De Andre Hudson got the bad news on a recent weekday evening when he called the homeless hot line at Simpson United Methodist Church, asking if the city had an open shelter bed.
No luck. Every adult shelter bed in Minneapolis was filled, an advocate who was taking phone calls, told him. It meant another night spent riding the light rail back and forth between Minneapolis and St. Paul. Forty others like Hudson would also be denied.
“It’s been like this for three months,” said Hudson, 45, a bag of clothes beside him. “I don’t like living on the street.”
A $400,000 federal grant offered to the city could provide temporary shelter for Hudson and dozens like him, and it’s at the heart of a debate among officials and advocates on how the city of Minneapolis spends money it receives from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
For those who don’t want mining — or even the whiff of mining — to come anywhere near northern Minnesota’s protected Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, the last weeks of the Barack Obama administration were good ones.
Just as Donald Trump was preparing to take office, the Obama administration declined to renew mineral leases held by the company Twin Metals, and began the process of blocking off nearly a quarter-million acres of Superior National Forest from mining projects for up to 20 years.
Fourth District DFL Rep. Betty McCollum, one of Congress’ staunchest opponents of mining near the Boundary Waters, said back then that Minnesotans should celebrate the victories, but cautioned that “we have more work to do.”
She was right. Shortly after Trump took office, proponents of allowing a path for mining to move forward in northeastern Minnesota have taken aim at the Obama decisions from every vantage point available.
Matt Pelikan, a Democratic attorney with significant political experience, is joining the ranks hoping to replace Attorney General Lori Swanson.
“This is a time of unprecedented challenges for Minnesota and for the progressive values that I cherish,” Pelikan, who will formally announce his campaign in the coming days, said in an interview. “I believe we need a strong progressive attorney general now more than ever.”
The race for Minnesota’s top lawyer may or may not have an incumbent. Swanson, a three-term Democratic incumbent, is weighing whether to run again or vie in the governor’s race.
Pelikan, like others, is not waiting for her to decide. Two Democrats — Rep. Debra Hilstrom and former Rep. Ryan Winkler — and two Republicans — activist Harry Niska and former Rep. Doug Wardlow — are already running for the office. Democratic Rep. John Lesch was running but dropped out on Friday.