ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP) - Republicans took control of the Minnesota State Senate on Election Night, and on Thursday they elected their new majority leader. Sen. Paul Gazelka of Nisswa was elected by Senate Republicans to lead their new majority heading into the 2017 legislative session.
This is the first time in Minnesota history that Republicans will hold the majority in the Senate for a four-year term.
“I hope you see that we are 34 strong Republicans in the Senate,” Sen. Gazelka said. “I will tell you that the Democrats have 33 in the Senate, so we’re going to have to find a way to work together at some level. We’re going to work with the governor, we’re going to work with the House, and we’re going to do good things for Minnesota.”
Gazelka is third-term senator from District 9, which covers parts of Cass, Morrison, Tood, and Wadena counties. He has served as assistant leader since 2014, the lead Republican on the commerce committee since 2012, and had a seat on the tax conference committee in 2016.
Gazelka said the Republican agenda for the 2017 session with include reduced government spending, tax relief and reduced healthcare costs.
Sen. Michelle Fischbach of Paynesville was elected the next Senate President. She represents District 13, which includes Benton and Stearns County. Fischbach previously held the gavel as Senate President during the 2011-12 session, when she was the first woman to hold the position.
Former Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk was elected minority leader of the Senate DFL Caucus.