Water cooler talk

In case you missed it…and what to watch for.

New Managing Editor

Jenna Stocker is the new managing editor of Thinking Minnesota. She was the first freelance writer recruited to contribute to the magazine when she wrote the summer edition’s buzzy cover essay, “Free- fall: State and Twin Cities leaders dither while vulnerable residents live in fear and increasing danger.”

A former Marine Corps officer, Stocker holds a degree in accounting from the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota, where she also swam long-distance freestyle for the school’s varsity swimming & diving team. Stocker spent time as a researcher specializing in Islamism and military weapons systems at the Center for Security Policy in Washington, D.C. She also contributes to the Federalist magazine.

You Got A Permit for That Cow?

American Experiment used Farmfest — the annual summer celebration of Minnesota’s ag community — to launch a public engagement campaign to prevent the Walz Administration from forcing businesses, including some farms, to conduct greenhouse gas emission estimates as part of environ- mental permitting.

The Environmental Quality Board (EQB) recently proposed changes to Minnesota’s environmental review program that would force businesses to inventory the potential greenhouse gas emissions for new projects, and potentially consider ways to reduce emissions as part of an Environmental Assessment Worksheet (EAW), or an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), if they are required to complete these assessments.

“The bureaucrats in St. Paul continue to create more red tape for job creators who want to do business in Minnesota,” said Isaac Orr, policy fellow for energy and the environment at Center of the American Experiment. “This proposal will open the door to frivolous lawsuits from environmental special interest groups who want to weaponize the environmental review process to kill projects with endless litigation.”

Think About It

American Experiment’s “Think About It” radio campaign won the State Policy Network’s (SPN) Communication Excellence Award at the organization’s annual meeting in Orlando. SPN is the national coordinating network for state-level conservative and libertarian think tanks.

The radio campaign consisted of radio ads that raised questions about current public policy topics. It originated with five ads that rotated during Minnesota’s 2021 legislative session. The campaign delivered almost two million impressions in the first quarter of 2021, including broadcast and streaming ads.

All told, the ads generated thousands of emails to legislators, including 834 emails sent to each member of a conference committee as they were deliberating Green New Deal provisions (which were eventually dropped).

“We made a substantial commitment to this campaign,” said John Hinderaker, the Center’s president. “Using a consistent theme like Think About It made it more effective as a brand-building effort.”

Backpack News

Parents can more easily monitor and react to what’s going on in their local school districts through www.IlluminedMN.com, a website created by Center of the American Experiment. “It’s a way that parents can share information that their children are bringing home in their backpacks, and do something about it,” according to Bill Walsh, communications director at the Center. The website contains information about how parents can get involved at their local level by learning about student rights, how to talk to school leaders, and how to find alternative curricula. A chat function will enable parents to share information and mobilize.