2018 Super Bowl, Minnesota is making a bid for the NCAA Final four.
Minnesota is one of eight locations competing for a Final Four between 2017 and 2020.
Minnesota lawmakers next year are preparing again to take up the issue of Sunday liquor sales. Minnesota is one of only 12 states that require liquor stores to be closed on Sundays. And many Minnesota consumers cross the border to Wisconsin, where Sunday sales are legal.
The one-time car salesman from Crown became the GOP’s most powerful leader after taking Republicans from minority status to a 72-seat majority in the Minnesota House. Rep. Kurt Daudt, 41, becomes the second-most powerful politician in Minnesota, behind Gov. Mark Dayton. “It is the greatest honor of my life to be elected to be the next speaker of the Minnesota House of Representatives,” Daudt said.
Minnesota voters gave Gov. Dayton a solid re-election victory. But unlike the last two years of Democratic dominance, Dayton’s fresh reality is a new Republican majority in the Minnesota House. “I’m proud to say that Democrats’ total control of state government in Minnesota is over,” said Rep. Kurt Daudt, the House minority leader. Exuberant Republicans will take back the House they lost just two years ago. That’s when they battled Gov. Dayton to a budget standoff, and a 17-day government shutdown — the longest in U.S. history.
In a busy Minneapolis skyway Monday, Republican Jeff Johnson is working the lunchtime crowd. With public polls showing a tighter-than-expected race, Johnson is sprinting for last-minute votes. “Literally [in] the last couple of weeks, people have started paying attention, and I think there’s a lot of people who will decide today and tomorrow,” Johnson said. “So I’m just trying to introduce myself to anyone who is willing to talk. It’s been great.”
National Republicans are targeting Minnesota’s 7th District with a barrage of last-minute TV ads. That’s where Democratic U.S. Representative Collin Peterson is facing off with Republican Torrey Westrom.
The hotly contested 8th Congressional District campaign took another turn this week, over guns. The National Rifle Association is pouring nearly $750,000 into a negative ad which mocks incumbent Democratic Congressman Rick Nolan. The ad features an actor in a suit and a goofy hat, posing for election-year photos. “Nolan doesn’t get basic gun safety, and doesn’t know how many shells go in a duck gun,” the ad says.
Republicans and Democrats are fanning out across the state for the final few days of fall campaigning. Top candidates for both political parties are making the final push for votes before Election Day on Tuesday.