The Theater of Public Policy

A News, Politics and Comedy podcast featuring
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The honorable Paul Anderson served as Associate Justice on the Minnesota Supreme Court from 1994 to 2013. During that time he heard seminal cases on everything from the independence of medical examiners, to bail laws, to a much-discussed recount in Minnesota’s 2008 U.S. senate race. 
We talked with Charlie Zelle, Commissioner of the Minesota Department of Transportation about what it means to be the Poseidon of roads, tracks, and waterways in the state of Minnesota. Before you ask, Amazon drones are not under his purview.
A comedy quiz show based on Minnesota news for the week of February 22nd, 2019. Featuring host Tane Danger and guests Kelly Kohlbacher, Fred Cheng and Brandon Boat.Music by Keegan Fraley. Subscribe in iTunes!
Senator Melisa Franzen, Senate District 49Leili Fatehi, Campaign Manager, Minnesotans for Responsible Marijuana Regulation Talk of legalizing recreational marijuana burned brightly at the Minnesota Legislature early this session, then went out in a puff of smoke. But the debate’s not over. Activists and legislators argue marijuana legalization is about overturning a racially unjust system as much as its about freedom and liberty. We will talk with the author of the Senate bill that would have legalized recreational marijuana in Minnesota, as well as the head of the campaign for “Responsible Marijuana Legalization.” Subscribe in iTunes!
First elected in 2013, Abdi Warsame serves on the Minneapolis City Council. He represents Ward 6 which includes much of the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood.  Born in Somalia, Warsame is currently the highest level elected Somali-American in the country. We asked him about his incredible personal story, his views on local politics, and what he thinks of his fellow council.  Subscribe in iTunes!
One year ago, St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter joined us on The Theater of Public Policy in the early days of his term. Now more than a year and a half in, he joined us once again to discuss how the issues he campaigned on are working out in office. We asked him about the city’s new comprehensive plan, city efforts on early childhood education, and what the heck is the deal with trash collection in St. Paul. Seriously, what’s the deal with that? Subscribe in iTunes - Subscribe on Google Play - Subscribe on Stitcher
We talked with US Congressman Keith Ellison about the issues that are most important to him. He spoke about minimum wage laws, the #BlackLivesMatter protest at the Mall of America, the 50th Anniversary of the March on Selma, right to work laws, and immigration reform. Subscribe in iTunes!
One area where a president has wide latitude is in foreign policy. In just the first few weeks of the Trump administration, the president has thrown diplomatic norms and historical precedent to the wind. Does it matter? Are international affairs really affected by the personalities driving them? We asked longtime Foreign Service officer and current Diplomat-in-Residence, Mary Curtin that and if Canada might need a resident policy improv comedy troupe. Subscribe in iTunes!
The Affordable Housing debate in the Twin Cities region has been called one of the fiercest in the country. We sat down with three experts to find out why. Featuring Nelima Sitati-Munene, executive director of African Career, Education & resource, Owen Duckworth, Coalition organizer for the Alliance for Metropolitan Stability, and Ed Goetz, Director of the Center for Urban and Regional Affairs at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs. Subscribe in iTunes!
Dan DeBaun, Retail and Restaurant Reporter, Minneapolis St. Paul Business JournalChanges in the grocery store market are nothing new in Minnesota–ask any former Red Owl customers. The recent pace of those changes have a lot of people wondering about the future of grocery stores in the Twin Cities. By buying Whole Foods, will Amazon dominate the market? Can Target make it in the groceries business? Why’s everyone so excited about Hy-Vee? Subscribe in iTunes!
Once upon a time, Minneapolis tried to keep their citizens with a penchant for hard drinking—lumberjacks, farmhands, and railroad workers—into the oldest quarter of Minneapolis. It was an era of flophouses, preachers and nuns trying to save souls and a bar owner named John Bacich, aka Johnny Rex. The Star Tribune’s James Shiffer has written a new book about Minneapolis’s Skid Row and its king. Subscribe in iTunes!
Minneapolis City Council President Lisa Bender is leading a new, more progressive city council. Meanwhile, a new comprehensive plan for the city called Minneapolis 2040 has lead to a war of yard signs. We asked her about that and when we can finally all get pet goats. Subscribe in iTunes!
