The heated debate over the role of mining in northern Minnesota has become full of political landmines for Democratic politicians, not only in local races like the one in the 8th Congressional District, but also in statewide contests.

At the same time, Smith has not yet been elected to this seat, and she has worked since taking office in January to build a legislative record she can run on in November. That now includes some definitive action on mining: last week, she and Sen. Amy Klobuchar introduced an amendment to the annual federal defense spending bill to expedite an exchange of Minnesota land between the federal government and the mining company PolyMet. MinnPost