Former Minnesota House Speaker Steve Sviggum will be spokesman for the Minnesota Senate Caucus.
He starts his new job on Tuesday, Jan. 17. In the position, Sviggum will also serve as executive assistant to the caucus.
Sviggum will keep his position on the University of Minnesota's Board of Regents through the end of his six-year term. He was elected to the position in 2011.
The caucus lost its top spokesman, Michael Brodkorb, late last year. Brodkorb was fired a day after his boss, former Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch, stepped down from her leadership position amid allegations of an inappropriate relationship with a staffer.
Here's the press release:
The Senate Republican Caucus announced Monday that former Speaker of the Minnesota House of Representatives Steve Sviggum will officially serve as Executive Assistant to the Majority Caucus and as caucus Communications Director.
Senate Majority Leader David Senjem (R-Rochester) announced the appointment today as the Senate prepares for the 2012 legislative session to begin next week. Sen. Senjem stated, "Speaker Sviggum served with credibility and honor for many years. His experience and leadership is unparalleled, and he will be an invaluable asset to the Minnesota Senate Republican Caucus. This unique opportunity gives us the ability to capitalize on Steve's experience, knowledge of the press, successful decision making skills, and relationships he has created over many years of service."
"The Senate Republican Caucus is a governing body that is managing Minnesota very well," Mr. Sviggum commented after the appointment. "They have helped take Minnesota from an over $5 billion budget deficit to a significant surplus. That's good news for Minnesota and Minnesotans. The Senate Republican majority is definitely moving our state in the right direction; this is an exciting opportunity."
Steve Sviggum was first elected to the Minnesota House of Representatives in 1978, and served as Minority Leader from 1993 to 1999 and as Speaker from 1999 to 2007. In 2007, he was appointed by Gov. Tim Pawlenty to serve as Commissioner of Labor and Industry. In December 2010, he was appointed to serve as Commissioner of the Minnesota Management and Budget Office, where he served until Gov. Pawlenty left office in January 2011. Mr. Sviggum is currently a member of the University of Minnesota's Board of Regents, where he will continue to serve his six year term.
Majority Leader Senjem added, "We will begin the session next week with a continued focus on prudent decision making concerning the state budget and fiscal situation. That, coupled with job growth, government redesign, and accountability to the citizens, will be the themes of this legislative session. It's our desire that the legislature adjourn before the May deadline, with the best interests of Minnesotans having been in the hearts and minds of every decision-maker at the capitol."
It never ceases to amaze me when folks like Mr. Sviggum (and his new employers) have railed against government while continuing to draw paychecks and benefits from it.
As to his position on the U of M Board of Regents alongside his new job with the Senate Republicans, I am of the opinion that he gets one or the other. Not both. The words "conflict of interest" come to mind.
Creating Jobs is supposedly the number one concern for the MN-GOP and instead of hiring someone that doesn't have a job, they give it to an old buddy. Great. And he already has one taxpayer-paid job ! Let me say it again, Great.
And there is not a concern about conflict of interest ? Yep, Great.
Seriously, has anyone asked what the salary of this spokesman will be ?
It was reported that the previous individual was paid in excess of $90,000 ... and unless something has changed, the Lieutenant Governor is paid $78,197 and most legislators are paid less than $35,000.
How much are the taxpayers paying to hear Republican spin ?
I just saw that the Strib has reported that he will be paid $102,000 a year ...
As Commissioner of the state Department of Labor and Industry, he must have a budget and people working for him and a mission ... pay $108,393 (at the virtual top of what can be paid) ... but we Taxpayers are paying this guy $102,000 to hear spin.
What do the TaxEnoughAlready folks feel about paying somebody to hear Republican spin ?
How can this not be conflict of interest? Where does he find the time to do both jobs effectively?
Quit double dipping the system.