Walz Attends RBG Vigil with ‘Several Hundred’ After Telling Trump, Biden to Limit Events to 250 People

Gov. Tim Walz and his wife, Gwen, attended and spoke at a candlelight vigil Sunday night in remembrance of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died Friday.

According to Star Tribune reporter Liz Sawyer, “several hundred” people gathered at Boom Island in Minneapolis for the event, which was hosted by the left-wing group Gender Justice.

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Minnesota Secretary of State Sends Letters Telling Those Who Haven’t Requested Absentee Ballots to Vote from Home

Minnesota’s Secretary of State Steve Simon is sending letters telling those who haven’t requested an absentee ballot to vote from home. An estimated 2.3 million voters will receive the letter and an absentee ballot application.
The letter asserts that staying safe and keeping other citizens healthy “means voting from home.” 

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Governor Walz Sets First-Ever Standards for ‘Really Good Chance’ of Lifting Emergency Executive Orders

In an interview with The Star Tribune, Governor Tim Walz set the first standards for possibly lifting Minnesota’s emergency executive orders. His statement didn’t promise total relinquishment of his executive powers.
According to Walz, under 20 percent community spread and 4 percent test positivity rate would give Minnesota “a really good chance of doing most things.” The governor balked when questioned whether some of the restrictions were too harsh. Walz stated that his state has endured COVID-19 better than many states.

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Coffee Shop Owners Expose Reality of Forced Closures Under Minnesota’s Gov Walz’s Executive Orders

A viral post from The Coffee Nest shared it was forced to close after the state threatened the local business with imprisonment, fines, and more. They have since deleted the post, citing an influx of private hate messages.
Most commenters expressed frustration over the negative impacts of Governor Walz’s executive orders.

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Sen. Gazelka Challenges Gov. Walz on COVID Measures and Meetings: ‘There is No Longer an Emergency’

Senator Paul Gazelka (R-Nisswa) continues to challenge Governor Tim Walz’s emergency executive powers, even after their private meeting Thursday. The two disagree about the necessity of Minnesota’s continued state of emergency.

Their meeting marked the 175th day of Walz’s orders.

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Sen. Gazelka Challenges Gov. Walz on COVID Measures and Meetings: ‘There is No Longer an Emergency’

Senator Paul Gazelka (R-Nisswa) continues to challenge Governor Tim Walz’s emergency executive powers, even after their private meeting Thursday. The two disagree about the necessity of Minnesota’s continued state of emergency.

Their meeting marked the 175th day of Walz’s orders.

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U.S. COVID Response Coordinator Dr. Birx: Minnesotans Haven’t Done Enough to Decrease Spread

U.S. Coronavirus Response Coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx stated in a visit to Minnesota on Sunday that Minnesotans haven’t done enough to decrease the spread of COVID-19. The visit is part of a cross-country tour to gauge how well states are adhering to coronavirus guidelines.
Birx commended the measures instituted by the state. However, she said that Minnesotans needed to do more – especially in rural areas.

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U.S. COVID Response Coordinator Dr. Birx: Minnesotans Haven’t Done Enough to Decrease Spread

U.S. Coronavirus Response Coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx stated in a visit to Minnesota on Sunday that Minnesotans haven’t done enough to decrease the spread of COVID-19. The visit is part of a cross-country tour to gauge how well states are adhering to coronavirus guidelines.
Birx commended the measures instituted by the state. However, she said that Minnesotans needed to do more – especially in rural areas.

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Minnesota Will Receive $300 Weekly in Unemployment Benefits Under FEMA Grant

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) approved for Minnesotans to receive $300 in weekly unemployment benefits this fall. FEMA Administrator Pete Gaynor issued the grant through the Lost Wages Supplemental Payment Assistance program.

The approval comes one day after Governor Tim Walz announced his decision to apply for additional unemployment payments. Walz explained this was a necessary decision based on the continued COVID-19 mandates. 

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Gov. Walz’s Administration to Challenge Line Three Approval

The six-year battle in Minnesota over Enbridge’s 1960’s-era Line 3 pipeline will continue.

The Minnesota Department of Commerce (DOC) on Wednesday will appeal the Public Utilities Commission’s (PUC) February decision that approved the project’s certificate of need.

