Jeff Johnson announces run for governor

MinnPost file photo by Brian Halliday
Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson

Johnson is giving it another shot. The Star Tribune’s J. Patrick Coolican reports: “Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson announced Wednesday he is running for governor in 2018. … Johnson, the 2014 Republican nominee, made his announcement with a polished video via social media, promising to restore “power, opportunity and freedom” to Minnesotans. … Johnson, of Plymouth, is known as the Hennepin board’s most conservative member and a frequent critic of government spending, the expansion of light rail and the Metropolitan Council. He previously served in the House. … In his video, Johnson said he would seek to cap property taxes, automatically rebate taxes when there’s a surplus, end the Metropolitan Council, give choice in education and health insurance.”

The Trump staff shakeup you aren’t talking about today. The Star Tribune’s Josephine Marcotty writes: “The sudden overhaul of a key advisory panel at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency sends a worrisome signal that science will take a back seat to industry under the Trump administration, according to a respected University of Minnesota water scientist who chairs the panel. … Deborah Swackhamer hasn’t lost her job — her term on the Board of Scientific Counselors ends in 2018. But 13 members of the 18-person panel will not be reappointed, and now she faces months of uncertainty about whether the scientific mission of the panel will be watered down by the industry representatives who are likely to replace them.”

Speaking of staff shakeups … MPR’s Catharine Richert reports: “The Rochester Art Center has laid off five of its 12 employees after an audit found deep financial difficulties. … The art center has suffered a series of personnel and financial blows in the last year. Executive director Megan Johnston left without explanation after a short tenure. She was gone within weeks of the completion of an independent auditor’s financial report saying there was substantial doubt the center could survive. … The departures include two full-time employees. … According to a statement from board president Brad Nuss and the museum’s interim director Lee Koch, the layoffs are meant to help balance the center’s struggling budget.”

Might be kinda important. WCCO reports: “Minnesota Health Commissioner Dr. Ed Ehlinger has requested the legislature create a public health response contingency fund to help battle infectious disease outbreaks. … On Wednesday, Ehlinger released a statement regarding an immediate need for an emergency fund, citing the recent response to a series of infectious disease outbreaks. … Those outbreaks include multi-drug resistant tuberculosis, hundreds of new syphilis cases and the measles outbreak, which is the worst Minnesota has faced in nearly 30 years.”

In other news…

House hunting? “10 most expensive Twin Cities homes for sale right now” [City Pages]

Per usual, it’s about parking: “Battle Brewing Between Bicyclists and Businesses in South Minneapolis” [KSTP]

Good luck: “Larson reps Minneapolis music on The Voice” [KARE]

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