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

Minn. GOP Lawmakers Unveil Sweeping Tax Plan

If lawmakers do nothing at Minnesota’s tax code, hundreds of thousands could face steep tax hikes


Minnesotans Could Face Hikes With New Federal Tax Law

The Minnesota House has passed a bill matching the state’s tax code with new federal tax cuts.


Aiming At Trump, Former Bush Ethics Lawyer Enters Senate Race As Democrat

A former Republican White House lawyer and prominent critic of President Donald Trump is running for former Sen. Al Franken’s seat. And he’s running as a Democrat.


Reality Check: Minnesotans Gaming The Food Stamps System

Minnesota lawmakers are considering a bill to impose asset limits on food stamp recipients after a self-described millionaire said he got them for months,


Rep. Erin Maye Quade Hopes Gun Bill Sit-In Will Spark Vote

A Minnesota lawmaker has finished a 24-hour sit-in at the State Capitol to protest lack of action on gun safety bills.


Senate Passes Bill Toughening Release For Sex Offenders

Lawmakers are moving quickly after a recent court decision to release a sex offender who admitted he molested more than 30 children.


Reality Check: Syrian Refugees In Minnesota

The flow of Syrian refugees to the United States has slowed to a trickle. And in Minnesota, it stopped.


GOP Lawmakers Seek Vikings Stadium Money For Veterans Homes

Minnesota Republican lawmakers are looking at an unusual funding source for three new veterans homes: U.S. Bank Stadium.


Waite Park Millionaire Goes On Food Stamps To Show Loopholes

Top Democrats are pushing back against a wealthy Minnesota man who knowingly took food stamps to prove the program has too many loophole.


Reality Check: Can Tim Pawlenty Run For A Third Term?

If Tim Pawlenty wins another term, he’s on pace to be the longest-serving governor in Minnesota history.


Fired MNLARS Director Defends Role In Troubled Licensing System’s Rollout

The fired director of Minnesota’s troubled new drivers license system defended himself before state lawmakers today.


Dayton Calls For $33 Million Security Upgrades To State Capitol

The governor says not funding it this year could pose a threat to tens of thousands of Minnesotans who visit the Capitol every year.


WCCO Viewers’ Choice For Best Speakeasy In Minnesota

During Prohibition, speakeasies were about the only place to go if you wanted a drink. Now legal, there are a number of places keeping that spirit alive.


Tim Pawlenty To Run For Governor, Again

Pawlenty served two terms as Minnesota Governor from January 6, 2003 until January 3, 2011.


Reality Check: The Costly Golden Age Of Building Stadiums

There’s been a 20-year, Twin Cities stadium boom for every major professional sport, and a Big Ten Minnesota football team.


Republicans Unveil $50M School Safety Plan, Nothing On Gun Safety

After Minnesota Senate Democrats unveiled their plan to improve safety in the state’s schools earlier this week, Republican House members are making their ideas public.


Reality Check: Lobbyist Spending In Minnesota

Lobbyists spent tens of millions of dollars last year to influence government officials in Minnesota. So what did it get them?


Dayton Warns Of Pre-K Funding Crisis, GOP Leaders Say He’s ‘Panicking’ Parents

Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton is warning that pre-Kindergarten programs could be in jeopardy for thousands of 4-year-olds.


Schools, Research & Gun Safety: Minn. Dems Unveil Gun Violence Plan

Minnesota lawmakers are taking action on gun violence.


Reality Check: Will Minnesota Pass Any New Gun Laws?

In the Minnesota House and Senate, there are currently 26 separate bills pending that restrict guns or aim to curb gun violence.


Dayton Names Thissen Among State Supreme Court Finalists

Former gubernatorial candidate and Democratic state Rep. Paul Thissen was named as one of four finalists for a Minnesota Supreme Court vacancy on Wednesday, raising the specter of Gov. Mark Dayton naming another partisan figure to the state’s highest court.


Minn. House Committee Unanimously Votes To Restrict Cameras In Courtrooms

State lawmakers Wednesday took a dramatic step to curb the use of cameras in Minnesota courtrooms.


Committee Nixes Attempts To Resurrect Gun Control Bills

Gun control advocates are criticizing a vote by a powerful House committee Tuesday that essentially kills two gun safety measures in the state.


Bill Seeks To Toughen DWI Penalties To Include Snowmobile, ATV Privileges

Minnesota lawmakers are cracking down on drunk drivers — on snowmobiles and ATVs.


House GOP Revives Push To Crack Down On Highway Protests

Lawmakers are clashing over a renewed attempt to increase penalties for protesting that blocks traffic, transit lines or at airports.




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