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DFLers lament Wagenius’ absence from House environmental committee

Rep. Jean Wagenius is a former chair of the House Environment and Natural Resources Committee. The new GOP leadership left her off the committee entirely. 

The new GOP majority in the Minnesota House of Representatives has set up the committee rosters for the 2015 session that starts next month, and DFLers are perturbed at what they call a glaring omission.

State Rep. Jean Wagenius, a staunch environmentalist who’s been on the House Environment and Natural Resources Committee since 1987 — and had been the chair the past two years when the DFL controlled the chamber — won’t be on the committee.

Republicans said that they were going for geographic balance in choosing members for the committee which will now have three members from Minneapolis and St. Paul, six from the suburbs and 12 from Greater Minnesota.

But DFL State Rep. Paul Thissen, who’s technically still the Speaker although next month he’ll be Minority Leader, responded with pique to the Republican move:

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“I am deeply disappointed that Speaker-Designate Daudt has taken the unprecedented step of refusing to accept the individual the minority caucus has designated as its lead on a Minnesota House Committee. So much for the ‘balanced approach’ the Republicans touted repeatedly during the campaign. Again, the Republicans campaign rhetoric does not match its actions.

“Just because House Republicans don’t take climate change or protecting Minnesota’s water and air seriously doesn’t mean that the majority of Minnesotans agree with them. Rep. Jean Wagenius is a woman of great integrity who would bring much needed experience to the important work of the environment committee.”

Lobbyists and others concerned with the new makeup of the House’s 26 committees and divisions can find them here.