Tom Steward covers government waste, spending and policy issues in his home state of Minnesota. Also a documentary filmmaker and in-depth broadcast journalist, Tom's work has appeared on NPR, Animal Planet, WCCO-TV, WGBH-TV, PBS, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, KSTP-TV, CBC, among other outlets. Highlights include the fall of the Berlin Wall, a Peabody Award, the first footage in the wild of the endangered Sumatran tiger and rhino and countless individuals who shared their stories, big and small. Steward served as a communications strategist in the U.S. Senate before returning to reporting on issues and people often overlooked by other media.

Biggest MN provider ditches Obamacare state health exchange

By   /  September 17, 2014  /  Health Care, Minnesota, Obamacare, State Government  /  No Comments

Photo from MNsure.

The prognosis for Minnesota’s state health insurance exchange, MNsure, took a turn for the worse this week, as the provider offering some of the lowest premiums in the country opted out of the program, amid financial concerns.

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Flipped out? Political pundits pan Maher’s MN Flip A District

By   /  September 16, 2014  /  Congress, Elections, Minnesota, Politics  /  No Comments

Photo from HBO Youtube Video.

Bill Maher admitted on his latest show that he didn’t know much about Minnesota politics. He doesn’t know much about comedy, either, but that hasn’t stopped him.

After soliciting suggestions via tweets from his audience from among 16 GOP congressmen for his 2014 “Flip a District” campaign contest, Maher selected Rep. John Kline from Minnesota’s second congressional district.

“I know what you’re thinking, I’ve never heard of John Kline,” Maher told his D.C. studio audience.

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City fights citizen watchdog case amid mounting legal fees

By   /  September 12, 2014  /  Accountability, Good Government, Government Waste, Local Government, Minnesota, News  /  No Comments

Photo courtesy of City of Victoria.

You would be hard pressed to put a price on the impact of citizen watchdogs and their role in holding government accountable.

But in the small Twin Cities suburb of Victoria, the cost of local accountability, at least by one measure, comes to $68,000 in legal fees — and counting.

“The legal defense in this action is a very costly endeavor. An indication of the costs involved can be found in the extent of the initial document search, which required the review of 30,000 pages,” Mayor Tom O’Connor of Victoria said at an Aug. 25 City Council meeting.

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Federal appeals court overturns MN ballot campaign speech restrictions

By   /  September 10, 2014  /  First Amendment, Minnesota  /  No Comments

Photo courtesy of Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals.

A Twin Cities school district, smarting after a 2007 levy referendum loss, threatened legal action against a citizen opposition group under a century-old state law banning false political speech.

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In the hole: Minnesota residents, businesses charged monthly fee to fix city streets

By   /  September 2, 2014  /  Economy, Local Government, Minnesota, News  /  No Comments


You quickly get a clue about the scope of Duluth’s street repair problem by logging onto the city website.

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Home-care workers’ union election prompts new legal challenge

By   /  August 28, 2014  /  Minnesota, State Government, unions  /  No Comments

Photo by Tom Steward.

After years of organizing home-care workers and waging a divisive 2013 legislative battle, the Service Employees International Union prevailed this week in the largest public-sector union election in Minnesota history.

The victory, certified by the Minnesota Bureau of Mediation Services, came with asterisks that will determine the ultimate effect of the outcome.

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