Melvin Carter won a decisive victory in St. Paul’s mayoral against a number of strong opponents. In his first six months, he’s been faced with questions about increasing the number of police officers in the city, budgets to repair aging roads, and the third-rail of St. Paul politics, trash collection. Subscribe in iTunes!
Tim Walz, U.S. Representative and DFL Candidate for Governor Peggy Flanagan, MN Representative and DFL Candidate for Lt. Governor First elected to the U.S. House in 2006, Tim Walz has represented southern Minnesota in Washington for more than a decade. Now the former school teacher and Army National Guard veteran is running for governor. We asked what was better preparation for political office: serving in the military or teaching middle school? Subscribe in iTunes!
For more than a decade, Chris Coleman has led Minnesota’s Capitol City. In that time he championed the construction of the LRT Green Line, ran a successful bid for the city to host the 2008 Republican National Convention, and was elected President of the National League of Cities. Earlier this year he announced his bid for governor of Minnesota, a job which conveniently would only be a few miles from his current offices! Subscribe in iTunes!
The CEO of American Public Media and Minnesota Public Radio, Jon McTaggart, joins us to talk about what radio was like in the old days, why MPR listeners are curious, and what the future holds for radio.
A comedy quiz show based on Minnesota news for the week of January 27, 2019. Featuring host Tane Danger and guests Madde Gibba, Fred Cheng, and Shanan Custer.Music by Keegan Fraley. Subscribe in iTunes!
Our first guest cancelled! Fortunately, Metropolitan Council Chair Adam Duininck was able to come on the show. We talked about major transit plans for the region, how the council operates and some recent controversy.  Subscribe in iTunes!
Before school lets out for summer, meet Minnesota’s new Education Commissioner. A longtime teacher herself, Ricker has some big challenges in front of her, from closing one of the worst achievement gaps in the country to dealing with approximately sixty snow days this past winter. Subscribe in iTunes!
Frank Douma, State and Local Policy Program Director, Humphrey School of Public AffairsA world of self-driving cars is right around the corner. Hopefully for the pedestrian on that corner, the car’s computer sensors will recognize him and not run him over. Adapting to autonomous vehicles poses ethical, logistical, cultural, and infrastructure questions that most people (let alone cities and states) have only begun to ponder. We talked with Frank Douma, the State and Local Policy Program Director for the Humphrey School of Public Affairs. Subscribe in iTunes!
In Minnesota, the DNR Commissioner oversees everything form lakes and trails, to hunting and fishing, and even has a say in mining projects in the state. New DNR Commissioner Sarah Strommen is a former mayor and assistant DNR commissioner with a reputation for getting things done. She is also the first woman to hold the position. We asked her about her job overseeing Minnesota’s natural resources, and what kind of bait to use for catching Walleye. Subscribe in iTunes - Subscribe on Google Play - Subscribe on Stitcher
What will happen when congressmen Tom Emmer (MN-6, GOP) and Tim Walz (MN-1, DFL) are The Theater of Public Policy’s on-stage guests? Will we end partisan bickering with improv comedy? Or, in true Minnesota fashion, will they just talk about the weather? Find out! Subscribe in iTunes!
What started out as an online bookstore has wildly changed the way people get everything from toilet paper to cat toys. Amazon hasn’t just changed the way people shop, it’s changing the face of retail and labor in Minnesota and beyond. Is there a downside to being able to get 10,000 baby wipes delivered to your house in under an hour? We asked Olivia LaVecchia, a Research Associate at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and co-author of a report of Amazon’s effects on local communities and businesses.  Subscribe in iTunes!
Good news: People of diverse backgrounds and ethnicities move to the Twin Cities for good jobs in large numbers. Bad news: After just a few years, they leave in much larger numbers than their Caucasian counterparts.We asked our guests, Dr. Janine Sanders Jones and John Hardy, why Minnesota is able to attract a diverse workforce, but can’t seem to retain it. Also, what are businesses in the state doing to keep people here? Subscribe in iTunes!
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Podcast Details

Started
Oct 23rd, 2013
Latest Episode
Dec 5th, 2019
Release Period
Weekly
No. of Episodes
130
Avg. Episode Length
44 minutes
Explicit
No

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