By Sarah Clarke
MSCSA Director of Government Relations
With the new biennium upon us, MSCSA will be working with new higher education committees at the Minnesota Legislature. The Senate Higher Education and Workforce Committee is chaired by Senator Terri Bonoff, a DFLer who represents District 44, which consists of Minnetonka, Woodland, and parts of Plymouth. Newly elected Greg Clausen is the Committee Vice Chair. Senator Clausen, from Senate District 57 which is comprised of Apple Valley and parts of Rosemount. Before serving in the legislature, Senator Clausen was the principal at Rosemount High School. The Minority Lead on the Committee is Senator Jeremy Miller from Winona. Senator Miller is a graduate of Minnesota State College-Southeast Technical. Senator Miller was the Vice Chair of the Committee during the previous biennium. Returning to the committee from the last legislative session are Senator Kathy Sheran (DFL- Mankato), Senator Tony Lourey (DFL-Cloquet) and Senator Michelle Fischbach, the Chair of the 2011-2012 Higher Education Committee and a Republican from St. Cloud. Kent Eken (DFL-Moorhead), Susan Kent (DFL-Woodbury), Julianne Ortman (R-Chanhassen), Branden Petersen (R-Andover), Eric Pratt (R-Prior Lake), