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< Fantasy Legislature on the air | Main | The first points awarded >

The rookies

Posted at 9:58 AM on January 4, 2007 by Bob Collins

Quick housekeeping. I hope we can have the MFL blog (whichwill be embedded in the Minnesota Fantasy Legislature Web site, perhaps ats early as today. Until then, we're piggybacking on Polinaut. Also, later today, I'll have a link for managers on the site which be the form used to submit roster changes (trades or waiver requests). The deadline for doing this each week is Friday at 5 p.m.

Now, then, one of the goals of MFL is to provide a venue for some wider exposure for the legislators and the work they do. Now, I know the MFL managers are scouring the waiver wire and the newspapers (and radio news Web sites, I hope) looking for any advantage, especially early.

No bills were filed yesterday; a great disappointment to those of us who were standing by ready to award the first points of the season, and get an indication of who the prolific bill filers will be.

I think there's gold in them there waiver lists. Why? Because there are a lot of potential rookies in there who come into the Legislature with a new atittude. Oh, sure, we hear bipartisanship thrown about like loose change every year. But early indications are this year might be different. Sen. Larry Pogemiller (Downtowners, Caucus-O-Rama) appointing Sen. Dennis Frederickson (Quorum of Six, St. Pauliticos) as Senate president pro tem seems to indicate that. So rookies this year might be more effective for a number of reasons (1) there's a lot of them and (2) they might just be an emerging force and unlikely to demur as rookie legislators tend to do. Afterall, there's an election just two years away!

I hope we can learn about these legislators along the way. This morning, Cathy Wurzer on Morning Edition interviewed one -- Rep. Kate Knuth, DFL-New Brighton (St. Pauliticos,Chambercation). She's one of the few rookies drafted in both leagues. She said she's not interested in being written off, and intends to work particularly with the suburban women in the Legislature. She, apparently, knows how to get things done as her dad was a legislator.

Another rookie, is Rep. Marsha Swails, DFL-Woodbury (Legiliscious). She went undrafted in the Gold League and the rumor bill has her being waived this week in the Maroon League. Disclaimer: I've never met Marsha Swails but my wife is a big fan and I'm a big fan of my wife. So make of that what you will.

Why could Swails be another successful rookie? Check out her committee assignments (Votetracker)(Memo to self: Update committee assignments on Votetracker!). She not only was put on the House Ways and Means Committee, she was made vice chair of Ways and Means. That should tell you something. She's unlikely to be a shrinking violet.

She's also unlikely to be heavily partisan, which could lead to greater success getting legislation passed -- and points accumulated. First, she's from "A Republican district," to quote Rep. Matt Dean (People First, in a comment on Polinaut some weeks ago. She also grew up a Republican, as I understand it, and ran a campaign in District 56B that stressed the ability to work across the aisle.

Swails is a teacher at Woodbury High School; that could tap into the emphasis on K-12, expected to be in play during this session. (My son went to WHS and remembers Swails with fondness because a classmate of his committed suicide last year. The school was closed -- I think for vacation -- the next day, but Swails opened it up and invited the kids to come in and write notes about their classmate for the family. Nice. ) She's on the K-12 education committee,and also is on the Housing Policy and Finance and Public Health Finance Division. With AG Lori Swanson's emphasis on some consumer protections, her spot on the Labor and Consumer Protection Division could also be, well, spot on.

My wife stopped by her reception at the Capitol yesterday and -- I don't think I'm talking out of turn -- learned that she doesn't have a legislative aide yet (did you know reps don't get to hire their own legislative aide's? Me neither). That could slow her down early.