The Minnesota State Fair, advertised as The Great Minnesota Get-Together, is an icon of state culture. In a state of 5.4 million people, there were over 1.8 million visitors to the fair in 2014, breaking the previous record set in 2009. The fair covers the variety of Minnesotan life, including fine art, science, agriculture, food preparation, 4-H displays, music, the midway, and corporate merchandising. It is known for its displays of seed art, butter sculptures of dairy princesses, the birthing barn, and the "fattest pig" competition. One can also find dozens of varieties of food on a stick, such as Pronto Pups, cheese curds, and deep-fried candy bars. On a smaller scale, many of these attractions are offered at numerous county fairs.
Other large annual festivals include the Saint Paul Winter Carnival, the Minnesota Renaissance Festival, Minneapolis's Aquatennial and Mill City Music Festival, Moondance Jam in Walker, Sonshine Christian music festival in Willmar, the Judy Garland Festival in Grand Rapids, Eelpout Festival on Leech Lake, and WE Fest in Detroit Lakes.
Minnesotans have low rates of premature death, infant mortality, cardiovascular disease, and occupational fatalities, long life expectancies, and high rates of health insurance and regular exercise. These and other measures have led two groups to rank Minnesota as the healthiest state in the nation, but in one of these rankings Minnesota descended from first to sixth in the nation between 2005 and 2009 because of low levels of public-health funding and the prevalence of binge drinking.
On October 1, 2007 Minnesota became the 17th state to enact a statewide smoking ban in restaurants and bars, the Freedom to Breathe Act.
Medical care is provided by a comprehensive network of hospitals and clinics headed by two institutions with international reputations. The University of Minnesota Medical School is a high-rated teaching institution that has made a number of breakthroughs in treatment, and its research activities contribute significantly to the state's growing biotechnology industry. The Mayo Clinic, a world-renowned medical practice, is based in Rochester was founded by William Worrall Mayo an immigrant from England. Mayo and the University are partners in the Minnesota Partnership for Biotechnology and Medical Genomics, a state-funded program that conducts research into cancer, Alzheimer's disease, heart health, obesity, and other areas.
One of the Minnesota Legislature's first acts when it opened in 1858 was the creation of a
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State and national forests and the seventy-two state parks are used year-round for hunting, camping, and hiking. There are almost 20,000 miles (32,000 km) of snowmobile trails statewide. Minnesota has more miles of bike trails than any other state, and a growing network of hiking trails, including the 235-mile (378 km) Superior Hiking Trail in the northeast. Many hiking and bike trails are used for cross-country skiing during the winter.
Fishing does not cease when the lakes freeze; ice fishing has been around since the arrival of early Scandinavian immigrants. Minnesotans have learned to embrace their long, harsh winters in ice sports such as skating, hockey, curling, and broomball, and snow sports such as cross-country skiing, alpine skiing, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling.
In the warmer months, these activities often involve water. Weekend and longer trips to family cabins on Minnesota's numerous lakes are a way of life for many residents. Activities include water sports such as water skiing, which originated in the state, boating, canoeing, and fishing. More than 36% of Minnesotans fish, second only to Alaska.
Minnesotans participate in high levels of physical activity, and many of these activities are outdoors. The strong interest of Minnesotans in environmentalism has been attributed to the popularity of these pursuits.
Grandma's Marathon is run every summer along the scenic North Shore of Lake Superior, and the Twin Cities Marathon winds around lakes and the Mississippi River during the peak of the fall color season. Farther north, Eveleth is the location of the United States Hockey Hall of Fame.
Winter Olympic Games medallists from the state include twelve of the twenty members of the gold medal 1980 ice hockey team (coached by Minnesota native Herb Brooks) and the bronze medallist U.S. men's curling team in the 2006 Winter Olympics. Swimmer Tom Malchow won an Olympic gold medal in the 2000 Summer games and a silver medal in 1996.
