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.
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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 or 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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(credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Trump Leading Republican Presidential Polls Despite Muslim Comments

Nationwide, 35 percent of GOP primary voters say they’d like to see Donald Trump get the nomination. That’s more than double the support of his nearest competitors, Senator Ted Cruz and Ben Carson.


(credit: CBS)

Probe Largely Clears ‘U’ Athletics Dept. In Teague Case

The University of Minnesota athletics department didn’t know about inappropriate conduct by athletic director Norwood Teague before his abrupt resignation for sexual harassment, according to an external review Tuesday that also found no fault with the department’s “general climate” on sexual harassment.


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Minnesota Military Leader Defending Civil War Art At Capitol

National Guard Major General Rick Nash says the Civil War paintings and other military artifacts that some consider too violent are an important tribute to Minnesota soldiers who saved the Union.


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Reality Check: Minnesota’s Budget Surplus

Minnesota’s huge budget surplus for 2016 has state lawmakers scrambling to figure out what to do with it. A large part of the surplus will go to a budget reserve, and the rest of it will likely go to be a combination of tax cuts and spending.


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As $1.9B Surplus Announced, Budget Battle Begins

Minnesota lawmakers from both parties agree that a nearly $1.9 billion budget surplus is good news. They just disagree on how to spend it.


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Gov. Dayton Calls For 4th Precinct Protesters To ‘Move On’

At a groundbreaking event for a new work center in north Minneapolis, Gov. Mark Dayton announced Tuesday that he is proposing $15 million in a one-day special session to address racial disparities on the city’s north side.


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MN Surplus Expected To Top $1B, Possible Tax Cuts in ’16

As a sign that Minnesota’s economy continues to improve, lawmakers will find out this week about a state budget surplus that’s expected to top $1 billion. Gov. Mark Dayton is ready to resurrect a plan to expand child care tax credits, and working family tax credits.


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A Look At The Vikings Stadium’s Space-Age Roof

The most striking feature on the iconic U.S. Bank Stadium in downtown Minneapolis is something you look right through — literally. Instead of a 1990s-style retractable roof, which most NFL stadiums rarely open, the Minnesota Vikings are using a revolutionary design that is incredibly light.


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Some MSP Airport Workers On Hunger Strike For Better Wages

Twin Cities airport workers set up a traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony just outside baggage claim on Wednesday — one of America’s busiest travel days of the year. It is where they could talk about the work they do, and the difficulty of raising a family on $10 an hour.


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Reality Check: Cheap Thanksgiving Gas

That trip on Thursday to Grandmother’s house? It’ll cost you a lot less this year. Thanksgiving gas prices are the lowest they’ve been in nearly a decade. They could go even lower.


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After Avian Flu, Gov’s Annual Turkey Event Highlights Recovery Of Industry

One bird may have been the star, but Gov. Mark Dayton and Minnesota turkey producers held the flapping 40-pounder out as a tribute to an important agriculture sector in the midst of a rebound.


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Reality Check: Syrian Refugees And Minnesota

Minnesota lawmakers are increasingly divided on how many — if any — Syrian refugees to accept in the state. That is after two terrorists in Paris reportedly had fake Syrian passports, and Minnesota Democrats broke with President Obama to support a bill ramping up security checks.


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GOP Renews Call To Stop Syrian Refugee Resettlement In Minnesota

Minnesota’s top Republican lawmaker Thursday said Democratic Governor Mark Dayton should stop accepting Syrian refugees for resettlement in the state.


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MN Rep.: With ‘Driverless’ Cars Coming, Why Spend On Light Rail?

Minnesota should prepare for thousands of “driverless” cars on state roads in the very near future. That’s the prediction of a top state lawmaker, who says self-driving cars will one day outnumber traditional vehicles, and make other forms of transportation obsolete.


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Should Art In The State Capitol Be Saved, Shelved or Created New?

The group that oversees the three-year Capitol restoration is asking Minnesotans to take an online survey that raises the possibility of significant changes not just to the art on display that some consider offensive, but also installing more modern art that reflects Minnesota today.


(credit: Minneapolis Institute of Art)

Bruce Dayton, Target Co-Founder & Governor’s Father, Dies At 97

Minnesota remembers business legend Bruce Dayton, who passed away at his home Friday at the age of 97. He was the last of the Dayton brothers who grew Dayton’s Department Store into the Target Corporation. And he is the father of Minnesota’s governor, Mark Dayton.


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Reality Check: The Cost To Not Have Health Insurance In 2016

It’s an important time of year for thousands of Minnesotans: Time to sign up for next year’s health insurance. And if you don’t get it, get ready to pay up anyway. The new federal health care law requires American citizens to have health insurance.


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Reality Check: Paid Patriotism At Local Sporting Events

Military appreciation events are a staple of professional sporting events. But a United States Senate report claims some of them are not genuine displays of patriotic pride. Instead, they are actually taxpayer-funded commercials.


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Paul To U Students: I Want Gov’t That ‘Stays The Hell Out Of My Life’

Republican Presidential candidate Rand Paul will be in Minnesota Monday. First, he will speak at the Students for Rand rally at the University of Minnesota in the Twin Cities. That’s at Coffman Memorial Union at 11:30 a.m.


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Report Says Proposed PolyMet Mine Meets State Standards

A 10-year study found that a controversial mine in northeastern Minnesota meets all state standards for protecting air and water quality.


(credit: Minnesota Vikings)

Minneapolis Loses Out On 2020 College Football Title Game

On Wednesday, Minnesota lost a bid to New Orleans to host the 2020 College Football Playoff national championship at U.S. Bank Stadium. That’s after Minneapolis won two previous high-profile bids to host the 2018 Super Bowl, and the 2019 NCAA Final Four.


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Minn. Sports Teams Counting On Mass Transit To Get Fans To Games

Minnesota United says it is expecting half of its soccer fans in a new St. Paul stadium to get to games using mass transit.


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Minnesota Sex Offenders Hopeful For Release After Program Ruled Unconstitutional

Sex offenders in Minnesota’s high security treatment centers say they are frustrated but hopeful they can someday be released. That’s after a federal judge found the program unconstitutional, and ordered the state to find ways to release sex offenders.


(credit: CBS)

Judge Orders Review Of Committed Sex Offenders

A federal judge ordered a risk assessment Thursday of all sex offenders in Minnesota’s restrictive civil confinement program to determine which can be put on a pathway for release. Judge Donovan Frank laid out what he says must be done to fix problems with indefinite detentions that he earlier ruled unconstitutional.


(credit: CBS)

Gov. Dayton Begins Mine Tours Ahead Of PolyMet Decision

Gov. Mark Dayton kicked off visits to mining operations in other states Tuesday as he prepares to make a major mining decision in Minnesota. The state is considering whether to allow a mining company to open Minnesota’s first copper-nickel operation. And it is a decision that is sparking controversy.




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