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Minnesota Senate Rejects Gov Walz’s Commissioner Appointee Nancy Leppink

The Minnesota Senate rejected Governor Walz’s appointee for the Department of Labor and Industry (DLI) Commissioner Nancy Leppink in a close vote 34 to 32.

Following the four hour session on Wednesday, the governor’s office issued a news release sharing Leppink’s lengthy career and its successes, as well as statements from various councils and organizations who support her.

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Governor Walz Will Extend COVID-19 Peacetime Emergency Again

Governor Walz announced in a press release Friday that he will extend Minnesota’s COVID-19 Peacetime Emergency again by 30 days. The state’s peacetime emergency first went into effect March 13 – this is the fifth extension to date.

“The COVID-19 pandemic is unprecedented and rapidly evolving, and we can’t let our guard down,” stated Walz.

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Gov Walz to Review Extensive Police Reform Bill

Minnesota’s House and Senate approved the SSHF1 amendment last Monday, a big bill positioned to issue widespread police reform throughout the state. Since its passage 102-29 in the House and 60-7 in the Senate, the bill now rests in the hands of Governor Tim Walz. 

SSHF1 is as long as it is weighty in its impact, with around 15 action items up for approval. Not only does it endeavor to further define legal use of force, but it creates and funds an administrative host of units, councils, and boards.

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Walz Orders Mask Mandate Indoors and in Crowded Outdoor Places Starting Friday Night

On Wednesday, Gov. Tim Walz signed Executive Order 20-81, ordering Minnesotans to wear a mask in indoor public settings and crowded outdoor spaces starting Friday at 11:59 p.m.

 “COVID-19 has impacted every corner of our state and every aspect of our lives,” Walz said in a statement.

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Walz Must Answer Abuse of Emergency Powers Charge Over COVID-19 Orders in Lawsuit

Over a dozen Minnesota state legislators have joined ranks with the Free Minnesota Small Business Coalition to stop what they argue are Governor Tim Walz’s unconstitutional abuses of power. A hearing in the case will take place, July 16, 2020, in Minnesota District Court.

Minneapolis attorney Erick Kaardal of Mohrman, Kaardal & Erickson, P.A. is representing the group in a lawsuit against Governor Walz, whom they are charging with overstepping his bounds and interfering in the legislative process, violating civil liberties of legislators, business owners, and the 5.6 million Minnesotans.

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Legislators, Gov. Walz Face off Over Emergency Powers via Zoom Court Battle

The result of a court hearing Thursday could impact the daily lives of about 5.6 million Minnesotans.

Ramsey County District Court Judge Thomas Gilligan heard from Minnesota Solicitor General Liz Kramer and Erick Kaardal, who’s representing more than a dozen state legislators and the Free Minnesota Small Business Coalition that claim harm under Gov. Tim Walz’s executive orders.

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Former Obama Official Asks Walz to Reclose All Bars for Indoor Service in Minnesota

One of former President Barack Obama’s top health care officials said he asked Gov. Tim Walz to reclose all bars in Minnesota during a Sunday phone call.

Andy Slavitt, the former acting administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, said he urged Walz and Department of Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm to close “all of the bars to indoor service across the state of Minnesota” to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

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Walz Calls Another Special Session, Says He Will Extend COVID-19 Emergency Powers

Gov. Tim Walz said he plans to extend his COVID-19 peacetime emergency declaration for another 30 days when lawmakers return to St. Paul Monday for a special session.

The governor announced Friday night that he has convened a special legislative session for July 13, the same day his peacetime emergency declaration is set to expire. According to Minnesota law, the governor must convene both houses of the Legislature if he wishes to extend a peacetime emergency when the Legislature is not in session.

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DFL Targets State Senate Republicans on Police Reform in New Ad Campaign

The Minnesota DFL Party launched a new ad campaign this week targeting key Republican state senators who are accused of “standing in the way of passing real police reform.”

Jason Lewis, a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, said in a recent interview that Democrats don’t “want reform” so much as they “want a political issue.”

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Jason Lewis Says Parents Should Be Refunded for Property Taxes If Schools Don’t Reopen

Republican Senate candidate Jason Lewis said parents should be refunded for property tax payments and tuition if schools aren’t allowed to reopen in the fall.

