A bachelor hobby farmer and former car salesman is stepping into the top spot in the Minnesota House.
Members of the House Republican caucus elected Rep. Kurt Daudt to be their new speaker when state lawmakers reconvene in January. The Star Tribune reports Daudt, who represents Isanti County, was chosen over two of his colleagues during a five hour meeting Friday.
Daudt then proclaimed "It is the greatest honor of my life to be elected to be the next speaker of the Minnesota House of Representatives."
The Associated Press provides some background on Daudt, including these tidbits:
- The 41-year-old lives on a 62-acre hobby farm east of Zimmerman that was his grandparents' homestead in the 1930s.
- His first elected office was a seat on the Stanford Township Board, after which he was elected an Isanti County Commissioner, then a state Representative in 2010.
- Formerly in auto sales, Daudt remains a car buff and is currently fixing up a pair of vintage Ford Broncos.
The Star Tribune says Daudt, who has been the Minority Leader, played a key role in Republicans regaining control of the House in this week's election by recruiting candidates, raising money, and campaigning.
Session Daily notes that as speaker Daudt will appoint committee chairs, rule on parliamentary motions, and sign legislation.
Republicans also elected Rep. Joyce Peppin of Rogers to be the new Majority Leader.
Of the 11 seats Republicans gained in Tuesday's election, 10 are outside the Twin Cities area. MPR News reports Peppin asserted that the new leadership in the House would pay more attention to rural Minnesota, saying "Our goal is to represent all of the people of Minnesota. We’re not going to leave Greater Minnesota behind as has been done the last couple of years.”
Leadership assignments for 2015 are also in the works at the U.S. Capitol. Republicans, who now control both chambers of Congress, have party-imposed term limits on committee chairmanships. The AP reports Minnesota Rep. John Kline hopes to stay on as chairman of the House Education and Workforce Committee, but may need a waiver from House leaders to do that.