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 is Minnesota’s “go-to” political reporter, covering politics and government at WCCO-TV for more than 30 years.

He’s also a popular radio personality specializing in politics, sports, pop culture, and news.

Pat has won numerous state and national journalism awards for his work, including three regional Emmys for his “Reality Check” political franchise.

In 2015, he was honored for lifetime achievement in broadcasting and inducted into the Silver Circle Hall of Fame by the Midwest chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

Pat studied English and journalism at Macalester College in St. Paul.

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

‘My Son Will Regress’: Mom Worries Over Possible Loss Of Medicaid

State officials are warning that hundreds of thousands of Minnesotans could lose Medicaid coverage under the health care reform bill Congress is debating.


Dayton-GOP Mediation Costing Taxpayers More Than $1,000 An Hour

Both sides are sworn to secrecy as they try to bridge their impasse.


A Reality Check On Minnesota Lawmakers’ Personal Spending

Top Republican leaders are warning of layoffs at the legislature because Democratic Governor Mark Dayton vetoed their operating funds.


GOP Lawmaker Considers Restricting Capitol Protests To Free Speech Zone

Minnesota government leaders are hesitant even though some recent demonstrations turned into heated confrontations.


Legislature, Dayton Begin Mediation On Budget With Jobs At Stake

Minnesota’s top elected officials begin court-ordered mediation this week in a budget dispute that is now threatening hundreds of jobs.


Facebook Investigating Fake Russian Accounts’ Posts From 2016 Election

The company says it has detected that some accounts spent $100,000 on at least 3,000 ads, mostly on divisive issues.


A Reality Check On Minnesota’s Bid For Amazon’s 2nd HQ

Minnesota is entering a 50-state sweepstakes to win one of the most lucrative prizes in a generation.


Minnesota To Crack Down On Illegal Sports Betting

The American Gaming Association estimates $4.7 billion was wagered on the Super Bowl last year with the majority coming from illegal bets.


Thousands Sign Petition To Replace Columbus Statue With Prince

Thousands of people have signed a petition to take down a statue of Christopher Columbus at the Minnesota State Capitol and replace it with one of Prince.


A Reality Check On DACA’s Minnesota Impact

State officials estimate there are thousands of young Minnesotans who were brought to the U.S. illegally by their parents.


State Fair Mini Donuts Stand Raises Money For DFL, Stirs Controversy

Mini donuts are more than a State Fair staple. For many Fairgoers they are an annual article of faith. But if you buy it from Grandstand Mini Donuts, you get a side serving of progressive politics.


Franken Meets With Faith Leaders After Recent Racially Motivated Incidents

The group of faith leaders at the meeting represents millions of Christans, Jews and Muslims in Minnesota.


MN Supreme Court Justice ‘Cites’ Rolling Stones As Legal Precedent

Republicans who control the Minnesota House and Senate are suing Gov. Dayton after he vetoed the legislature’s operating funds in a budget dispute.


Minn. Supreme Court Hears Argument On Budget Battle

Dayton line-item vetoed their funding to force top Republicans to rework major tax breaks and other measures he signed into law earlier this year.


Reality Check: State Fair Food By The Numbers

What’s the favorite food of Minnesota State Fair-goers? It turns out we love the Minnesota classics.


Minnesota Supreme Court Set To Livestream Oral Arguments

The Minnesota Supreme Court announced a historic change to how it operates Wednesday.


Sen. Osmek Joins Crowded Minnesota Governor’s Race

Conservative State Senator Dave Osmek announced Tuesday he is running for governor as a “Minnesota Values” candidate.


State Capitol Memorials Face Scrutiny Due To Questionable Content

The State of Minnesota does not have monuments to the Confederacy, but that does not mean its statues and memorials are without controversy.


Lewis Condemns Protesters Who Demonstrated At His Front Door

Take Action Minnesota went to Jason Lewis’s house on Wednesday because they said he refuses to hold a town hall meeting.


Party Like It’s 1905! Huge Bash Set For State Capitol Reopening

The three-year, $310-million renovation of the Minnesota State Capitol is complete.


Lawmaker Revives Bill To Toughen Freeway Protest Penalties

A Minnesota lawmaker is reviving attempts to impose tougher penalties on protesters who shut down freeways.


MN DPS Says New License System Up & Running, Despite Auto Dealer Woes

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety says its new $90 million motor vehicle license system is up and running today. That’s after a series of glitches caused problems for people getting license tabs and plates. And auto dealers are now reporting problems for new car buyers.


Headaches, Frustration As Glitches Continue For New DMV Computer System

Minnesota’s new computer system for motor vehicle tabs and licenses was shut down for several hours Thursday morning.


Minnesota Lawmakers Get First Pay Hike Since ’99

Lawmakers say the pay hike is justified because of the long hours on the job, and that it’s hard to get good people to run for office.


MN Health Insurance Rates To Stay Close To Same In 2018

Some good news for Minnesotans who buy their own health care insurance — premium rates for next year should be mostly unchanged.




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