Minnesota House names committee chairs, completes legislative leadership

MinnPost photo by James Nord
House Speaker-designate Paul Thissen, shown here with DFL legislators the day after the election, said in a statement that the committee chairs are “ready to roll up their sleeves, tackle tough challenges and govern well.”

House Democrats finalized their committee chair appointments on Friday, completing the legislative leadership decisions for the coming session when DFLers will be back in control of both chambers.

House Speaker-designate Paul Thissen said in a statement that the committee chairs are “ready to roll up their sleeves, tackle tough challenges and govern well.”

The Senate finalized its leadership appointments on Thursday.

Rep. Lyndon Carlson will move up from DFL-lead under the GOP to chair the Ways and Means Committee, last headed under a DFL majority by Rep. Loren Solberg, who was ousted in 2010. Rep. Ann Lenczewski will return as head of the House Taxes Committee, a key area to watch this session if the projected budget deficit sticks.

Other committees also saw the return of their longtime chairs. Rep. Alice Hausman will resume her role leading the Capital Investment Committee, which would oversee a bonding bill. Rep. Tom Huntley will head up Health and Human Services Finance.

Rep. Ron Erhardt, a former Republican who lost in 2008 after voting to override former Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s veto of a gas tax increase, will take over the Transportation Policy Committee as a Democrat this session.

Rep. Gene Pelowski, a stalwart on the Higher Education Committee, replaces retiring Rep. Tom Rukavina as the lead DFLer there.

Rep. Paul Marquart, who lost to Rep. Erin Murphy in a bid for House majority leader, will take over the Education Finance Committee.

Here is the full list of chairs, and here is the meeting schedule for standing committees [PDF]:

• Ways and Means — Rep. Lyndon Carlson

• Taxes — Rep.Ann Lenczewski

• Property Tax Division — Rep. Jim Davnie

• Higher Education Finance and Policy — Rep. Gene Pelowski

• Education Finance — Rep. Paul Marquart  

• Education Policy — Rep. Carlos Mariani

• Health and Human Services Finance — Rep. Tom Huntley    

• Health and Human Services Policy — Rep. Tina Liebling

• Capital Investment — Rep. Alice Hausman

• Environment, Natural Resources, and Agriculture Finance — Rep.Jean Wagenius

• Environment and Natural Resources Policy — Rep. David Dill

• Agriculture Policy — Rep. Jeanne Poppe

• Energy Policy — Rep. Melissa Hortman

• Transportation Finance — State Rep. Frank Hornstein

• Transportation Policy — Rep. Ron Erhardt

• Judiciary Finance and Policy — Rep. Debra Hilstrom

• Commerce and Consumer Protection Finance and Policy — Rep. Joe Atkins

• Jobs and Economic Development Finance and Policy — State Rep. Tim Mahoney

• Labor, Workplace, and Regulated Industries — State Rep. Sheldon Johnson

• State Government Finance and Veterans Affairs — Rep. Mary Murphy

• Legacy — Rep. Phyllis Kahn

• Housing Finance and Policy — Rep. Karen Clark

• Government Operations — Rep. Michael Nelson

• Elections — Rep. Steve Simon

• Public Safety Finance and Policy — Rep. Michael Paymar

• Early Childhood and Youth Development Policy — State Rep. Joe Mullery

• Civil Law — Rep. John Lesch

• Rules and Legislative Administration — Rep. Erin Murphy.

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Comments (4)

  1. Submitted by Sara Fleets on 11/16/2012 - 02:35 pm.

    Heavy on Metro?

    It seems that the chairs are mainly from the metro area. Is that status quo and I haven’t noticed before? Wouldn’t it be better to have more diversity among urban, suburban, rural and outstate?

    • Submitted by David Greene on 11/19/2012 - 02:59 pm.


      Chairs are almost always given out based on seniority. Since the core cities tend to have very stable seats, those members tend to have more seniority, overall.

      True, there are stable seats in Greater MN but we had some big-name retirements (Rukavina) that eliminates some seniority from those areas.

  2. Submitted by Sara Fleets on 11/16/2012 - 02:44 pm.


    What does Joe Mullery know about Early Childhood and Youth Development Policy? Mary Murphy and Veterans Affairs? Shouldn’t committee chairs have knowledge and experience in their areas?

  3. Submitted by Andrew Kearney on 11/17/2012 - 05:40 pm.

    And a school couselor heading Agriculture

    Wasn’t there some one with an ag degree and ag business experience or a farming background?

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