Posted at 12:04 PM on June 27, 2009
by Tom Scheck
A source says newly elected GOP House Minority Leader Kurt Zellers has added Rep. Rod Hamilton of Mountain Lake to a leadership position in the caucus. Hamilton was appointed as an Assistant Minority Leader. I'm told he's not replacing anyone but is an addition to the four Assistant Minority Leaders currently serving. The move is a signal that the House GOP is continuing to seek a balance between metro/suburban leadership posts with rural ones.
Zellers notified members and staff in an e-mail. Here's what he said about Hamilton:
"Rod is a principled and common sense man whose life experiences give him great perspective and as we all witnessed last session - some very impacting and heartfelt floor speeches. He's a great addition to our current leadership team, I hope you will all give him your support."
The other interesting nugget is that House Republicans appear to be past the 2008 override vote of Governor Pawlenty's veto of the transportation bill. Hamilton was one of the "override six" that lost his leadership position after that vote.
You can check the House GOP Caucus Stucture here (Note that link is dated since Zellers has replaced Marty Seifert at the top of the pyramid).
This must have been an aftersight, indeed, since the House's page was updated to reflect Zeller's new leadership post by Friday (A screen shot is being posted to my blog, since one imagines that this will be updated on Monday with the new appointment).
What's the date on the email Zellers sent out? I'm curious when the caucus noted its suburban-heavy top leadership, since both Zellers and Smith are from the Third.
Isn't that the sort of thing that the Republicans criticize DFL leadership for?
Also, are assistant leaders always appointed in the GOP House Caucus? It's my understanding that the DFL Caucus elects all its leadership.
Zellers sent out the e-mail on Saturday. The House GOP does elect their assistants, etc. but they agreed to add Hamilton to the list without bumping any of the others. I was told by a few folks that this was an attempt to ease concern about a suburban heavy presence in leadership.
That's interesting. I wonder when the decision to create the new leadership post was made.
A look through Nexis shows that while new appointments to Republican House leadership are usually announced three to four days following the election of a new leader, leadership appointments have been announced via a caucus press release and/or appear in press sources.
Moreover, articles and press releases indicate that some of the leadership has been selected by the caucus leader, while others are elected.
That this announcement was sent out to caucus members via email on a Saturday suggests that the decision was finalized too late in the week for the Republican House Caucus staff to issue a press release and too late to notify the state employees who update the House's own leadership page. It includes names of caucus leaders in both parties, and Zellers' name had replaced Seiferts sometime this week.
I'm really curious about what sort of discussion took place among Republicans that made this decision necessary.
Three Asst. Leader positions are elected by the caucus membership and one is appointed by the Minority Leader in the weeks following a November election. In this instance, with a new Minority Leader being selected mid-term, members felt he or she should be given the same opportunity to appoint an Asst. Leader. There is no imposed time table for such decisions. We'll get the rest of the stuff updated soon.