News & Features

Ken Pentel
Born:Born March 7, 1961, Minneapolis
Occupation:Lifelong volunteer, organizer, and community activist. 11 years employed by Greenpeace in Minnesota.
Education: Graduated from Hopkins High School. Attended University of Minnesota.
Political background: Field organizer for the Green Party of Minnesota.

Audio on the Issues (RealAudio)

Final gubernatorial debate
All four major party candidates appeared on TPT's Almanac Read . (11/2/02)

Governor - General debate
Moe, Pawlenty, Penny and Pentel appeared on MPR's Midday for a general debate of issues in the race. Listen (10/14/02)

Governor - Higher Education Three of four major party candidates discuss their plans for higher education, including the premise that budget woes will cause cuts. Listen (10/09/02)

See an extensive archive of political debate audio from the campaign of 2002.

•Meet Ken Pentel. The Green Party was a candidate on MPR's Midday. Listen (10/24/02)

•Interview on MPR Midday's "Meet the Candidate" series. Listen (5/20/02)

•Pentel accepts endorsement from Green Party. Listen

•Candidacy announcement. Listen (4/19/02)

•MPR interview Listen (3/4/02)

Ken Pentel (Green Party)



Ken Pentel hasn't owned a car since 1981, borrowing one to campaign for governor. He said he'd bike the two miles from the official residence to the Capitol.

Pentel said he would mold society to his philosophy _ for instance, with new taxes to punish people in gas-guzzling cars, while rewarding those who adopt environmentally friendly lifestyles.

"At least I'm being honest with people," Pentel said. "If I'm honest with them that gives them the sense that I have integrity. I'm not going to pander. They know where I stand on things."

Pentel's positions set him far apart from his rivals: Republican Tim Pawlenty, Democrat Roger Moe and the Independence Party's Tim Penny. Pollution taxes, state-run universal health care and proportional voting in elections are proposals Pentel holds alone.

Asked how he would balance Minnesota's budget, Pentel struggled to identify things he would cut but rattled off several revenue-raisers: increasing income taxes on "those who can pay," hiking auto tab fees cut under Gov. Jesse Ventura, taxing industries for toxic emissions and assessing a surcharge on cars that get low gasoline mileage.

Yet Pentel maintains that his vision for the state would shrink government more and cost citizens less in the long run than his competitors'.

A long shot who had only nominal support in September polls, Pentel has a big microphone to air his proposals and is invited to all debates, thanks to the major party status the Greens earned with Ralph Nader's 5 percent in the 2000 presidential race. That designation also brings him almost $240,000 in public campaign funds, meaning he'll far exceed the $17,000 he spent toward a fourth-place finish in 1998. He said he's not sure if he'll run TV ads this fall like his competitors.

While Pentel sometimes talks with the detail of a science teacher, the longtime environmental activist and Green Party organizer says his aims are clearer and ideas more mainstream than people might think.

Pentel originally had visions of a career in show-business but adopted a career in environmental activism after moving to California. Upon returning to Minnesota in the mid-1980s, he began working for Greenpeace. He has lobbied at the state Capitol on nuclear waste and other issues.


Ken Pentel finished fourth in the 1998 race for governor with 0.3 percent of the vote. This year, he overwhelmingly won the Green Party's endorsement and a primary. He'll have much more money to spend and has been getting more attention in debates and media coverage this year because the Greens now have major party status in Minnesota. His running mate is a 75-year-old retired historian named Rhoda Gilman.

( More)
Candidate Information

Tim Pawlenty and Gov. VenturaPawlenty sets stage for Capitol revolution
Nov. 6 -- Minnesota Gov.-elect Tim Pawlenty met with reporters and talked with outgoing Gov. Jesse Ventura about making the transition into office on Wednesday. Pawlenty says the election means Republican ideals will have a much smoother time at the Capitol than in the past. (More)

GOP boss Ron EibensteinerHow did it happen? What does it mean?
Nov. 6 -- Minnesota Republicans are ecstatic, and Democrats are reeling from the near-Republican sweep of the general election. Republicans won races for U.S. Senate, governor, two closely-watched suburban congressional seats, and all but one constitutional office. Political observers say the reasons range from the messages of the campaigns to reaction to the memorial service for the late Sen. Paul Wellstone. (More)

Tim PawlentyPawlenty wins governor's race
Nov. 6 -- For the first time in 12 years, a Minnesota governor will have support from at least one legislative house. Riding the wave of support in the population-rich suburbs of the Twin Cities, Republican Tim Pawlenty appeared headed for the governor's office in Tuesday's elections. (More)