“The more we learn about COVID, the more it becomes apparent that we have done a huge disservice to our children in the way we have handled this virus. Research has proven that COVID presents minimal risks to young people. But what isn’t minimal is the toll this prolonged lockdown and social isolation has on our kids’ social, mental, and physical well-being,” Lewis said in a statement released Wednesday.

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Walz Expected to Call Another Special Session to Extend Emergency Powers

Gov. Tim Walz is expected to call another special session by the end of the week in order to extend his peacetime emergency powers.

House Speaker Melissa Hortman (DFL-Brooklyn Park) alerted members and staff in a Monday email about the likely special session.

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Republicans Invoke Independence Day In Opposition to Walz’s Coronavirus Response

Gov. Tim Walz recently filed a motion to dismiss a lawsuit brought against him regarding his use of emergency powers during the coronavirus pandemic.

The lawsuit was filed on May 28 by four members of the New House Republican Caucus, the Free Minnesota Coalition, and at least eight businesses across the state. The complaint argues that the governor does not have the authority to “suspend the constitutional rights of Minnesotans.”

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Walz Asks Federal Government to Help Twin Cities Rebuild from $500M Worth of Rioting Damage

Gov. Tim Walz has requested federal financial assistance to help the Twin Cities recover from more than $500 million worth of damage caused by rioting.

In a press release, Walz’s office said nearly 1,500 Twin Cities businesses were vandalized, burned, or looted during the late May riots, with current estimates of the damage exceeding $500 million.

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Judge Threatens to Move Trial Out of Minneapolis If Public Officials Don’t Stop Speaking Out About Floyd Case

A Minnesota judge on Monday warned that he’s likely to move the trials of four former police officers charged in George Floyd’s death out of Minneapolis if public officials, attorneys and family members don’t stop speaking out about the case.

Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill stopped short of issuing a gag order against attorneys on both sides, but he said he likely will if public statements continue that make it hard to find an impartial jury. Cahill said that would also make him likely to grant a change-of-venue motion if one is filed, as he anticipates.

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Judge Threatens to Move Trial Out of Minneapolis If Public Officials Don’t Stop Speaking Out About Floyd Case

A Minnesota judge on Monday warned that he’s likely to move the trials of four former police officers charged in George Floyd’s death out of Minneapolis if public officials, attorneys and family members don’t stop speaking out about the case.

Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill stopped short of issuing a gag order against attorneys on both sides, but he said he likely will if public statements continue that make it hard to find an impartial jury. Cahill said that would also make him likely to grant a change-of-venue motion if one is filed, as he anticipates.

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Walz Says Statewide Mask Mandate Is ‘On the Table’

Gov. Tim Walz said a statewide mask mandate to help curb the spread of COVID-19 is “on the table” during a Monday press conference.

According to Walz, Republican governors who participated in a Monday phone call with Vice President Mike Pence were also “exploring the idea.”

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Walz Says Statewide Mask Mandate Is ‘On the Table’

Gov. Tim Walz said a statewide mask mandate to help curb the spread of COVID-19 is “on the table” during a Monday press conference.

According to Walz, Republican governors who participated in a Monday phone call with Vice President Mike Pence were also “exploring the idea.”

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‘Train Wreck’ Special Session Cost Estimated $108,000

The Minnesota Legislature’s recent special session ended with no major accomplishments, but the eight-day session will still cost taxpayers an estimated $108,000.

The special session concluded on June 20 after Republicans in the Senate and Democrats in the House failed to reach an agreement on police reform legislation, the allocation of federal coronavirus relief funds, and other leftover business from the regular session, such as a borrowing package for public infrastructure projects.

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Walz Distributes $841M in Federal COVID Aid to Cities, Counties

Gov. Tim Walz approved plans Thursday to distribute $841 million in federal coronavirus aid to cities and counties across Minnesota, along with another $12 million for food banks and food shelves that have seen a surge in demand since the pandemic hit the state.

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Two Weeks Later, Investigation Into Toppling of Minnesota’s Christopher Columbus Statue Still Ongoing

It’s been two weeks since a Christopher Columbus statue was toppled outside the Minnesota Capitol, but the Minnesota Department of Public Safety said the investigation remains ongoing.

