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Pat Kessler

web pat kessler Pat Kessler
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.

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most recent stories2 Pat Kessler

(credit: CBS)

Deal Stalls Agency Leader Salary Hike, Grants Lawmaker Power

The Minnesota House has endorsed a deal that stalls commissioner pay hikes until June but gives Gov. Mark Dayton a narrow window to boost those salaries.

02/19/2015

(credit: CBS)

Ex-MNsure Director Wanted Money To Answer Auditor’s Questions

We’re getting a look Wednesday at some new documents from the investigation into Minnesota’s once-troubled health exchange.

MNsure’s former executive director, April Todd-Malmlov, resigned under pressure — not just because the website melted down, but because, for part of it, she was on a week-long vacation in the Caribbean.

02/18/2015

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Auditor: MNsure’s ‘Failures Outweighed Its Achievements’

A lack of adequate testing before the state’s health insurance exchange launched in 2013 and other issues meant the exchange’s “failures outweighed its achievements” in its first year, the legislative auditor concluded in a report released Tuesday.

02/17/2015

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Dayton Enraged By DFL Move To Suspend Pay Raises

The hefty pay hikes proposed for Gov. Mark Dayton’s cabinet were already controversial when the State Senate met on Thursday. But it was Dayton’s fellow Democrats who voted to suspend the raises until July 1. “That will give the legislature time I think to put the kind of thoughtful review into the study and the salary to make sure that it indeed is warranted,” Sen. Tom Bakk said.

02/12/2015

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Dayton, Republicans At Odds Over Cabinet Raises

Gov. Mark Dayton regards stinging criticism from legislative Republican over his raises for agency commissioners as being done out of revenge. Dayton lashed out Wednesday over the GOP’s attention to recently announced raises, which were authorized by lawmakers in 2013.

02/11/2015

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Dayton Asks For $10M To Replace Aging Aircraft

Gov. Mark Dayton said he wants to replace two aging aircraft that serve as Minnesota’s official state planes.

The Democratic governor is asking the legislature for $10 million dollars to replace them, because he says the current planes are becoming dangerous.

02/10/2015

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Republican Lawmakers Respond To Governor’s Pay Hikes

Minnesota Republican leaders today ramped up their criticism of Gov. Mark Dayton’s hefty pay hikes for his Cabinet. The Democratic governor issued a letter to the legislature, calling the pay hikes “necessary” and “legal.”

WCCO-TV–02/09/2015

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Republican Legislature Responds To Governor’s Pay Raises

Majority Republicans in the Minnesota House say they will introduce legislation to take away the Governor’s authority to raise the pay of his cabinet.

WCCO-TV–02/06/2015

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Are Massive Raises For Dayton’s Cabinet ‘Outrageous’?

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton is giving members of his Cabinet a big payday: They’re getting double-digit raises totalling tens of thousands of dollars.

02/05/2015

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Reality Check: The Price Of Not Buying Health Insurance

Minnesotans have until Feb. 15 to sign up for health care insurance or pay a tax penalty. And this year, that penalty could really sting. According to MNsure, the state’s health care exchange, the 2015 penalty for not buying insurance coverage is:

02/04/2015

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PolyMet Mine Hearing Brings Clash Of Interests

A House committee opened hearings Tuesday on a plan to open a copper-nickel mine on northern Minnesota’s Iron Range.

02/03/2015

(credit: Como Park Zoo and Conservatory)

Minnesota Zoo Seeks Emergency Funding From Government

The Minnesota Zoo is asking the legislature for help with a million dollar budget deficit. Zoo officials said they may otherwise be facing some difficult decisions to make it up, including the possibility of closing some exhibits.

WCCO-TV–02/02/2015

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Lawmakers Seek To Attract Health Care Workers To Rural MN

Minnesota’s need for rural health care services is growing at exactly the time the number of health care professionals is shrinking. In six of the largest counties in northwestern Minnesota around Crookston, it’s a crisis.

01/28/2015

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Dayton Lifts Education In $42 Billion Budget But Test Awaits

Every Minnesota public school student would be worth more in the eyes of the state if lawmakers support Gov. Mark Dayton’s budget proposal. Dayton wants to increase the basic per-pupil funding formula for school districts by 1 percent in each of the next two years.

01/27/2015

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Dayton Pushes Gas Tax Hike In New Transportation Plan

Gov. Mark Dayton’s plan for transportation would repair or replace 2,200 miles of state roads and 330 bridges, but would come at a noticeable cost to taxpayers. Dayton released a large-scale proposal Monday that depends on adding a new 6.5 percent tax on gas and higher vehicle registration fees.

01/26/2015

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Reality Check: Will MN Finally Get Sunday Liquor Sales?

Minnesota lawmakers are taking aim at a nearly century-old law that’s been very difficult to take off the books. Liquor stores cannot legally open on Sundays. If it’s hard to understand why, you are not alone. It’s an 82 year old law some lawmakers are trying to repeal.

01/23/2015

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Lawmakers Introduce Bills To Legalize Sunday Liquor Sales

That Sunday beer-run across the border could become a thing of the past. Minnesota lawmakers introduced bills Thursday to repeal a decades-long ban on Sunday liquor store sales.

01/22/2015

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Lawmakers Criticize Minn. Child Protection System

Minnesota lawmakers are outlining their proposals to change the state’s child protection system. Four legislators were rolling out a plan Wednesday. They serve on a task force Gov. Mark Dayton created after media reports of bureaucratic faults in the death of a 4-year-old boy.

01/21/2015

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Minn. Woman Sits With First Lady At State Of The Union

A Twin Cities woman was President Obama’s guest at the State of the Union address Tuesday night. Rebekah Erler wrote the president last year about how tough the economy has been on her family.

01/20/2015

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Reality Check: Minnesota’s Evolving Rural Profile

Since 1960, it’s been an unstoppable population shift, and a new study from the Center for Rural Policy and Development shows a 50-year migration from rural Minnesota to the urban corridor stretching from St. Cloud through the Twin Cities and Rochester.

01/16/2015

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Lawmakers Debate Police Use Of License Plate Readers

Minnesota lawmakers opened hearings Thursday on a bill to regulate how long police can keep computer images of your car and license plate. Police store tens of thousands of those images — even if you haven’t committed a crime.

01/15/2015

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Office Space Disputes Threaten Capitol Renovation

Minnesota lawmakers are caught in a dust-up over office space at the State Capitol, and it’s threatening to delay the massive Capitol restoration now underway. The three-year, $272 million project is on time and on budget. But the tenants in the new building — including the governor, the Senate, the House and the attorney general — cannot come to agreement over how much space they will control.

01/14/2015

(credit: Gov. Dayton's Office)

New Lieutenant Governor Calls Herself ‘A Bridge Builder’

When Minnesota lawmakers returned to the State Capitol after the bruising 2014 election campaign, Tina Smith was outside their offices to greet them.

01/13/2015

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Lawmakers Looking To Overhaul Child Protection System

Minnesota lawmakers are moving quickly to overhaul the state’s child protection system.

01/12/2015

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Dayton Pushes For Gas-Tax To Raise Money For Road Repairs

Gov. Mark Dayton blasted the new Republican Majority in the Minnesota House Friday for what he calls a “phony” transportation plan. Republicans yesterday unveiled a “no new taxes” plan to fix roads and bridges, but Dayton called it “fantasy.”

01/09/2015

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