In Thursday's MinnPost, Briana Bierschbach explored the parallel universe of the 1985 and 1986--the last time Minnesota Democrats controlled the governor's office and the state senate, while the Republican held the lower chamber--in Why are Minnesota's elected officials studying a 30-year-old legislative session?
In a Friday evening post published by the Worthington Globe, Forum Communications staff writer Don Davis looks toward the future--or at least this coming spring--in Doubt remains in Daubt; Democrats have concerns about new House speaker.
Dayton and DFL leaders offer their perspectives, turning over the speaker elect's career like a pair of hungry raccoons washing a captive minnow:
When asked if he trusts Daudt, Dayton responded quickly: “I have no reason not to.”
But he immediately added that he had a good relationship with Rep. Kurt Zellers of Maple Grove, speaker during the shutdown. The governor recalled that things went south in session-ending negotiations when the two sides could not agree on a budget.
“I knew that he was captive of his extreme right-wing caucus that was so inflexible ... that if he would agree to something reasonable that he would not be speaker an hour later,” Dayton said of Zellers.
Applying that experience to budget talks next year, Dayton said that success rests on whether “Rep. Daudt has the latitude and authorization to agree to or not.”
Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk, D-Cook, said the problem is that Republicans long ago established an executive council that can control a speaker.
“I do think he sincerely wants to have a smooth session,” Bakk said of Daudt.
In her article, Bierschbach noted how the Republican's experience with an imperial speaker lead to the creation of the House Republican Caucus's executive council. In the Davis piece, Bakk notes the wild card of that structure:
The amount of freedom the executive council gives Daudt could determine the session’s success, Bakk said, adding that he has worked well with Daudt in recent years.
“I don’t know the extent they are going to empower him,” Bakk said. “Is the Kurt Daudt I know the one I will negotiate with or will he bring some baggage with him?”
In a recent interview, Daudt did not address the executive council, but said he has good relationships with Dayton and legislative leaders, including outgoing Speaker Paul Thissen, D-Minneapolis, who will be House minority leader.
It does appear that the executive council is composed of the more moderate members of the caucus, rather than the Gruenhagens among them.
And of course, Davis's article doesn't get into Daudt's appalling overreach in casting Representative Jean Wagenius off the environmental and natural resources committee, as Patrick Condon reports in House GOP bounces Minneapolis' Wagenius from longtime post on natural resources committee.
The DFL had asked that she be the minority lead on the committee; honoring such leadership requests is considered part of the ordinary comity of the body.
Image: Kurt Daudt as you've never seen him before. By Gustave Dore.
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