New House & Senate DFL minority leaders

Democrats elected two new caucus leaders who faced the press today.  Senate DFL Minority Leader Tom Bakk and House DFL Minority Leader Paul Thissen were both candidates for governor and got to know each other well traveling the state on the campaign trail.  They say because of that they have a strong working relationship.  Thissen said neither of them expect to be “bomb throwers” as has been the role for many minority caucuses, he said “My role is holding Republicans accountable.”  Bakk added “I’m not an overly combative, partisan person…but we will drive a tough bargain.”

Bakk noted it’s especially tough for senators, most of whom have never served in the minority.  The senator from Cook said he thinks only three members of his caucus have ever served in the minority.   He went on to say that while moving offices out of the Capitol and across the street to the State Office Building is difficult, losing friends and having to lay off dozens of staffers is even harder.  Minority leaders said they don’t think Republicans have a mandate.  They repeatedly referred to “Gov.-elect Dayton” saying “The people have spoken on the governor’s race.”

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