Serious about the issues
Sep. 17 - Green Party gubernatorial candidate Ken Pentel says Gov. Ventura's surprise victory four years ago shows he has a chance to win this year. Pentel is making his second gubernatorial bid, after getting less than one percent of the vote in 1998. This time, he's included in the debates and will get nearly $240,000 in public financing. (More)

Gubernatorial Campaign Stories

How did it happen? What does it mean? (11/6/02)
Pawlenty sets stage for Capitol revolution (11/6/02)
Pawlenty wins governor's race (11/6/02)
Conflicting polls add to campaign confusion (11/3/02)
Last debate targets Pawlenty (11/2/02)
Candidates for governor sharpen rhetoric (10/31/02)
With time running out, gubernatorial candidates pick up pace (10/30/02)
Pentel's water tax (10/23/02)
Gubernatorial candidates stick to their scripts in KSTP debate (10/22/02)
Candidates in broad disagreement on transportation (10/14/02)
Pawlenty accepts campaign finance fine (10/11/02)
Higher ed debate frames candidate differences in race for governor (10/9/02)
Gubernatorial issue: Stadium (10/8/02)
TV spots on the increase (10/2/02)
With state short of cash, candidates short of solutions (9/30/02)
Candidates for governor talk transit in St. Cloud debate (9/24/02)
The high-tech debate (9/19/02)
Poll: Governor's race is three-way tie (9/17/02)
Penny wants new revenue forecast (9/23/02)
Gubernatorial candidates debate health care (9/20/02)
Poll: Governor's race is three-way tie (9/17/02)
Serious about issues: Pentel profile (9/17/02)
Profile: Roger Moe (9/12/02)
Pawlenty's path: Profile
Tone changing in race for governor (9/13/02)
Frontrunner? Tim Penny profile (9/12/02)
Clear sailing for gubernatorial candidates (9/11/02)
Candidates gang up on Penny (8/30/02)
Pawlenty leads money race (8/27/02)
Candidates debate wildlife issues, gun control (8/17/02)
Business issues focus of debate (8/13/02)
Cheney stumps for Pawlenty (8/12/02)
Candidates for governor debate agriculture policy (8/7/02)
Gubernatorial candidates hold first televised debate (8/1/02)
Senate ad spending worries gubernatorial candidates (7/25/02)
Penny, Moore endorsed by Independence Party (7/14/02)
Jax out of race for governor (7/11/02)
Penny names running mate; Republicans defect to IP(7/9/02)
Penny's position on abortion is already an issue (6/28/02)
Penny joins race for governor (6/27/02)
Duluth debate focuses on rural issues in gubernatorial race (6/25/02)
Who'll get the youth vote? (6/21/02)
'Jesse's people' may return to election sidelines (6/20/02)
Issues dominate in first three-way debate of gubernatorial candidates (6/20/02)
Independence Party scrambles for a candidate for governor (6/19/02)
The Ventura chronicles (6/18/02)
Ventura declines run at second term (6/18/02)
Gubernatorial candidates aren't waiting for Ventura (6/17/02)
Pawlenty wins endorsement in marathon (6/15/02)
GOP gubernatorial candidates in final debate (6/11/02)
GOP gubernatorial race: The money chase (6/6/02)
Pentel, McGaa get major Green Party endorsements (5/20/02)
A role switch: DFL united, GOP fighting (5/6/02)
Moe wins DFL Party endorsement; GOP says he's easy to beat. (5/4/02)
Wellstone, Hatch, Humphrey endorsed at DFL convention. (5/3/02)
DFLers in final debate before convention (5/2/02)
Profile: Judi Dutcher (4/30/02)
Profile: Becky Lourey (4/30/02)
Profile: Roger Moe (4/30/02)
Sullivan, Pawlenty debate environmental issues (4/30/02)
Sullivan names running mate (4/26/02)
Pentel announces candidacy for governor (4/19/02)
Major gubernatorial candidates debate; Greens shut out (4/18/2002)
Ventura: Waiting for a better offer? (4/10/2002)
Sullivan wins GOP straw poll (3/6/02)
Gubernatorial candidates hold first debate (3/1/02)
Moe launches campaign for governor (2/24/02)
Candidates step up attacks on Ventura (2/13/02)
The money chase (1/31/02)
Unicameral issue may be key to Ventura's political future (1/15/02)
Bridging the gender gap in governor's office (12/27/01)
Lourey announces bid for governor (11/15/01)
Pawlenty announces gubernatorial drive (9/5/01)