DFLers lament Wagenius’ absence from House environmental committee

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:

“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.

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Comments (14)

  1. Submitted by Logan Foreman on 12/19/2014 - 04:28 pm.

    9 members on the the committee represent the great majority

    Of the population of MN; 12 represent the small minority left. What a joke? And who destroys more of the environment?

  2. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 12/20/2014 - 09:19 am.

    It’s an entitlement thing

    Even when they lose the democrats expect to maintain their political power.

    • Submitted by Connie Sullivan on 12/20/2014 - 12:50 pm.

      I fail to comprehend Mr. Tester’s relegation of the outrageous removal of Jean Wagenius from the environment committee to Democrats concerned with maintaining “power.” The issue is her awareness of the complications of environmental problems, and her expertise earned over years of focusing on relevant issues. Not to speak of seniority and having her caucus’s nomination to the committee. It’s the GOP majority that’s playing with political power of the moment, to avoid the natural power of Wagenius’s greater knowledge of our environmental crisis. There’s nobody in the GOP majority who can hold a candle to her expertise and wisdom.

      The GOP is obviously afraid of Rep. Wagenius and her deep knowledge of the environment. It’s not “power” so much as GOP ignorance of the issues, ideological determination to avoid confronting agriculture and industry on their polluting practices and a GOP wish to avoid being shown up in committee by a House member who’s better informed.

      • Submitted by Steve Rose on 12/20/2014 - 04:17 pm.

        A Poster Child for Term Limits

        Representative Wagenius has been in the state legislature for nearly 30 years; she is 73 years old. Perhaps, some new blood, a fresh approach would be of value. On second thought we couldn’t have that; we need the old guard and old paradigm.

        When Democrats took control just two years ago, they denied seats to several Republican members who wanted to be on the same committee. As I recall, It didn’t receive any notice on the MinnPost comment board.

        • Submitted by Nathaniel Finch on 12/22/2014 - 08:51 am.

          Yeah, let’s throw out all the old people

          There are plenty of capable citizens over 60. Throwing out every legislator who is older or has served for several terms is a ridiculous idea. I lived in Rep.Wagenius’ district for several years. She is capable and thoughtful and committed to her work. Apparently regional “balance” for the new majority means rewarding rural districts in hopes of keeping control of those districts in future elections.

          • Submitted by Thomas Swift on 12/22/2014 - 09:34 am.

            Rewarding political allies…

            Dang those Republicans, anyway. And after the governor pushed through all those union friendly pieces of legislation because it’s what is best for the state.

          • Submitted by Steve Rose on 12/22/2014 - 10:46 am.

            Several terms?

            Fourteen. When did you last here the word “several” used to refer to the number 14?

            As a long-time and current resident of 63A and 62B, I am aware of what the representative has done.

            This committee’s role has been recently expanded to include control of spending on agriculture, something that doesn’t happen a lot in our district. That is unless you include backyard chicken coops. Yes, regional balance needed improvement.

            • Submitted by Nathaniel Finch on 12/22/2014 - 04:37 pm.


              The new leadership in the house has removed agriculture from the committee’s purview.

              If you are dissatisfied with Rep. Wagenius’ service, you are free to run against her.

              • Submitted by Steve Rose on 12/22/2014 - 07:51 pm.

                Incumbent Wagenius

                In the last election incumbent Wagenius received over 75% of the vote. Running against this incumbent in this district isn’t going to change anything, as I am sure you were fully aware when you offered your advice.

                Ten terms seemed like a lot and fifteen terms certainly seems like too many.

        • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 12/22/2014 - 02:59 pm.

          Each term is already limited. They’re called ‘elections.’

          Beyond that, why is someone who is over 70 and has been in office for 30 years a ‘poster-child for term-limits?’

          • Submitted by Steve Rose on 12/22/2014 - 03:12 pm.


            “New Report Confirms Elections Are Not Term Limits”, December 3, 2014:


            Citizen legislators or career politicians; I prefer the former, while the latter is about a system of cronyism, ruling class, and preservation of the status quo and old paradigm.

            • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 12/23/2014 - 04:33 pm.

              Yet you supported the voter ID amendment, which would more vigorously entrench republican politicians in their elected seats as well. Perhaps, instead of supporting efforts that disenfranchise voters and drive down turnout, you should look to support efforts that increase voter participation, which would increase both the turnover rate of elected officeholders, and necessarily, those running for office.

              • Submitted by Steve Rose on 01/02/2015 - 08:32 am.

                In Favor of Voter Turnout

                I fail to see how voter ID will “more vigorously entrench republican politicians in their elected seats”.

                Please explain.

                Nationally, 36.4% turned out to vote in the 2014 midterm election. That is a problem, but not a problem of disenfranchised voters.

  3. Submitted by Rod Loper on 12/26/2014 - 06:35 am.

    What this is really about

    Purging anybody who will ask searching questions about mining permits or industrial agriculture.

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