The Twin Cities campus of the University of Minnesota is a National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I school competing in either the Big Ten Conference or the Western Collegiate Hockey Association. Four additional schools in the state compete in NCAA Division I ice hockey: the University of Minnesota Duluth; Minnesota State University, Mankato; St. Cloud State University and Bemidji State University. There are nine NCAA Division II colleges in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference, and nineteen NCAA Division III colleges in the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference and Upper Midwest Athletic Conference.
Professional women's sports include the Minnesota Lynx of the Women's National Basketball Association, winners of the 2011 and 2013 WNBA Championships, the Minnesota Lightning of the United Soccer Leagues W-League, the Minnesota Vixen of the Independent Women's Football League, the Minnesota Valkyrie of the Legends Football League, and the Minnesota Whitecaps of the National Women's Hockey League.
Minnesota also has minor-league professional sports. Minnesota United FC replaced the United Soccer League Minnesota Thunder in 2010 and plays at the National Sports Center in Blaine. The Minnesota Swarm play at the Xcel Energy Center and play in the NLL (National Lacrosse League). Minor league baseball is represented both by major league-sponsored teams and independent teams such as the St. Paul Saints.
Minnesota has professional men's teams in all major sports. The Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome was home to the Minnesota Vikings of the National Football League through the 2013 season; it is being torn down and a new stadium will be constructed. The Dome also hosted the Minnesota Twins of Major League Baseball, winners of the 1987 and 1991 World Series, until 2010, when they began playing at Target Field. The Minnesota Timberwolves of the National Basketball Association play in the Target Center. The National Hockey League's Minnesota Wild play in St. Paul's Xcel Energy Center and reached 300 consecutive sold-out games on January 16, 2008.
Sports and recreation
Two of the largest public radio networks, Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) and Public Radio International (PRI), are based in the state. MPR has the largest audience of any regional public radio network in the nation, broadcasting on 37 radio stations. PRI weekly provides more than 400 hours of programming to almost 800 affiliates. The state's oldest radio station, KUOM-AM, was launched in 1922 and is among the 10 –oldest radio stations in the United States. The University of Minnesota-owned station is still on the air, and since 1993 broadcasts a college rock format.
The four largest daily newspapers are the Star Tribune in Minneapolis, the Pioneer Press in Saint Paul, the Duluth News Tribune in Duluth and the Post-Bulletin in Rochester. The Minnesota Daily is the largest student-run newspaper in the U.S. Sites offering daily news on the Web include The UpTake, MinnPost, the Twin Cities Daily Planet, business news site Finance and Commerce (web site) and Washington D.C.-based Minnesota Independent. Weeklies including City Pages and monthly publications such as Minnesota Monthly are available.
Broadcast television in Minnesota and the Upper Midwest started on April 27, 1948, when KSTP-TV began broadcasting. Hubbard Broadcasting, which owns KSTP, is now the only locally owned television company in Minnesota. There are currently 39 analog broadcast stations and 23 digital channels broadcast over Minnesota.
The Twin Cities area is the fifteenth largest media market in the United States as ranked by Nielsen Media Research. The state's other top markets are Fargo–Moorhead (118th nationally), Duluth–Superior (137th), Rochester–Mason City–Austin (152nd), and Mankato (200th).
In the election of 2010, Republicans took control of both chambers of the Minnesota legislature for the first time in 38 years, and with Mark Dayton's election the Democratic-Farmer-Labor party took the governor's office for the first time in 20 years. Two years later, the DFL regained control of both houses, and with Governor Dayton in office, the party has same-party control of both the legislative and executive branches for the first time since 1990. Two years later, the Republicans regained control of the Minnesota House in the 2014 election.
The state's U.S. Senate seats have generally been split since the early 1990s, and in the 108th and 109th Congresses, Minnesota's congressional delegation was split, with four representatives and one senator from each party. In the 2006 midterm election, Democrats were elected to all state offices except for governor and lieutenant governor, where Republicans Tim Pawlenty and Carol Molnau narrowly won reelection. The DFL also posted double-digit gains in both houses of the legislature, elected Amy Klobuchar to the U.S. Senate, and increased the party's U.S. House caucus by one. Keith Ellison (DFL) was elected as the first African American U.S. Representative from Minnesota as well as the first Muslim elected to Congress nationwide. In 2008 DFLer and former comedian and radio talk show host Al Franken beat incumbent Republican Norm Coleman in the United States Senate race by 312 votes out of 3 million cast.