A spokesperson for the agency told KSTP chief political reporter Tom Hauser that the “investigation continues as the [Bureau of Criminal Apprehension] works to identify other participants in the incident, beyond the leader.”

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Minnesota Ends ‘Train Wreck’ Special Session With No Deal on Policing, Bonding Bill

Minnesota legislative leaders traded barbs Saturday after a special session collapsed with no deal on revamping policing following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, a session that one group called “a train wreck.”

The two sides may be back at it in another special session next month.

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Republicans Say Gov. Walz Has Failed to Provide Legal Justification for Coronavirus Shutdown

Republican lawmakers who sued Gov. Tim Walz said Friday that he has failed to provide legal justification for his response to the coronavirus pandemic.

“We are winning on this issue, and Gov. Walz knows it,” said Rep. Jeremy Munson (R-Lake Crystal), one of 13 Republican lawmakers who joined a lawsuit against Walz over his use of emergency powers during the pandemic.

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Nine More Lawmakers Join Lawsuit Against Gov. Walz Over Use of Emergency Powers

Nine more Republican lawmakers have joined a lawsuit against Gov. Tim Walz regarding his use of emergency powers during the coronavirus pandemic.

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St. Paul Saints to Play Season in Sioux Falls for Now Because of ‘Capacity Restrictions’

The St. Paul Saints announced Friday that the team will be participating in a 60-game season beginning July 3, but all games will be played in Sioux Falls, South Dakota until “capacity restrictions for outdoor events have relaxed.”

The American Association of Independent Professional Baseball said the shortened season will run from July 3 to September 10, concluding with a championship series between the top two teams. The league will consist of six teams based in three separate hubs.

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Eden Prairie School Board Member Criticizes ‘Unacceptable’ Lack of Direction from Walz Admin on Upcoming School Year

An Eden Prairie School Board member broke his silence Monday after learning that the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) won’t be releasing state guidance on the upcoming academic year until July 27.

Three scenarios are possible for the 2020-21 school year, including continued distance learning, the resumption of in-person instruction, or a mix of the two.

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Resolution to End Walz’s Peacetime Emergency Fails to Pass, But Receives Bipartisan Support

Yet another resolution to end Gov. Tim Walz’s peacetime emergency declaration was rejected Friday, but this time the proposal received bipartisan support in both the House and Senate.

The resolution passed the Republican-controlled Senate in a vote of 38-29, with three Democratic senators joining Republicans in voting to end the governor’s emergency powers, which first took effect March 13 in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

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After Protesters Tear Down Columbus Statue, Minnesota Lt. Governor Welcomes Removal

The protesters and activists who tore down a statue of Christopher Columbus outside the Minnesota Capitol Wednesday faced virtually no resistance from state leaders or law enforcement.

In fact, after the statue was toppled over, Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan said Minnesota “is long overdue for a hard look at the symbols, statues, and icons that were created without the input of many of our communities.”

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Minnesota Hasn’t Used $6.9 Million Facility It Bought to Store Deceased Coronavirus Patients

Due to a projected surge in coronavirus fatalities, the state of Minnesota spent $6.9 million to acquire a warehouse for the “temporary storage of human remains,” but the facility has so far gone unused.

“What’s contemplated by the purchase is to buy a building where we can properly handle with dignity and respect and safety the bodies of Minnesotans who may fall victim to the coronavirus,” Minnesota Homeland Security and Emergency Management Director Joe Kelly said during a press conference in early May.

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Conservative Journalist Banned from Gov. Walz’s Press Briefings Without Explanation

A conservative journalist has sued Gov. Tim Walz’s administration after he was barred from participating in the governor’s daily press briefings on the coronavirus pandemic.

According to the lawsuit, Scott Johnson, an attorney and writer for PowerLine, was allowed to participate in the daily briefings until April 27, when he was suddenly “excluded from all future daily briefings without explanation.”

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DFL Lawmakers Want State and Federal Aid to Rebuild Minneapolis

DFL lawmakers want the state and federal governments to chip in to help repair the estimated $55 million in damage caused to Minneapolis in the wake of George Floyd’s death.

Minnesota House Speaker Melissa Hortman (DFL-Brooklyn Park) and the Legislature’s People of Color and Indigenous Caucus called for “immediate legislative funding for Minneapolis and St. Paul rebuilding efforts” in a joint statement.

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City of Minneapolis, State Patrol Sued for Attacks on Journalists During Riots

A class-action lawsuit was filed this week against the leaders of the Minneapolis Police Department, the Minnesota State Patrol, and the Minnesota Department of Public Safety for their “attacks” on journalists during last week’s riots.

“The press is under assault in our City. Over the past week, the Minneapolis Police and the Minnesota State Patrol have tear-gassed, pepper-sprayed, shot in the face with rubber bullets, arrested without cause, and threatened journalists at gunpoint, all after these journalists identified themselves and were otherwise clearly engaged in their reporting duties,” states the lawsuit.

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Fargo Leaders Ask for Peace as Walz Sends National Guard to Clay County

Black leaders in North Dakota’s largest city pleaded for calm Thursday in the face of violent threats to disrupt a gathering in memory of George Floyd and advertised the event as a celebration, not a protest.

The OneFargo event is scheduled Friday afternoon at a downtown Fargo park. Organizers had planned to march from Island Park to City Hall for a sit-in, but have scrapped that idea after social media threats surfaced to burn down the city offices and commit other violent acts.

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Pace of Minnesota Unemployment Slows, But Claims Still Near 440,000

 Even as Gov. Tim Walz allows more sectors of the economy to open, Minnesota unemployment ticked upward to 439,550 total claims in the week ending May 30, compared to 417,084 claims the prior week ending May 23.

All told, 22,466 new unemployment claims were filed in the state last week, a drop of 4,745 claims from the 27,211 claims initiated the prior week, an 18.5 percent week-over-week decrease.

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Department of Human Rights Launches Civil Rights Investigation of Minneapolis Police Department

Gov. Tim Walz and the Minnesota Department of Human Rights announced Tuesday that the state will begin a civil rights investigation of the Minneapolis Police Department after one of its officers was charged with murder in the death of George Floyd.

The state agency has also filed a human rights complaint against the police department in relation to Floyd’s death.

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Walz Condemns House DFL Leader for Falsely Claiming Truck Driver at Center of 35W Incident Was ‘White Supremacist’

Minnesota House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler (DFL-Golden Valley) falsely claimed that the truck driver at the center of Sunday’s frightening incident on I-35W was a “white supremacist.”

State officials said the driver, who has been identified as 35-year-old Bogdan Vechirko, might not have realized that the interstates had been shut down in an effort to quell unrest in the Twin Cities. Vechirko was arrested on suspicion of assault and remains jailed, but Department of Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington said Monday that he didn’t seem to be acting intentionally.

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‘Majority’ of Those Arrested in Riots Are from Minnesota, Public Safety Commissioner Confirms

As of Monday afternoon, the “majority” of those arrested in the Twin Cities for rioting, violating curfew, looting or other similar charges had Minnesota addresses.

“That would be accurate,” Department of Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington confirmed during a Monday press conference. During a previous briefing, he said he didn’t “have any credible evidence of any specific group being here in Minnesota.”

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Jail Records Contradict Claims That Most Rioters Are from Out of State

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter, and Gov. Tim Walz all have suggested that many of the rioters wreaking havoc on the Twin Cities are from out of state, but jail records seem to show otherwise.

“We’ve seen long-term, institutional businesses overridden. We’ve seen community institutions set on fire. And I want to be very, very clear, the people that are doing this are not Minneapolis residents. They are coming in largely from outside of the city, from outside of the region, to prey on everything that we have built over the last several decades. The dynamic has changed over the last several days,” Frey said during a joint Saturday press conference.

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Minnesota National Guard Working Toward 10,800 Troops for Twin Cities Area

The Minnesota National Guard now has more than 4,100 troops deployed in the Twin Cities and said it is working toward a total of 10,800 citizen-soldiers for the area.

“This is a significant increase over the 700 on-duty Friday. We live here. We work here. We serve here. We’re all in,” the National Guard said on Twitter Saturday.

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