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Ellen Anderson may be voted out Monday as head of Public Utilities Commission

MinnPost photo by James Nord

It’s “likely” former DFL Sen. Ellen Anderson — now chairwoman of the state Public Utilities Commission — will be voted out of her job on Monday.

Deputy Senate Majority Leader Julianne Ortman said at Friday’s weekly news conference that Anderson’s “extreme record” made her a tough pick for the job.

The former St. Paul senator has led the commission since March, folowing her appointment by  DFL Gov. Mark Dayton. The Senate has yet to vote her up or down.

What constitutes an extreme record?

“Not in line with most Minnesotan’s views,” Ortman said. “I would say that she’s got a tough record for job providers, job creators, the ratepayers. Her work has created some controversy, and it makes it very difficult to confirm a commissioner that is as controversial as she has been.”

Politics in Minnesota first tweeted the news Thursday about Anderson’s precarious status.

Ortman today noted Anderson’s rocky appearance last session before a Senate committee.

“We know that Sen. Anderson did not fare particularly well in committee,” Ortman said. “She’s known to be a very passionate advocate and has a tough record to defend, and so it could be controversial on the floor on Monday.”

Four Dayton administration appointees are set for Senate review Monday, but it doesn’t appear that the others face the same resistance as Anderson. Ortman referred additional questions to Sen. Julie Rosen, who chairs the committee.

Ortman declined to say how she’ll vote on the confirmation and did not specify whether GOP appraisals of Anderson come from her time as a senator or as chair of the PUC.

During her Senate tenure, Anderson was a leading statewide advocate for renewable energy issues and in 2007 drafted the green energy standards that Minnesota employs today.

Senate Minority Leader Tom Bakk said it would be wrong for Republicans not to confirm Anderson because of her party affiliation. When the Democrats controlled the Senate, Bakk said, he fought with his party to avoid shooting down former Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s appointees without good reason. 

“I think until Sen. Anderson does something, casts some vote that gives them some reason, to simply take her down because she’s a former DFL Senator is another blatant partisan attack,” he said.

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