The state has had active third party movements. The Reform Party, now the Independence Party, was able to elect former mayor of Brooklyn Park and professional wrestler Jesse Ventura to the governorship in 1998. The Independence Party has received enough support to keep major party status. The Green Party, while no longer having major party status, has a large presence in municipal government, notably in Minneapolis and Duluth, where it competes directly with the DFL party for local offices. Official "Major party" status in Minnesota (which grants state funding for elections) is reserved to parties whose candidates receive 5% or more of the vote in any statewide election (e.g., Governor, Secretary of State, U.S. President).
Both the Democratic and Republican parties have major party status in Minnesota, but its state-level "Democratic" party is actually a separate party, officially known as the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party (DFL). Formed out of a 1944 alliance of the Minnesota Democratic and Farmer-Labor parties, and its distinction from the national Democratic Party, while still official, is now but a technicality.
Hubert Humphrey brought national attention to the state with his address at the 1948 Democratic National Convention. Eugene McCarthy's anti-war stance and popularity in the 1968 New Hampshire primary likely convinced Lyndon B. Johnson to drop out of the presidential election. Minnesotans have consistently cast their Electoral College votes for Democratic presidential candidates since 1976, longer than any other state. Minnesota is the only state in the nation that did not vote for Ronald Reagan in either of his presidential runs. Minnesota has gone to the Democratic Party in every presidential election since 1960, with the exception of 1972, when it was carried by Richard Nixon and the Republican Party.
Minnesota is known for a politically active citizenry, and populism has been a longstanding force among the state's political parties. Minnesota has a consistently high voter turnout (due in part to its liberal voter registration laws) with virtually no evidence of unlawful voting. In the 2008 U.S. presidential election, 78.2% of eligible Minnesotans voted—the highest percentage of any U.S. state—versus the national average of 61.2%. Previously unregistered voters can register on election day at their polls with evidence of residency.
The first 6 of the Anishinaabe bands compose the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, the collective federally recognized tribal government of the Bois Forte, Fond du Lac, Grand Portage, Leech Lake, Mille Lacs, and White Earth reservations.
- Bois Forte Band of Chippewa
- Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa
- Grand Portage Band of Chippewa
- Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe
- Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe
- White Earth Band of Ojibwe
- Red Lake Band of Chippewa
- Prairie Island Indian Community
- Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community
- Lower Sioux Indian Reservation
- Upper Sioux Community - Pejuhutazizi Oyate
The State of Minnesota was created by the USA out of the homelands of the Dakota and Anishinaabe native peoples. Today the remaining native governments are divided into 11 semi-autonomous reservations that negotiate with the USA and state on a peer nation-to-nation basis:
Federal court cases are heard in the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota, which holds court in Minneapolis, St. Paul, Duluth, and Fergus Falls. Appeals are heard by the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, which is based in St. Louis, Missouri and routinely also hears cases in St. Paul.
Minnesota's United States senators are Democrat Amy Klobuchar and Democrat Al Franken. The outcome of the 2008 U.S. Senate election in Minnesota was contested until June 30 the next year; when the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled in favor of Franken, Republican Norm Coleman conceded defeat, and the vacant seat was filled by Franken. The state has eight congressional districts; they are represented by Tim Walz (1st district; DFL), John Kline (2nd; R), Erik Paulsen (3rd; R), Betty McCollum (4th; DFL), Keith Ellison (5th; DFL), Michele Bachmann (6th; R), Collin Peterson (7th; DFL), and Rick Nolan (8th; DFL).
In addition to the city and county levels of government found in the United States, Minnesota has other entities that provide governmental oversight and planning. Some actions in the Twin Cities metropolitan area are coordinated by the Metropolitan Council, and many lakes and rivers are overseen by watershed districts and soil and water conservation districts.
