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Steve Sviggum among the many departed GOP Senate staff

Steve Sviggum
MinnPost photo by James Nord
Steve Sviggum is among the 35 staff members of the Senate Republican caucus whose positions were eliminated with the downsizing that comes with minority status.

Longtime Minnesota public official Steve Sviggum is among the 35 staff members of the Senate Republican caucus whose positions were eliminated with the downsizing that comes with minority status.

Sviggum’s last paycheck, along with those for the other 34, was issued last Friday.

Sviggum, who was hired last January as executive assistant and communications director for the then-majority caucus, had indicated before the holidays that he expected to leave his position.

“I did tell David [Senjem, former majority leader] that I’d stay with him through the elections, but I’m not sure it might not be best for me not to come back,” Sviggum said in an interview in mid-December.

At the time, Sviggum was anticipating that the Republican caucus would have to cut up to 25 positions, a prediction that was on the low side. The new DFL majority caucus reduced the GOP staff to 39 from 74, four fewer staff members than the DFL had with its minority status.

Sviggum, 61, has held a variety of top posts in state government, including House speaker, commissioner of the Department of Labor and Industry, and a member of the University of Minnesota Board of Regents.

He said with such drastic staff reductions, he felt that the remaining jobs should go to younger staff members with growing families and needs.

But there was a tinge of sadness in his voice as he described his affection for his job: “I enjoy going down talking to the press. The Capitol has been my home.”

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Comments (4)

Communications director?

Grammarian doesn't seem to have been a part of that job. "I’m not sure it might not be best for me not to come back." Does that mean he was sure it might be best for him to come back?

The Capitol has been his home -- that may be a problem

I grant you that it's desirable to have legislators with enough experience to do the job knowledgeably and effectively. I don't pretend to know exactly where the line should be drawn between experience and new blood in a legislative body.

But when a 61-year-old man wistfully says, "The Capitol has been my home," maybe that's an indication that he spent too much time there.

Agree

Completely. We need to go back to the time when the legislature met every other year and finished its work without any drama. More qualified people would run for office then as well.

Nice spin

Last year's Republican Senate has already spent 96% of THIS YEARS Senate budget, so it looks like Sviggum again has maximized his freeloading on the taxpayers by staying on as long as he did, doing very little. Typical Republican, all talk and no real principles.