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< Why legislators don't matter | Main | My new favorite bill >

Legislator Awards: Your turn!

Posted at 9:05 PM on May 16, 2007 by Bob Collins (8 Comments)

I was originally going to ask Julia to put a form together for you to submit your choices for MFL awards. But since I want to know what everyone thinks, a form to submit isn't the way to do that. You commenting to this post is the best way to do it.

Here are the categories:

*Most Valuable Player - House
*Most Valuable Player - Senate
*Unsung hero (Most underrated) - House
*Unsung hero (Most underrated) - Senate
*Most overrated - House
*Most overrated - Senate
*Most entertaining - House
*Most entertaining - Senate
*Biggest surprise of the session (this could be anything) - House
*Biggest surprise of the session (this could be anything) - Senate
* Rookie of the year - Republicans
* Rookie of the year - DFL

I've been thinking about these and here are a couple I'll offer. I'll add more later in comments as they come to me.

* Most entertaining (Senate) - Sen. Jim Metzen. Watching him perform each day as Senate president is a real treat. He has a great sense of humor, doesn't seem to take himself too seriously, and there are few committee chairs that can hold your interest the way he can as chair of the jobs committee. It's even more fun watching a Senate session when he doesn't know the mic is "hot"

* Most entertaining (House) - Rep. Mark Buesgens. I can't do impersonations, but I think I've perfected Buesgens, especially when he asks Rep. Bud Heidgerken if he'll yield. Buesgens doesn't have many points in the MFL, but he's been the conscience of conservatives for floor debate, and he reminded me of how undervalued Floor Session Palooza is, because the loyal opposition is vital to good government. His debelief at some of the DFL bills usually includes a word of the day. This week I heard him utter "dadgum." I think he's too young to be saying "dadgum." But he says it and I don't think he's faking it. He also picks up the Matt Entenza Award for most times saying, "it's a sad day in Minnesota."

* Rookie of the year - Republicans. I have been impressed with Rep. Steve Gottwalt. He may be, I think, the most consistently articulate speaker in the House. He makes extremely lucid arguments that make you reconsider your position if you disagreed with him in the first place. Seems to be well-liked. There was one debate where his colleagues played some sort of practical joke on him. I think they taped his microphone in the "off" position. I didn't hear a personal slam from him all session. Good addition to the House.

*MVP - Senate. Ann Rest. Only Linda Berglin, I think, gives Rest a run for her money. Rest has been the very embodiment of political power. Seven of her bills have already been signed by the governor. Tackles a lot of -- if you ask me -- boring and technical issues, the kind of things that keep things moving in the state. I wish she'd smile more often, though.

Most overrated - Senate. It's hard to be rated at all when you're a Republican in the Senate, but I think Dick Day came close this year. I've always enjoyed Day's floor speeches and he seems like a nice guy, but this year he seemed disinterested in putting up much of a fight.

Most underrated - Senate. Sen. Paul Koering. Oh, did you pick him to not only be the top Republican points guy in the Senate and crack the top 15 in the Power Rankings? Me neither. Check out his Votetracker. That's a pragmatist at work. He had a solid session. Rock solid.

Comments (8)

Here are my impressions on a first pass...

*Most Valuable Player - House Frank Moe R Who besides the Beavers saw him coming?
*Most Valuable Player – Senate Steve Dille R – A great trade pickup
*Unsung hero (Most underrated) – House Rep. David Bly, not drafted in either league and ends 5th in overall points
*Unsung hero (Most underrated) – Senate Linda Scheid Kudos to this fantastic legislator! A slow start, fighting an incurable cancer diagnosis, and she ends 4th in overall points. Simply amazing.
*Most overrated – House Steve Sviggum lackluster effort from the former Speaker
*Most overrated – Senate Dick Day like Sviggum, you got to be disappointed with the former minority leader.
*Most entertaining - I'm afraid I didn't watch much of the procedings...
*Biggest surprise of the session (this could be anything) - I want to reflect on this some more
* Rookie of the year – DFL Rep. Kalin has been impressive this year. He’s blogging and making points.

Posted by gml4 | May 17, 2007 12:07 AM

Oh man... the Redress have closed to within a couple hundred points of the leaders in Gold! C'mon Sen. Olseen... make some noise!

(Bob notes: Minnetonkas run has been a classic. It is now a three team race)

Posted by gml4 | May 17, 2007 4:52 PM

Hey Bob- I'm shadowing a Rep tomorrow at the Capitol to get a first hand look at how things go down at the end of a session.

I would enjoy to meet my commissioner if you are free a minute. I'll keep my eye out for you! I'll be the young one with the lap top that looks incredibly lost.

I'll try to give all of my fellow MFLers the inside scoop!

Posted by Jen | May 17, 2007 10:42 PM

Which rep are you shadowing. I saw a group introduced in the House gallery this morning, was that your group?

Unfortunately -- or fortunately as the case may be -- I don't work at the Capitol...but in a cubicle high (3 floors) above Cedar and West Seventh Streets.


