Pat Kessler

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Joined WCCO: 1984
Hometown: Hawley, Minnesota
Alma Mater: Macalester College

Music: My playlist right now: Bob Dylan, Keith Richards, Muddy Waters, Tom Waits, Aaron Copeland, Jack White, Black Keys, Blind Boys of Alabama, John Coltrane, Lucinda Williams, Tom Morello, Chrissie Hynde, George Jones, G Love, James Brown, Pink Floyd, Allison Krause, Sharon Jones, Ray Wylie Hubbard
Movie: Coen Brothers movies (especially O Brother, Where Art Thou); The Godfather, parts I & II
TV Show: Perry Mason; Veep; Fargo
Author/Book: William Butler Yeats; TS Eliot; David McCullough; Stephen King; Charles Frazier ; Carl Sandburg, Abraham Lincoln: The Prairie Years
Local Restaurant: The Lexington
Hidden MN Gem: Lake Pepin Bluff Country
Historical Figure: Teddy Roosevelt; Winston Churchill
Famous Minnesotan: Bob Dylan
Quote: “Simplify and focus.”
Holiday: Opening Day in baseball

Facebook or Twitter? Twitter
Cats or Dogs? Dogs
Beatles or Rolling Stones? Both
Phone Call or Text Message? Text
Mac or PC? Mac
Coffee or Tea? Coffee
Morning Person or Night Person? Both
East Coast vs. West Coast? East
Star Trek or Star Wars? Star Wars

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)

As DNC Meets In Minneapolis, Biden Considering Presidential Race

The Democratic National Committee is holding its summer meeting in downtown Minneapolis, starting Thursday. All five top Democratic presidential candidates will speak to the state party chairs and super delegates, including Lincoln Chaffee, Hillary Clinton, Martin O’Malley, Bernie Sanders and Jim Webb.


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Immigration On The Mind As Julian Castro Visits Minneapolis

A high-ranking Obama administration official visiting Minneapolis Wednesday said Republican presidential candidates are “caricaturing” and “stereotyping” Latino voters with false claims about immigration and crime.


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Reality Check: Fact & Fiction In The Immigration Debate

The number of unauthorized Mexican immigrants in the United States seems like a big number, and it is: 5.9 million people in 2012. But that number is down one million, from the 6.9 million unlawful entries in 2007.


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Republicans Slammed For $10,000 Capitol Door

The massive 3-year, $300-million restoration of the Minnesota State Capitol is about halfway complete.


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Dayton Upset With Lawmakers Not Interested In Walleye Session

Gov. Mark Dayton’s administration was seeking $15 million for business loans and $400,000 in tourism marketing for the Lake Mille Lacs region in special session action plan to deal with fallout from the abrupt walleye fishing suspension.


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Walker Touts New Health Care Plan At Minn. Factory

Republican presidential candidate Scott Walker’s plan for replacing President Barack Obama’s health care law would extend refundable tax credits to help pay for private health insurance based on age instead of income, restructure Medicaid and allow people to shop for insurance across state lines.


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Reality Check: Will Trump’s Lead In Polls Last?

New national election polls continue to show Donald Trump with a strong lead over his Republican rivals. But polling success the year before the election does not translate into election victory.


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1st Republican Debate Full Of Drama

The first presidential debate of the 2016 campaign season is on the books.

The 10 leading Republican candidates faced off in a prime-time debate Thursday night on Fox News Channel.


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Republican Candidates Spar In 1st Presidential Debate

Thursday night was the first debate among the top 10 Republican candidates for president.


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GOP Calls For Investigation Of State Auditor’s Contract Tactics

A top state Republican leader is calling for Minnesota House hearings into the actions of the Democratic state auditor. This is after a WCCO investigation discovered county auditors who accuse State Auditor Rebecca Otto of pressuring them into long-term audit contracts with her office, even though a new state law allows them to hire private audit firms starting next year.


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Dayton Creates New Environmental Citizens Board

Gov. Mark Dayton is creating a new citizen advisory panel to consult with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency on environmental matters.


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DNR Shutting Down Walleye Fishing On Mille Lacs

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton ramped up planning Monday for a special session to help Lake Mille Lacs businesses cope with a sudden end to the walleye fishing season, a blow to tourism on one of the state’s “Big Six” lakes.


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Mille Lacs Band Of Ojibwe Agrees To Halt Netting Due To Walleye Crisis

With the Minnesota state fish in crisis, a Native American tribe Friday said it would not net walleye on Lake Mille Lacs next year.


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Minnesota’s 1965 Leaders Honored On 50th Anniversary Of Voting Rights Act

The Minnesota Secretary of State honored four surviving members of the Congressional delegation who came from different political parties, but share a bond. They all worked to pass the landmark Voting Rights Act to reverse decades of discrimination at the polls.


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Dayton Prepared To Call Special Session For Mille Lacs Walleye Decline

Gov. Mark Dayton is considering a special legislative session to prevent what he calls “economic disaster” at Minnesota’s premiere walleye lake. Lake Mille Lacs is suffering from a decline in its walleye population that is so severe, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources may ban walleye fishing altogether.


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GOP Lawmakers Call To Arm More Military Members

A group of GOP legislators on Monday announced a bill in the works to exempt active duty members of the military and Minnesota’s National Guard from the state’s gun permitting process. The legislation is expected to be introduced next year.


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Reality Check: U.S. Bank Logo On New Vikings Stadium

U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis is now 65 percent complete, and is scheduled to open next summer. On the future home of the Vikings is one of the biggest NFL stadium logos in the country.


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New Laws Aim To Prevent Insurance Fraud, Fake Medical Claims

Minnesota is one of the fastest growing states in the country for insurance fraud, but that could change soon because of tough new laws that go into effect Aug. 1. Last year, the number of staged crashes and fake medical claims in Minnesota rose an alarming 22 percent. That’s 3rd in the nation behind Florida and New York.


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Dayton: Will Keep Seeking Money For Early Education

Gov. Mark Dayton is putting lawmakers on notice: They’ll have to pony up more for early education programs to unlock money for their priorities. Republican legislators have big plans for tax relief heading into the 2016 legislative session. But Dayton said Tuesday he won’t sign a tax bill if the Legislature doesn’t put up an “equitable” amount for early education.


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Al Franken Slams Trump Following Statements On Sen. McCain

Minnesota Democratic Sen. Al Franken condemned on Monday remarks by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, who said former prisoner of war and Sen. John McCain is “not a war hero.”


(credit: City of Minneapolis)

Will Downtown East Flourish From $1B Vikings Stadium?

U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis is just one year away from completion. And supporters of the $1 billion Minnesota Vikings stadium made a lot of development promises to get it built. But did they deliver?


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3rd State Official Is Working For Medical Marijuana Grower

A third state official who helped write Minnesota’s medical cannabis law has gone to work for the company licensed to sell it.


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Reality Check: Trip To Pluto Cost Less Than Vikings Stadium

NASA scientists and planet lovers everywhere are cheering the Pluto space probe, which is now sending images of the dwarf planet back to Earth. The cost of the 10-year voyage is raising eyebrows, but not for the reasons you might think.


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Reality Check: Lobbyist Spending In Minnesota

Minnesota lobbyists spent $70 million last year to influence state decision makers, according to a new report from the Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board. And so far in 2015, that trend is not slowing down.


(credit: Tom Lynn/Getty Images)

Walker Reminds Voters Of Union Wins As He Enters 2016 Race

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker declared his candidacy for president on Monday, casting himself as a “fighter” who muscled through an aggressive conservative agenda in a state that typically supports Democrats.