Minnesota Senate DFL committee chairs named

MinnPost photo by Bill Kelley
After gaining control of the Senate in last week's election, incoming Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk (shown on Election Night) has announced the new chairs of the 19 Senate committees, subcommittees and finance subdivisions.

With their return to power, Senate Democrats re-shuffled key committee leadership positions for this session after spending the last two years in the minority.

Incoming Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk announced the chairs of the 19 committees, subcommittees and finance subdivisions after private talks ended Wednesday evening at the Capitol. The House hasn’t yet released its committee makeup.

Last week, Bakk’s caucus chose him as majority leader of the Senate, where he had served as minority leader under two Republican leadership teams. When the Democrats last controlled the Senate, Bakk chaired the important Taxes Committee, which left an opening filled this session by Sen. Rod Skoe.

Sen. Sandy Pappas, who will replace GOP Sen. Michelle Fischbach as president of the body, will chair the State and Local Government Committee.

Sen. Dick Cohen will reprise his post as Senate Finance Committee chairman.

Sen. Terri Bonoff, a moderate suburbanite who sided with Republicans on certain education reforms last session, will head the finance committee’s Higher Education Division.

Sen. Tony Lourey, a key player in planning Minnesota’s health insurance exchange, will take over the finance Committee’s Health and Human Services Division.Sen. John Marty will assume his old post overseeing the Environment and Energy Committee.

Bakk will chair the Senate Rules Committee, which last session took up such controversial matters as the body’s ailing budget and legal defense for the Koch-Brodkorb sex scandal.

The caucus also chose Sen. Katie Sieben to be assistant majority leader. Sieben will oversee the Subcommittee on Elections. Sen. Jeff Hayden has been named the DFL Senate caucus deputy leader.

The caucus also released its schedule of standing Senate committee meetings [PDF].

Here is the full list of committee chairs:

• Rules and Administration — Sen. Tom Bakk

• Subcommittee on Elections — Sen. Katie Sieben

• Capital Investment — Sen. LeRoy Stumpf

• Taxes — Sen. Rod Skoe

• Tax Reform Division — Sen. Ann Rest

• Finance — Sen. Dick Cohen

     • E-12 Division — Sen. Chuck Wiger

     • Environment, Economic Development, & Ag Division — Sen. David Tomassoni

     • Health and Human Services Division — Sen. Tony Lourey

     • Higher Ed and Workforce Development Division — Sen. Terri Bonoff

     • State Departments and Veterans Division — Sen. Tom Saxhaug

     • Transportation and Public Safety Division — Sen. Scott Dibble

• Commerce — Sen. Jim Metzen

• Education — Sen. Patricia Torres Ray

• Environment and Energy — Sen. John Marty

• Health, Human Services & Housing — Sen. Kathy Sheran

• Jobs, Agriculture, and Rural Development — Sen. Dan Sparks

• Judiciary — Sen. Ron Latz

• State and Local Government — Sen. Sandy Pappas.

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Comments (4)

  1. Submitted by Barbara Gilbertson on 11/15/2012 - 12:22 pm.

    Good folks, all. But only six (6) of the 19 are women. Fewer than one-third. What’s up with that?

  2. Submitted by Dan Erkkila on 11/15/2012 - 04:26 pm.


    To Barbara’s (good) question. If the senate website numbers are right, of the 39 members of the Senate DFL majority, 14 are women (36%). Of those 14, six are newly elected, leaving only eight with “experience” to chair a committee. Given interests, background and actual experience, six is not bad at all and within range. Let’s elect more and keep them so their breadth and experience goes up!

  3. Submitted by Barbara Gilbertson on 11/15/2012 - 07:34 pm.


    Okay. I accept your explanation, Dan. Don’t much like it, but it makes sense to me. Hate when that happens when I’m ready to rumble.

    • Submitted by Rachel Kahler on 11/16/2012 - 01:52 pm.


      I totally understand. It’s a bit sad that there are so few women in political positions. But it’s getting closer to equal. There are still fewer women running for such positions, too.

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