GOP criticizes urban-heavy list of Minnesota House leadership positions, but DFL says its rural commitee chairmen have outsized clout
ST. PAUL -- The Minnesota House released a list of committee chairmen Friday dominated by Minneapolis and St. Paul lawmakers. House Speaker-designate Paul Thissen, DFL-Minneapolis, announced that urban representatives will lead 13 of the 28 commi...
ST. PAUL -- The Minnesota House released a list of committee chairmen Friday dominated by Minneapolis and St. Paul lawmakers.
House Speaker-designate Paul Thissen, DFL-Minneapolis, announced that urban representatives will lead 13 of the 28 committees. Suburban Twin Cities legislators will be in charge of seven, with those elsewhere in the state leading eight.
Thissen and Majority Leader-elect Erin Murphy of St. Paul are the top two DFL caucus leaders.
Democrats retook the House in the Nov. 6 election after giving up power two years ago. The party's strongest support comes from urban areas, with suburban and rural areas more divided.
The party in power almost always puts its members in chairmanships.
Current Agriculture Committee Chairman Rod Hamilton, R-Mountain Lake, was not happy with the key lawmaker in ag finance coming from Minneapolis.
Rep. Jean Wagenius will lead a committee dealing with environment, natural resources and agriculture funding. Hamilton noted that she is from Minneapolis, along with the incoming speaker, with the majority leader from St. Paul. "Seriously?" he asked in a tweet.
House DFL spokesman Michael Howard, however, said chairmen from outside the Twin Cities will coordinate education, health care, higher education and state government budgets.
"Our chairs come with a great depth of experience and represent Minnesotans across the state,
Howard said. "Representatives in greater Minnesota chair many finance committees that are responsible for perhaps 80 percent of the budget."
The next legislative session begins at noon Jan. 8 with the main task of writing a two-year budget.
Committees and chairman for the next two years are:
- Ways and Means, Lyndon Carlson of Crystal
- Taxes, Ann Lenczewski of Bloomington
- Property Tax Division, Jim Davnie of Minneapolis
- Higher Education Finance and Policy, Gene Pelowski of Winona
- Education Finance, Paul Marquart of Dilworth
- Education Policy, Carlos Mariani of St. Paul
- Health and Human Services Finance, Tom Huntley of Duluth
- Health and Human Services Policy, Tina Liebling of Rochester
- Capital Investment, Alice Hausman of St. Paul
- Environment, Natural Resources, and Agriculture Finance, Jean Wagenius of Minneapolis
- Environment and Natural Resources Policy, David Dill of Crane Lake
- Agriculture Policy, Jeanne Poppe of Austin
- Energy Policy, Melissa Hortman of Brooklyn Park
- Transportation Finance, Frank Hornstein of Minneapolis
- Transportation Policy, Ron Erhardt of Edina
- Judiciary Finance and Policy, Debra Hilstrom of Brooklyn Center
- Commerce and Consumer Protection Finance and Policy, Joe Atkins of Inver Grove Heights
- Jobs and Economic Development Finance and Policy, Tim Mahoney of St. Paul
- Labor, Workplace, and Regulated Industries, Sheldon Johnson of St. Paul
- State Government Finance and Veterans Affairs, Mary Murphy of Hermantown
- Legacy, Phyllis Kahn of Minneapolis
- Housing Finance and Policy, Karen Clark of Minneapolis
- Government Operations, Michael Nelson of Rochester
- Elections, Steve Simon of St. Louis Park
- Public Safety Finance and Policy, Michael Paymar of St. Paul
- Early Childhood and Youth Development Policy, Joe Mullery of Minneapolis
- Civil Law, John Lesch of St. Paul
- Rules and Legislative Administration, Erin Murphy of St. Paul
- Ethics, no one named