Blast From The Past-MN Senate Elects Senjem As Leader

Video by Bill Sorem
How things can change in a year. In 2010 Senator David Senjem (R ) Rochester was Minority Leader, but passed over for Majority Leader when Senate Republicans won the majority. A year later he is the newly elected Majority Leader, taking over for Senator Amy Koch who resigned the position for having “inappropriate” relations with a male Senate staffer. Senate Republicans elected Senjem tonight after an nearly 11-hour closed door meeting away from the State Capitol. Senjem claimed he was elected on the first ballot

Also gone are the team of Republican Senate leaders who apparently kept the Koch scandal under wraps for nearly three months including Deputy Leader Senator Geoff Michel who admitted to lying to reporters about the scandal, claiming he had just learned of it days before Senator Koch resigned. Also resigning was Assistant Leader David Hann who was one of a small number of Republican Senators who confronted Koch about the scandal. They resigned from their leadership positions along with Assistant Leaders Senator Doug Magnus, and Senator Dave Thompson.

GOP Team Resignation “Not A Big Deal”

Senator David Senjem in 2009 when he was Senate Minority Leader

Senator David Senjem in 2009 when he was Senate Minority Leader

Senator Senjem says nobody should make a “big deal” that the entire Republican Senate leadership team resigned.

Replacing them as Assistant Leaders are five term Senator Claire Robling of Jordan, and a trio of first term Senators: Paul Gazelka of Brainerd, Ted Lillie of Lake Elmo and Roger Chamberlain of Lino Lakes.

According to caucus bylaws, Majority Leader Senjem has seven days to appoint two additional assistant leaders.

Governor Mark Dayton issued a statement shortly after the election.
“I have placed a telephone call to Senator David Senjem, to congratulate him on his election as the Senate’s new Majority Leader. I look forward to a constructive working relationship with him on behalf of the people of Minnesota.”

A few days ago, Governor Dayton said he hoped the Republican controlled legislature would rescind an anti-gay marriage constitutional amendment it put on the 2012 general election ballot. When asked about that tonight, Senator Senjem indicated the amendment question would remain on the ballot.

At top of page: Senator David Senjem news conference.
Below: Additional video and news conference.

Michael McIntee

Michael McIntee is a former network TV news executive with more than 30 years of broadcasting experience. He began his broadcasting career at the University of Minnesota's student radio station. He is an expert producer, writer, video editor who has a fondness for new technology but denies that he is a geek. More about Michael McIntee »

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