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

Police chief: Rep. John Thompson engaged in heated confrontation with St. Paul police, again

By: - April 25, 2022

The chief of the St. Paul Police Department says state Rep. John Thompson, DFL-St. Paul, intervened in a traffic stop of his daughter, “attempt(ed) to intimidate and bully police officers” and “misuse(d) his official position.” St. Paul Police Chief Todd Axtell wrote in a blistering Facebook post Monday that an officer stopped Thompson’s daughter, whose […]

‘We can do that’: Walz calls for compromise, action on big issues during State of the State

By: and - April 25, 2022

Facing one of the most challenging periods of his political career, Gov. Tim Walz returned to his political roots during his State of the State address Sunday, pitching a pragmatic, optimistic call for compromise to the center of the Minnesota electorate.  Walz, giving his first State of the State address in the House chamber since […]


What to do with the surplus? The economic and moral imperatives are clear | Column

By: - April 15, 2022

State lawmakers will return next week from their spring break facing a choice about Minnesota’s future — they’ll decide what to do with a $9.2 billion surplus. Republicans want to cut taxes, with half the money from an income tax cut going to people who make more than $100,000 per year. We remain one of […]

Minnesota Reformer, Star Tribune fighting city subpoena

By: - April 13, 2022

Minnesota Reformer and the Star Tribune are fighting Minneapolis over the city’s broad subpoenas issued to Reformer deputy editor Max Nesterak and Star Tribune reporter Andy Mannix.  The subpoenas were issued in a civil case against the city brought by freelance photographer Linda Tirado, who was shot by a foam projectile and blinded in one […]

Influential police group endorses state Sen. Paul Gazelka for governor

By: - April 11, 2022

The Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association announced an endorsement Monday of state Sen. Paul Gazelka for governor. “He is an extraordinary supporter of first responders and public safety officials and stands against attempts to defund and dismantle the police,” said Brian Peters, the executive director of the MPPOA, said in a statement. “He will […]


Let’s make it easier for moms to breastfeed if they want to | Column

By: - April 4, 2022

When Stephanie Hall had her first three children, breastfeeding didn’t feel like it was a viable option, starting in the hospital.  “They threw me to the wolves with breastfeeding. I had to figure it out on my own,” she said.  Hall didn’t have much success until her fourth child, which came after she met Dr. […]

Minnesota House passes bill aimed at Amazon worker safety; unlikely to pass Senate

By: - March 28, 2022

The Minnesota House passed a bill Monday on a nearly party line vote (72-60) that aims to protect warehouse workers at companies like Amazon from escalating rates of workplace illness and injury. The Republican-controlled Senate is unlikely to consider the measure (HF2774). Still, the bill’s House passage illustrates — if only symbolically for now — […]


Jensen goes full reckless in choice of running mate Birk | Opinion

By: - March 17, 2022

Former state Sen. Scott Jensen, who is the frontrunner to be the Republican nominee for governor, made his first major decision by picking Matt Birk to be his running mate.  Birk is a former professional football player and an outspoken conservative who publicly advocated in 2012 for a state constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage.  […]

Hortman on GOP negotiating position: ‘Bull crap on top of bull crap’

By: - March 16, 2022

Minnesota House Speaker Melissa Hortman was livid late Tuesday, as negotiations broke down and a deadline came and went for Minnesota to pay back money owed to the federal government, which lent the state $2.7 billion to help pay unemployment benefits during the pandemic. “The answer to a math problem is not ‘no,'” Hortman said. […]


Before you turn us into Wisconsin, drop your vanity campaign | Opinion

By: - March 8, 2022

Minnesotans have a strange affinity for minor parties.  I suspect this is due to the state’s rich history of influential second tier parties — Democrats still hang on to the Farmer-Labor Party label with whom they merged in 1944. Minnesota is strongly linked to politics arising out of agrarian socialism, as well as populism, the […]

Text of President Biden’s first State of the Union address

By: - March 1, 2022

Following is the text of the State of the Union address delivered by President Joe Biden on Tuesday night at the U.S. Capitol, as released by the White House: Madam Speaker, Madam Vice President, our First Lady and Second Gentleman. Members of Congress and the Cabinet. Justices of the Supreme Court. My fellow Americans. Last […]

Republicans propose big tax cut; Dems say it’s too much for the rich

By: - February 24, 2022

Minnesota Senate Republicans rolled out a proposal Thursday to reduce the first-tier income tax rate from 5.35% to 2.8% and eliminate state tax on Social Security benefits. The bill would cost the state $8.51 billion over the next three years, according to Senate GOP. “Our surplus means just one thing: Government took too much money […]