Word of Sandra Gardebring’s passing caught one former Capitol dweller by surprise. I broke the news to my father, Gene Lahammer, who is going on 50 years of covering politics. He knew Gardebring and her husband former state Representative Paul Ogren very well. Mr. Lahammer described them as “a power couple at the Capitol.” He added Gardebring “was brilliant, very gifted.” Gov. Rudy Perpich elevated her to the high court and Gene described her as a “Perpich favorite” who earned her way up in government. Gardebring served the state in so many capacities. I got to cover her in her time at the University of Minnesota and she struck me as smart and warm instantly. But my father covered her for decades and he’s the source I trust the most.