Two specialized courts within administrative agencies have been established: the Workers' Compensation Court of Appeals, and the Tax Court, which deals with non-criminal tax cases.
Minnesota's court system has three levels. Most cases start in the district courts, which are courts of general jurisdiction. There are 279 district court judgeships in ten judicial districts. Appeals from the trial courts and challenges to certain governmental decisions are heard by the Minnesota Court of Appeals, consisting of nineteen judges who typically sit in three-judge panels. The seven-justice Minnesota Supreme Court hears all appeals from the Tax Court, the Workers' Compensation Court of Appeals, first-degree murder convictions, and discretionary appeals from the Court of Appeals; it also has original jurisdiction over election disputes.
The Minnesota Legislature is a bicameral body consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The state has sixty-seven districts, each covering about sixty thousand people. Each district has one senator and two representatives (each district being divided into A and B sections). Senators serve for four years and representatives for two years. In the November 2010 election, the Minnesota Republican Party gained twenty-five house seats, giving them control of the House of Representatives by a 72-62 margin. The 2010 election also saw Minnesota voters elect a Republican majority in the Senate for the first time since 1972. In 2012, the Democrats regained the House of Representatives by a margin of 73-61, picking up 11 seats; the Democrats also regained the Minnesota Senate.
The executive branch is headed by the governor. Governor Mark Dayton, a Democrat, took office on January 3, 2011, to become the first Democratic Governor to hold the seat in two decades. The governor has a cabinet consisting of the leaders of various state government agencies, called commissioners. The other elected constitutional offices are secretary of state, attorney general, and state auditor.
As with the federal government of the United States, power in Minnesota is divided into three branches: executive, legislative, and judicial.
Law and government
Amtrak's daily Empire Builder (Chicago–Seattle/Portland) train runs through Minnesota, calling at the Saint Paul Union Depot and five other stations. Intercity bus providers include Jefferson Lines, Greyhound, and Megabus. Local public transit is provided by bus networks in the larger cities and by two rail services. The Northstar Line commuter rail service runs from Big Lake to the Target Field station in downtown Minneapolis. From there, light rail runs to Saint Paul Union Depot on the Green Line, and to the MSP airport and the Mall of America via the Blue Line.
Minnesota's principal airport is Minneapolis–St. Paul International Airport (MSP), a major passenger and freight hub for Delta Air Lines and Sun Country Airlines. Most other domestic carriers serve the airport. Large commercial jet service is provided at Duluth and Rochester, with scheduled commuter service to six smaller cities via Delta Connection carriers Comair, Mesaba Airlines, SkyWest Airlines, Compass Airlines' and Pinnacle Airlines.
Transportation in Minnesota is overseen by the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT for short and used in the local news media). Principal transportation corridors radiate from the Minneapolis–St. Paul metropolitan area and Duluth. The major Interstate highways are Interstate 35 (I-35), I-90, and I-94, with I-35 and I-94 passing through the Minneapolis–St. Paul metropolitan area, and I-90 traveling east-west along the southern edge of the state. In 2006, a constitutional amendment was passed that required sales and use taxes on motor vehicles to fund transportation, with at least 40% dedicated to public transit. There are nearly two dozen rail corridors in Minnesota, most of which go through Minneapolis–St. Paul or Duluth. There is water transportation along the Mississippi River system and from the ports of Lake Superior.
The state supports a network of public universities and colleges, including 32 institutions in the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System, and five major campuses of the University of Minnesota. It is also home to more than 20 private colleges and universities, six of which rank among the nation's top 100 liberal arts colleges, according to U.S. News & World Report.
.charter school it is home to the first ,school vouchers While Minnesota has chosen not to implement .ACT exam In 2007 Minnesota students earned the highest average score in the nation on the  But while more than 90% of high school seniors graduated in 2006, about 6% of white, 28% of African American, 30% of Asian American and more than 34% of Hispanic and Native American students dropped out of school.