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


The sacking of Birk won’t last forever, so Walz needs to be bold

By: - July 22, 2022

The drip-drip-drip of the Harvard grade inflation scandal continues, as Harvard College graduate Matt Birk, the likely GOP nominee for lieutenant governor, continues his tour through Minnesota politics. In case you missed it, Birk made a speech to the National Right to Life group on the same day Roe v. Wade was overturned, and he […]

Video of Jensen’s running mate Matt Birk shows controversial views on abortion, women working

By: - July 19, 2022

Even though abortion remains legal in Minnesota due to a 1995 state Supreme Court precedent, the issue continues to shape the 2022 governor’s race, with Gov. Tim Walz’s reelection campaign set to hammer likely GOP opponent Scott Jensen and his running mate Matt Birk on the issue Tuesday.  Newly released video shows Birk speaking to […]

Congressional candidate Tyler Kistner is two months late on financial disclosure form

By: - July 14, 2022

Tyler Kistner, the likely Republican nominee to challenge U.S. Rep. Angie Craig in the 2nd District, hasn’t filed a required financial disclosure report with the House Clerk despite a May deadline.  A Kistner campaign spokesman said in a text message that the paperwork has been completed but not turned in, and they expect it to […]


Thanks, Republicans: THC legalization began with the 2018 federal farm bill

By: - July 8, 2022

After Minnesota Republicans in the Legislature couldn’t get their story straight last week about whether they had intended to allow Democrats to legalize marijuana edibles and drinks, the big joke was that they’d sampled the supply and accidentally legalized it. But it’s even funnier, because the Minnesota GOP may not have been the first Republicans […]

U.S. Rep. Angie Craig raised $1.4 million in 2Q

By: - July 7, 2022

U.S. Rep. Angie Craig says she raised an impressive $1.4 million during the second quarter, with a lift since the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision. The campaign says donations via their texting program tripled since Roe was overturned and saw a 60% increase in return on ad spend on Facebook. Craig is in one of the […]

copycat THC edibles

The Legislature stumbles into legalizing THC, for better or worse | Column

By: - July 1, 2022

In the final days of the legislative session in May, a bipartisan panel was negotiating the differences between health and human services bills passed by the DFL-led House and GOP-controlled Senate.  They had hundreds of pages to get through, and a bevy of amendments to approve, including one “exempting cannabinoids derived from hemp from Schedule […]

Reformer reporter Deena Winter wins Journalist of the Year

By: - June 29, 2022

The Minnesota chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists named Reformer reporter Deena Winter its journalist of the year for her work during 2021. Winter, who has been a reporter and editor for three decades, distinguished herself with high-profile investigative and enterprise reporting across a broad swath of the Minnesota news landscape, including the rise […]

Roe is gone, but what does that mean in Minnesota?

By: - June 24, 2022

The U.S. Supreme Court, as expected, overturned Roe v. Wade on Friday, which for 50 years had protected Americans’ right to an abortion. The new law of the land, issued in Dobbs vs. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, means states are now free to criminalize abortion. What does this mean for Minnesotans seeking abortion care? Your […]

No special legislative session, no tax cuts, no extra education spending

By: - June 16, 2022

Republicans and Democratic-Farmer-Labor lawmakers broke off negotiations Thursday, leaving billions of dollars on the table that will leave school districts scrambling to deal with budget shortfalls, and local governments without public works money to complete important projects. Minnesotans confronting the highest inflation in decades won’t see any direct payments or tax cuts to ease the […]


The emerging paramilitary wing of the GOP

By: - June 16, 2022

It’s campaign season, which means Republican candidates for office wielding weapons and threatening to use them. Here’s U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert, looking like an extra in a straight-to-DVD Western. COME AND TAKE IT — Rep. Lauren Boebert (@RepBoebert) February 25, 2022 J.R. Majewski, a Republican candidate for Congress in Ohio, ran an ad (since […]


Tirado settlement is an unsatisfactory end to two outrageous incidents in city history | Column

By: - June 2, 2022

How much is your left eye worth to you? $10 million? $1 million? $600,000 seems low, but that’s what Linda Tirado is stuck with. She’s the photographer who was permanently blinded in her left eye when police shot her with a projectile in the days after George Floyd was murdered, by the police.  Rather than […]


Kim Crockett must be shunned | Column

By: - May 26, 2022

The Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party gathered last weekend in Rochester, even though their candidates for statewide office are all incumbents. Everyone presumed it would be a dull affair.  Secretary of State Steve Simon stepped to the lectern. Simon is bright, competent and responsible.  You won’t hear Simon deliver the usual self-aggrandizing bombast or partisan sallies. It’s just […]