Posted by Bob Collins | May 18, 2007 11:58 AM

My nominations:

*Most Valuable Player - House:
The one from the Minority Party that will cast the deciding veto over ride vote on the Transportation Bill.

*Most Valuable Player - Senate:
The one from the Majority Party that gets the governor to sign the bills he hasn't signed yet.

*Unsung hero (Most underrated) - House:
Rep. Shelley Madore for sponsoring bills for the Disability Community.
*Unsung hero (Most underrated) - Senate:
Senator Linda Berglin for championing the necessary funding for Health and Human Services.

*Most overrated - House: Concur on Steve Sviggum
*Most overrated - Senate: Cconcur on Dick Day

*Biggest surprise of the session (this could be anything) :
Governor vetoing so many bills, especially SF1997 on 'Military Voting Bill' when the Pentagon recommended the changes to improve ease of voting for military personnel using absentee ballots. Doing the veto just days before Armed Forces Day, when we honor the women and men of the military, was particularly rude and insulting for the 'Commander-in-Chief' of the Minnesota National Guard.

* Rookie of the year - House: Rep. Al Doty studied legislation very thoroughly, attended hearings of some committees that he wasn't a member of, and visited special displays and events in the Capitol rotunda during his lunch break.

* Rookie of the year - Senate: Senator Sharon Ropes Erickson served as Committee Vice Chair, was accessible to constituents and groups, visited places and people associated with her committees, and sponsored over 100 bills.

Posted by Nancy G | May 18, 2007 10:05 PM

I thought Mike had nominated Rep. Tom Rukavina as most entertaining, but can't find his nominations now . . .

Anyway, the 10PM news last night showed the legislators having a little fun in their weekend marathon. Sen. Tom Bakk was crowned king at his committee meeting with a large red velvet crown, and it looked like Rukavina was the 'page' that carried in the crown on a large pillow.

That should be worth a few creativity points in addition to entertainment.

Posted by Nancy G | May 21, 2007 8:39 AM

Most Valuable Player – House Rep. Frank Moe, DFL and Rep. Abeler GOP

*Most Valuable Player – Senate:Senator Tarryl Clark

*Unsung hero (Most underrated) – House Al Mathiowetz Chief Clerk of the House

*Unsung hero (Most underrated) – Senate: Metzen

*Most overrated – House Rep. Emmer

*Most overrated – Senate: Dick Day

*Most entertaining – Rep. Tom Rukavina

*Most entertaining – Senate Keith Langseth – says it as he sees it

*Biggest surprise of the session (this could be anything) – House Margaret Anderson Kelliher – she is grace and humor under fire! She’s doing a fantastic job, and isn’t sarcastic or condescending of the opposition. Very impressive.

*Biggest surprise of the session (this could be anything) – Senate Their first education bill and their reasoning, silly and risky games

* Rookie of the year – Republicans ??
* Rookie of the year –Ken Tschumper

Posted by McCrory | May 21, 2007 11:41 AM

Most Valuable Player – Gotta be Rep. Abeler. He didn't pass many bills himself, but is great at hookey-bobbing on the bumper of great chief authors.

*Unsung hero (Most underrated) – House: Rep. Rick Hansen hands down. Capitol insiders will tell you that Hansen brings extraordinary intellectual muscle and political acuity to the House DFL's enviro successes. He's definitely one to watch.

*Unsung hero (Most underrated) – Senate: Sen. Neuville. Though in the minority, Neuville is widely respected on both sides of the aisle and has an unheard of impact for a member of the minority caucus. Wacth out if for this guy if the Senate Republicans ever take control.

*Most overrated – House: Rep. Emmer

*Most overrated – Senate: Too hard to determine.

*Most entertaining – House: Rep. Tom Rukavina. No doubt. Nobody comes close to Rep. Atkins in committee, though. Atkins tends to play it straight on the floor.

*Most entertaining – Senate: Sen. Metzen. Well-liked by both sides, Metzen has a gift for bringing the temperature down and bringing folks together.

*Biggest surprise of the session (this could be anything) – House: Finally calling the governor's bluff and sending him bills without an assurance of passage at the end of session, in spite of badly wanting to get done on time.

*Biggest surprise of the session (this could be anything) – Senate: Sticking in the final Tax Bill the requirement that the State take inflation into account in the state budget forecast.

* Rookie of the year – Republican: Are there any? Rep. Berns has been strong. And he doesn't have the reputation of talking too much and being an expert on everything like another member of his class who is like a Jack-in-the-box.

* Rookie of the year – Democrat: Rep. Anzelc. Wow, he's good. Talk about hitting the ground running. He's already got the presence and sense of a senior member. With his prior experience at the Capitol, this guy's definitely one to watch.

Already in the same category is Rep. Shelley Madore. Don't judge her based on floor time. She's quietly productive behind the scenes, respected by all, and gets as much done as any legislator.

Posted by The Patriot | May 21, 2007 8:40 PM