J. Patrick Coolican

J. Patrick Coolican

J. Patrick Coolican is Editor-in-Chief of Minnesota Reformer. Previously, he was a Capitol reporter for the Minneapolis Star Tribune for five years, after a Knight-Wallace Fellowship at the University of Michigan and time at the Las Vegas Sun, Seattle Times and a few other stops along the way. He lives in St. Paul with his wife and two young children

Rep. Tom Emmer (R-MN)

Emmer knows Biden won, which means he knows Trump committed a crime against democracy

By: - August 16, 2023

U.S. Rep. Tom Emmer, who represents the 6th District and has risen quickly in Congress to become the Republican majority whip, is all-in with the coup plotters.  In the hours after former President Donald Trump was again indicted — this time charged by a grand jury for conspiring to overturn the Georgia election he lost […]

Rep. Dean Phillips (D-MN) speaking outside of US Capitol

Democrats should listen to Dean Phillips, or catastrophe may await

By: - August 7, 2023

Democrats have their eyes closed and are silently walking toward a cliff.  President Joe Biden has accomplished more important progressive policy priorities than any president since Lyndon Johnson, but in a recent poll he’s running even with the thrice indicted would-be authoritarian Donald Trump.  Given the Electoral College tilt toward Republicans, that translates into a […]


Why the DFL should care the most about fraud in government programs

By: - August 4, 2023

The Reformer’s Deena Winter reports this week that about half of the people indicted in the Feeding Our Future scandal have ties to nonprofit groups that had other state contracts. It adds up to tens of millions of dollars in contracts granted to the nonprofits to provide services like child care, adult daycare and other […]


A close reading of the DOJ’s breathtaking report on the unlawful behavior of the MPD

By: - July 14, 2023

Minnesota high school students are now required to pass a course in civics to graduate.  “Investigation of the City of Minneapolis and the Minneapolis Police Department” should be a canonical text in any Minnesota civics class, for it illustrates the tyrannical government the nation was ostensibly founded to prevent.  Minneapolis may not exactly be ruled […]

The Easter eggs: The good stuff the Legislature passed you may not have heard about

By: - June 26, 2023

For months in 2022, a few county boards were forced to deal with unruly crowds of right-wing activists who pressured the elected officials to switch to hand-counting paper ballots.  Doing so would have been an unwieldy nightmare for the counties — hand counting is more expensive and less accurate than machine counts, and the grueling process […]


Is Tim Walz running for president? No, but he’s up to something with this national politicking.

By: - June 16, 2023

Gov. Tim Walz will be in Indiana tonight, keynoting the state Democratic Party’s “Hoosier Hospitality Dinner.”  I expect a joke about Big 10 basketball, before a speech hopped up on Diet Mountain Dew that will rally heartland Dems hoping to turn a red state purple.  In March, he was at the Aspen Ideas Festival in […]


Democrats made a big bet on themselves

By: - May 23, 2023

There are decades when nothing happens; and there are weeks when decades happen. This insight has been attributed to figures as varied as Marx, Lenin and Steve Bannon, and I heard it from a shrewd lobbyist at the Capitol last week.  Whatever the provenance, this is what we’ve experienced around the Minnesota Legislature this year.  […]


A crazy idea worth considering: more school

By: - May 18, 2023

The Legislature passed a bill that will fund schools for the next two years, and there’s a lot to like, primarily more money.  The legislative session’s education discourse has included a lot about free meals, reading pedagogy, social studies content, unemployment benefits for school hourly workers and what’s known around the Capitol as the “cross-subsidy,” […]


No one is jamming anything down anyone’s gullet

By: - May 4, 2023

I’m getting deja vu lately because I keep hearing a phrase from Minnesota Republicans that is some variation on how Democrats are “jamming” this or that thing they don’t like “down our throats.”  Rep. Dave Baker, R-Wilmar, contrasting his own paid family and medical leave proposal to the Democrats’: “This is a really good deal. […]

Minnesota House speaker defends alerting authorities after reporter’s confrontation with House aide

By: and - April 14, 2023

House Speaker Melissa Hortman released a statement Friday,,saying an internal House policy forced her to take action against MinnPost reporter Peter Callaghan after a press conference confrontation between him and a party spokesman.

Media organizations send letter defending MinnPost Capitol reporter

By: - April 13, 2023

A coalition of media organizations, including the Minnesota Reformer, has sent a letter to Minnesota House DFL leadership, decrying the treatment of MinnPost Capitol reporter Peter Callaghan.  “Journalists should not be forced to walk on eggshells for fear they will be removed or arrested by armed guards if they ask a question that someone on […]

Steve Grove leaves Walz cabinet to join local newspaper

By: - February 14, 2023

Steve Grove, who has been the commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development since 2019, was named CEO and publisher of the Star Tribune, replacing Mike Klingensmith. The Star Tribune story announcing the Grove hire briefly mentions the new challenge for Star Tribune journalists, who must cover the Walz administration for a […]