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


Political nuggets: A DFL strategist on Walz’s choice; retirements coming

By: - August 17, 2021

This is ripped from Daily Reformer, our email newsletter filled with the latest in Minnesota politics and policy. Sign up here.   I talked to a DFL operative recently who framed out the key strategic choice for Gov. Tim Walz’s reelection campaign:  Re-run “One Minnesota,” which was an attempt to unify the state around a set […]

Walz headed overseas

By: - August 9, 2021

Gov. Tim Walz announced Monday he’s going on a trade mission to the United Kingdom and Finland in November. Representatives from more than two dozen businesses and organizations affiliated with the medical technology, agribusiness, environmental technology and educational sectors will join Walz. First Lady Gwen Walz, Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development Commissioner Steve Grove, […]

House DFL staff show solidarity with former Senate staffer who says she was harassed

By: - August 2, 2021

Three dozen Democratic-Farmer-Labor staff in the Minnesota House rose in support of Cynthia Callais, a former Senate aide, who told the Reformer in a recent story that she was sexually harassed by a DFL operative, Clay Schwartzwalter. Callais worked in the state Senate for state Sen. Jason Isaacson, who is Schwartzwalter’s half-brother. Schwartzwalter had also […]

Thompson’s House ethics matter delayed

By: - July 23, 2021

A Minnesota House Ethics Committee hearing about remarks made by Rep. John Thompson on the floor of the House was delayed at Thompson’s request so he could find a lawyer to represent him, Brian Bakst of MPR News reported Friday. Rep. Eric Lucero, R-Dayton, filed an ethics complaint against Thompson, accusing Thompson of slandering him […]

Are we nearing the end of the Thompson saga?

By: - July 22, 2021

This was ripped from Daily Reformer, our daily newsletter, which you can get in your in-box for free by signing up here.  This appearance by the embattled Rep. John Thompson, DFL-St. Paul, outside the courthouse Wednesday, where he was convicted of a misdemeanor for a North Memorial Hospital disturbance, has me wondering if the end […]

From Daily Reformer: Hortman wants a public works bill in September

By: - July 21, 2021

This item is ripped from Daily Reformer, our free newsletter. To receive in your in-box weekdays and even some weekends, sign up here. News: House Speaker Melissa Hortman told me this morning after a session with her new lawn edger that she’s restarting infrastructure bonding bill talks, hoping to hammer it out by a September special legislative […]

House Speaker Melissa Hortman responds to Minority Leader Daudt on Thompson

By: - July 21, 2021

Minnesota House Speaker Melissa Hortman sent a terse letter Wednesday to Minority Leader Kurt Daudt, R-Crown, saying she will not take any immediate action in dealing with the travails of Rep. John Thompson, DFL-St. Paul, though she has called on him to resign. Thompson was recently revealed to have been accused in police reports during […]

Reformer Radio: Rep. Jordan Rasmusson on the future of the GOP

By: - July 2, 2021

Rep. Jordan Rasmusson is a 28-year-old Republican lawmaker from Fergus Falls serving his first term in the Minnesota House. Although his age might indicate he’s the future of the Republican Party, he is also a throwback to the past, with a resume Republicans once longed for — Harvard College, the elite consulting firm McKinsey & […]


Grading the state budget: Not bad, but there’s much more to do | Column

By: - June 28, 2021

The Legislature and Gov. Tim Walz slogged their way to a state budget just days before a government shutdown. Given the inflow of federal cash paired with a divided government, it’s the kind of status quo with a shot of espresso agreement we would expect.  Which is fine, insofar as by many measures, Minnesota has […]

With refinery safety bill, Republicans forced to choose between old friends and new

By: - June 22, 2021

This is ripped from Daily Reformer, our email newsletter featuring scalding hot takes on Minnesota policy and politics. Sign up here. A bit more about a key vote Ricardo Lopez focused on in his roundup of Monday’s legislative activities: An oil refinery safety bill that would have required refinery contract workers to have completed an […]

Lawmakers tussling over more than the state budget — essential worker pay and reinsurance also up in the air

By: - June 18, 2021

The Minnesota Legislature continues to labor toward final agreements on a two-year, $52 billion budget deal, spread out over about a baker’s dozen major bills. Currently, none of them have been passed and signed by Gov. Tim Walz since a special legislative session convened Monday. Government agencies without funding by June 30 will shut down. […]


About that House GOP filibuster

By: - June 18, 2021

This is ripped from Daily Reformer, your best place for Minnesota politics, policy and the hottest of hot takes. Sign up here. Into late Thursday night, Minnesota House Republicans held up a commerce and energy budget bill, At 11:41 p.m., Session Daily reports, the House voted to table the bill. Higher education, agriculture and Legacy […]