By Dan Linehan
Free Press Staff Writer
MANKATO — Legislative Republicans have chosen their leaders, who, like local legislators, are adjusting to their new status in the less-powerful minority party.
Senate Republicans spent a bit of time discussing the turn in their legislative fortunes during Friday’s meeting, said Sen. Julie Rosen, R-Fairmont.
“We talked about the amendments, how many parades we had, how many doors were knocked, various people’s experiences,” she said.
But Rosen wasn’t despondent.
“I’ll be fine. The district will be fine. I just won’t have a gavel,” Rosen said.
Senate Republicans elected David Hann, of Eden Prairie, as the minority leader. They also elected four assistant minority leaders, and Hann will himself pick two more.
Rosen said she declined leadership roles because she has a lot to work on.
While Republicans will lose the powerful committee chairs — who act as legislative gatekeepers, deciding which bills get heard — they will still be able to influence legislation.
Rosen said she hopes to be the ranking minority chair on the human services and energy committees. She said health care is the biggest driver of the state’s budget increases.
Rosen said she gets along with Sen. Tony Lourey, who she believes will be the Democrats’ human services chair.
“I will be working with him closely.”
House Republicans chose Kurt Daudt, from Zimmerman, a rural community northwest of St. Paul, said Tony Cornish, R-Good Thunder. Daudt will choose his deputy.
“My hope is that he picks a woman,” Cornish said.
didn’t dwell on the election.
“A lot of people wanted to do an analysis of the election and why we lost but we’re still collecting information about how many independent expenditures there were” and other information, so they put that talk off, he said.
Cornish said he hopes to be the lead Republican on the public safety committee.
A Republican in that position can get some influence if they get along with the Democratic chair. Like Rosen, he said he gets along with the legislator who he presumes will be the chair — Rep. Deb Hilstrom.
Even so, he said, he’s more likely to influence minor legislation.
“Realistically, controlling the House and Senate and the governor, they really don’t need you,” Cornish said.