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Coleman and Klobuchar Seek $250 Million for I-35 Bridge Reconstruction

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Minnesota Senators Norm Coleman and Amy Klobuchar spearheaded federal legislation on Thursday to not only provide funds to rebuild the I-35 bridge, but also improve infrastructure problems nationwide.

The Senators first called on the Federal Highway Administration (FHA) to immediately release emergency relief funding for the I-35W bridge disaster. However, because states are eligible to receive up to only $100 million in emergency funds each year, Coleman and Klobuchar introduced a bill in the Senate to authorize $250 million for the reconstruction of the I-35W bridge. DFL Representative Jim Oberstar (MN-08) introduced an identical bill in the House of Representatives on Thursday as well.

Coleman and Klobuchar's call for a National Commission on Infrastructure was approved by the Senate in legislation that was created to: "Address the deterioration of much of our nation's infrastructure including our roads, bridges, drinking water systems, dams and other public works. The bill would create a National Commission on Infrastructure of the United States to analyze our nation's infrastructure and report recommendations to Congress. This group would also be charged with aiding in the nation's economic growth and ensuring the ability of the nation's infrastructure to meet current and future demands."

The Commission would be required to complete its report to Congress by February 2009, at which point a plan would be in place to decide what infrastructure legislation would be necessary for the next five, 15, 30 and 50 years.

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Strike Three for Miller-Meeks

Iowa Republicans had a banner day on November 4th, picking up both a U.S. Senate seat and one U.S. House seat, but Mariannette Miller-Meeks' defeat in her third attempt to oust Democrat Dave Loebsack in the 2nd CD means the GOP will not have a monopoly on the state's congressional delegation in the 114th Congress. The loss by Miller-Meeks (following up her defeats in 2008 and 2010) means major party nominees who lost their first two Iowa U.S. House races are now 0 for 10 the third time around in Iowa history. Miller-Meeks joins Democrat William Leffingwell (1858, 1868, 1870), Democrat Anthony Van Wagenen (1894, 1912 (special), 1912), Democrat James Murtagh (1906, 1914, 1916), Democrat Clair Williams (1944, 1946, 1952), Democrat Steven Carter (1948, 1950, 1956), Republican Don Mahon (1966, 1968, 1970), Republican Tom Riley (1968, 1974, 1976), Democrat Eric Tabor (1986, 1988, 1990), and Democrat Bill Gluba (1982, 1988, 2004) on the Hawkeye State's Three Strikes list.


Larry Pressler Wins the Silver

Larry Pressler may have fallen short in his long-shot, underfunded, and understaffed bid to return to the nation's upper legislative chamber, but he did end up notching the best showing for a non-major party South Dakota U.S. Senate candidate in more than 90 years. Pressler won 17.1 percent of the vote which is the best showing for an independent or third party U.S. Senate candidate in the state since 1920 when non-partisan candidate Tom Ayres won 24.1 percent in a race won by Republican Peter Norbeck. Overall, Pressler's 17.1 percent is good for the second best mark for a non-major party candidate across the 35 U.S. Senate contests in South Dakota history. Independent and third party candidates have appeared on the South Dakota U.S. Senate ballot just 25 times over the last century and only three have reached double digits: Pressler in 2014 and Ayres in 1920 and 1924 (12.1 percent). Pressler's defeat means he won't become the oldest candidate elected to the chamber in South Dakota history nor notch the record for the longest gap in service in the direct election era.


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