Zellers chosen for House speaker, Dean for majority leader


Rep. Kurt Zellers is expected to be the next speaker of the Minnesota House. 

Zellers (R-Maple Grove) was selected by the House Republican caucus to be their nominee when the Legislature convenes Jan. 4. A floor vote must be taken on that day, but with Republicans taking control of the body, Zellers will most likely become the presiding officer.

Zellers, who replaced Marty Seifert (R-Marshall), as the House minority leader in June 2009, was first elected in a 2003 special election.

“It’s a great honor and privilege to serve not only my House colleagues, but all Minnesotans,” Zellers said.

Among his career highlights is being co-sponsor of a 2005 bill that strengthened the state’s sex offender laws, including life in prison with no chance of release for offenders who commit aggravated first- and second-degree criminal sexual conduct crimes.

Rep. Matt Dean (R-Dellwood) was selected as the new House majority leader.

Dean, who led the caucus’ election efforts, was first elected in 2004. In the current biennium, he was the Republican lead on the House Health Care and Human Services Finance Division and the House Licensing Division.

He said the caucus had a “great discussion” about what the campaign theme of jobs and the economy means going forward. “That will be our first step in moving ahead,” he said. “We’re so very, very happy to be 72 (members) strong and to meet so many new faces, and to have a caucus that I think is going to be very exciting.”