Reformer Radio

Each week, Reformer Radio goes deep with people at the center of important stories from around our state. We bring you context and analysis to explain not just what happened, but why it happened, who is responsible, and what it means for Minnesota.

The Watchdog

HOSTED BY: - October 22, 2021

Jim Nobles spent nearly four decades uncovering fraud, waste and malpractice in Minnesota state government as the nonpartisan legislative auditor. He oversaw literally hundreds of investigations over his time, from police abuses of power to child care fraud to mistreatment of the mentally ill. It often took his office months to complete its work, issuing […]


How Mary Moriarty would prosecute

HOSTED BY: - October 1, 2021

As a public defender, Mary Moriarty spent her entire career trying to keep people out of prison. Now she’s running to be Hennepin County attorney and looking to transform an agency she spent decades fighting against. “Even the best public defender is still confined by the framework created by the prosecutor,” Moriarty said. “Because prosecutors […]


140 years of redistricting failure

HOSTED BY: - September 17, 2021

The Minnesota Legislature hasn’t successfully redrawn legislative districts on time without intervention by the courts in 140 years. This time around looks to be no different. For the past 50 years, the courts have taken to drawing them when the Legislature reliably fails to agree to new boundaries. The courts don’t do this unprompted — […]


The loss of leadership at MNGOP

HOSTED BY: - August 27, 2021

The Minnesota Republican Party needs a new leader. But it’s a job few people want. The federal indictment of a major Minnesota GOP donor on charges of sex trafficking minors set in motion a series of events that led to the ouster of party chair Jennifer Carnahan. The crisis in leadership comes on top of […]


The hardest job

HOSTED BY: - August 20, 2021

After helping her disabled brother start his morning routine, Nora Clark rides the bus an hour and arrives at Scott Sema’s house at 9 a.m. She brushes his teeth, shaves his face, showers him and then starts making his breakfast. She makes about $1,000 a week working 68 hours for Sema and her brother. Not […]


The wild politics of the zombie deer disease

HOSTED BY: - August 13, 2021

Since chronic wasting disease was first found in wild deer in Minnesota in 2010, it’s shown up in more deer and in more places across the state. Preventing the so-called Zombie Deer Disease from spreading is especially difficult because the vector — a folded protein called a prion — can contaminate plants and soil for […]


Finding recovery (abstinence not required)

HOSTED BY: - July 30, 2021

When Tiffany Irvin lost her five children to child protective services, she was at the height of her addiction to opioids. It took her two years to get them back, an agonizing period made longer she says by not having any support to get sober. Irvin is now seven years into her recovery and leads […]


The rise and fall of the country’s fifth charter school

HOSTED BY: - July 23, 2021

It was once called a “beat the odds” school. It achieved higher math scores than any other school with such a high percentage of students in poverty in the Twin Cities. It represented the promise of charter schools to provide high-quality education to students of color. But in less than a decade, proficiency in reading […]


steve grove

Where the economy goes from here

HOSTED BY: - July 16, 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic erased hundreds of thousands of jobs in Minnesota and only about 65% have returned. But there’s also a bright side: Low-wage workers are seeing meaningful increases in their paychecks and the number of new businesses created over the past year has increased by 30%. Department of Employment and Economic Development Commissioner Steve […]


A freshman Republican on the future of the GOP

HOSTED BY: - July 2, 2021

Republicans haven’t won a statewide race in Minnesota in 15 years. Now, as they look to the midterms, they must confront the lasting influence of Trump and Trumpism, which continues to divide the GOP. Representative Jordan Rasmusson, R-Fergus Falls, looks like he could be the future of the party: a 28-year-old Harvard graduate hand-picked by […]


The race to stop Line 3 before it’s finished

HOSTED BY: - June 18, 2021

For six years, environmentalists and Native tribes have been trying to stop the Canadian company Enbridge from building a new oil pipeline through northern Minnesota. So far, Enbridge has been winning, with another recent victory this week in the Minnesota Court of Appeals. Despite the blow, activists say a long summer of opposition to Line […]


Homeownership is declining in the Twin Cities

HOSTED BY: - June 11, 2021

High demand and record-low supply are pushing housing prices to new heights in the Twin Cities. But developers aren’t building enough homes that most people can afford. The Twin Cities has historically had among the highest rates of homeownership in the country, but that rate is falling. At the same time, the region confronts a […]


Who is Operation Safety Now?

HOSTED BY: - June 4, 2021

Facing an existential threat to his department, Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo found support among a group of vocal, concerned citizens. A pro-police grassroots movement? Not entirely. Hundreds of emails obtained by the Reformer show Arradondo coordinated closely with a start-up group called Operation Safety Now devoted to swaying public opinion and showing strong support […]


Marathon vs. the Teamsters

HOSTED BY: - May 28, 2021

One-hundred-twenty-seven days ago the Teamsters Local 120 called a strike at the Marathon oil refinery in St. Paul Park alleging unsafe working conditions and unfair labor practices. Some 200 workers haven’t returned since. Marathon says it has rigorous health and safety standards and an exemplary record. Workers say a disaster is all but certain. This […]


Rep. Betty McCollum on U.S. aid to Israel

HOSTED BY: - May 24, 2021

U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum is a fierce and longtime critic of Israel’s military occupation and human rights abuses. It was once a lonely and politically precarious stance in Congress, before her position was bolstered by a new generation of Democratic lawmakers. After the latest conflict left at least 230 Palestinians and 12 Israelis dead, we […]


The chaotic and unproductive 2021 session

HOSTED BY: - May 21, 2021

It was supposed to be one of the most consequential legislative sessions in nearly a decade. But after debating tax hikes, police reform, COVID-19 precautions, the governor’s executive powers, vehicle emissions standards, marijuana legalization, voter ID, rent control, abortion clinic licensing and other thorny political issues, lawmakers adjourned with only a “numbers only” budget agreement […]


Sammy’s survival year

HOSTED BY: - May 14, 2021

Sammy McDowell didn’t set out to create anything more than a restaurant. But Sammy’s Avenue Eatery has become ‘the Cheers bar’ for people of all walks of life in north Minneapolis. Sammy talks about making it through a year that has been ruinous for restaurants, small businesses and Black-owned businesses. He weathered COVID-19 shutdowns and […]


Gov. Tim Walz on police and protest

HOSTED BY: - May 7, 2021

Gov. Tim Walz promised more police reform after Daunte Wright was killed, but he’ll have to beg and barter to get it through a divided Legislature. The clock is ticking on the legislative session, with the DFL governor and the Legislature negotiating a two-year, $52 billion budget. Swaths of government will shut down without an […]