Witness a couple of paragraphs published online Sunday evening as part of the article, Legislative breakfast hosts fired-up lawmakers, public:
Hamilton concurred, saying, “We in rural Minnesota used to go along to get along, gosh shucks, but my friend, [former Democratic] Senator Jim Vickerman, advised me to hold my ground but still be approachable.
“When 29 of the 22 committee chairs are from the metro area, and after you consider Rochester and Duluth, only four chairs are from greater Minnesota, we have to make our points and advocate strongly for this area.”
This is curious stuff, and not just because he transposed 29 and 22.
In March, 2011, Politics in Minnesota reported in GOP rural caucus isn’t out to make big waves in budget negotiations, but may be forced to do so:
. . . the rural caucus attracts between 30 and 40 House and Senate Republicans each week. The cast of legislators is ever-changing, as all Republicans are invited to attend.
In the group’s first meeting, members elected Sen. Doug Magnus of Slayton and Mountain Lake Rep. Rod Hamilton as co-chairmen of the caucus, while [Dave] Senjem, Rep. Mary Franson of Alexandria and Iron Range Rep. Carolyn McElfatrick were picked to sit on the caucus’ executive committee. . . .
That was then. Now Senjem's Rochester gets booted out of the greater Minnesota, mostly to disqualify Tina Liebling's chairing a committee. It's not as if small towns in the area get a piece of the Roch's sales tax revenue or anything.
Mary Murphy's district, which includes two Duluth precincts, is "Duluth" but so not in any way rural. Of course.
With that sort of shifting geography, it's easier to understand why Greg Davids told PIM in 2011:
Surprisingly, the Preston Republican and Taxes Committee chairman opted not to join the rural caucus, saying he does not like the “splits” that can result. He added: “I’m a member of the Minnesota House of Representatives caucus.”
However, even Davids' reasonableness had its limits, and he joined in the whining about committee structure this year.
Bluestem is still waiting for Hamilton to introduce some ag bills; so far, he's signed on to one bill about drainage. A good start, but less posturing and more legislative relief might be more persuasive than the most recent bellyaching about committee chairs.
Image: While Rod Hamilton likes to call himself "an uneducated hog farmer," he's so much more than that for the minority caucus in the House.
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