Republicans rolled out their new committee chairs after taking control of the House and Senate in the November election. In the House, Rep. Mary Liz Holberg will be running the show as the chair of Ways & Means. She joked “I lovingly refer to it as ways to be mean” so she said that should give people a sense of the mission of the committee where huge cuts to state government will have to clear. Rep. Pat Garofalo got the Education Committee as expected.
A bit a surprise is wildcard Rep. Jim Abeler who’ll chair Health and Human Services after angering his caucus voting for tax increases. Another Republican lawmaker who also voted for taxes, Rep. Rod Hamilton landed the Agriculture Committee. Rep. Larry Howes entertained tax increases and has a good reputation for working across the aisle and he will chair the Bonding Committee which will need DFL votes.
On the Senate side, one of Democrats’ favorite Republicans, Sen. Michael Jungbauer is the ranking minority member of the Transportation Committee but was passed over as chair for freshman Sen. Joe Gimse. The Minority Leader Dave Senjem will chair Bonding. Longtime Sen. Claire Robling gets a top spot as Finance Chair.
Education is led by one of the most senior members, Sen. Gen Olson. Sen. David Hann who made education the central issue in his campaign for governor ends up chairing Health & Human Services. Sen.-elect Doug Magnus moves from the House and into power for the Agriculture Committee.