New House committee chairs named


Republican leaders named the new House and Senate committee chairs for the 2011-12 legislative biennium.

House Speaker-designate Rep. Kurt Zellers (R-Maple Grove) and Senate Majority Leader-designate Sen. Amy Koch (R-Buffalo) announced the new roster of committee chairs at a press conference.

Zellers and Koch said the new committee chairs were selected based on their ability to advance the Republican majority’s agenda, rather than their seniority as lawmakers.

“It’s what’s best for the caucus,” Zellers said, adding that a leadership team of “five-to-six members” made the final decisions on appointing committee chairs in the House. Koch named seven Republican senators who chose the new Senate committee chairs via a “working group.”

Zellers said the roster of incoming House committee chairs represents a good geographic balance of metro-area and rural members, and represents the party’s “best foot forward” to follow through with plans to “redesign” state government.

Chairs of the new House committees, which were announced yesterday, are:

Agriculture and Rural Development Policy and Finance Committee: Rep. Rod Hamilton (R-Mountain Lake)
Capital Investment Committee: Rep. Larry Howes (R-Walker)
Civil Law Committee: Rep. Torrey Westrom (R-Elbow Lake)
Commerce and Regulatory Reform Committee: Rep. Joe Hoppe (R-Chaska)
Education Finance Committee: Rep. Pat Garofalo (R-Farmington)
Education Reform Committee: Rep. Sondra Erickson (R-Princeton)
Environment, Energy and Natural Resources Policy and Finance Committee: Rep. Tom Hackbarth (R-Cedar)
Ethics Committee: Rep. Steve Smith (R-Mound)
Government Operations and Elections Committee: Rep. Joyce Peppin (R-Rogers)
Health and Human Services Finance Committee: Rep. Jim Abeler (R-Anoka)
Health and Human Services Reform Committee: Rep. Steve Gottwalt (R-St. Cloud)
Higher Education Policy and Finance Committee: Rep. Bud Nornes (R-Fergus Falls)
Jobs and Economic Development Finance Committee: Rep. Bob Gunther (R-Fairmont)
Judiciary Policy and Finance Committee: Rep. Steve Smith (R-Mound)
Public Safety and Crime Prevention Policy and Finance Committee: Rep. Tony Cornish (R-Good Thunder)
Redistricting Committee: Rep. Sarah Anderson (R-Plymouth)
Rules and Legislative Administration: Rep. Matt Dean (R-Dellwood)
State Government Finance Committee: Rep. Denny McNamara (R-Hastings)
• Veterans Services Division: Rep. Bruce Anderson (R-Buffalo Township)
• Legacy Funding Division: Rep. Dean Urdahl (R-Grove City)
Taxes Committee: Rep. Greg Davids (R-Preston)
• Property and Local Tax Division: Rep. Linda Runbeck (R-Circle Pines)
Transportation Policy and Finance Committee: Rep. Mike Beard (R-Shakopee)
Ways and Means Committee: Rep. Mary Liz Holberg (R-Lakeville)

Full committee rosters are expected to be released in December. A PDF version of the list of committee chairs is available here.