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Big talker likes the hometown crowd

Jason Lewis, a Woodbury resident dating back to 1994, signed copies of his new book "Power Divided is Power Checked" Saturday at the Dunn Bros in CityWalk. Lewis hosts a nationally-syndicated radio show where he often focuses on the state of the political landscape. Staff photo by Hank Long.

Jason Lewis is a nationally-syndicated talk show host with a penchant for national politics. But those who listen to his show often enough know that he makes an effort to keep his hometown crowd in the mix.

Last week the Woodbury resident staged a book signing event at the local Dunn Bros where he sold advance copies of his first full-length book "Power Divided is Power Checked," which makes the case for states' rights in the context of the modern political era. The topic is one that Lewis has discussed on his radio show often enough, which airs locally on KTLK-FM (100.3), that the longtime political pundit decided he would put his constitutional argument into words.

"The concept of states' rights did get a bad wrap coming out of the Civil War and the Jim Crow Era," Lewis said. "But the purpose of states' rights in the eyes of the founders was not about race at all. It was about making sure we don't repeat the mistakes of the government on a larger scale."

That's the essence of "Power Divided is Power Checked," which Lewis said he wanted to give those in the Twin Cities market first crack at during the holiday season, before he takes it to a larger audience after the New Year.

"We still have a devoted audience here in the Twin Cities," Lewis said. "I enjoy connecting with listeners close to home."

Lewis commutes five days a week from his Woodbury home to Clear Channel studios in St. Louis Park to broadcast "The Jason Lewis Show" to more than 30 markets across the country. He's been syndicated since his move back to Minnesota a few years back, after a three-year stint in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Lewis first moved to Woodbury when he hit the Twin Cities air waves in 1994 with the debut of his show on KSTP-AM (1500). The program became the top-rated show in its time slot and he became affectionately known to his listeners as "Minnesota's Mr. Right," a reference to his unabashed conservative ideology.

Since his show reached syndication, Lewis has elevated his tongue-in-cheek status to that of "America's Mr. Right." But he said he still has plenty of time to keep up with the local political scene.

"I was glad to see (House District 56B representative-elect) Andrea Kieffer won," Lewis said. "It seems like she has a good understanding of her district."

Lewis said he believes Woodbury is a center-of-right community that righted itself earlier this month on Election Day after a "Democrat title wave" in 2006 and 2008.

Lewis said outgoing area DFL-endorsed legislators orchestrated "very clever campaign strategies to identify themselves as sort of middle-of-the-roaders. But ultimately, the voters didn't believe it."

Lewis categorized the Woodbury City Council "as pretty conservative in its governance."

"They just elected (former local Republican Party chair) Chris Burns, and the city has done a good job holding the line on spending, which is reflective of the voters in this community," he said.

And although the syndicated format does not allow Lewis to talk about Minnesota politics on-air as often as he used to, he does occasionally get in a few jabs on close-to-home issues like mass-transit.

"Where there is a real good topic, like the North Star Rail not living up to its expectations," Lewis said, "I'm just chomping at the bit to get at that stuff."

For more information on "Power Divided is Power Checked," a new book from radio personality and political pundit Jason Lewis, go to: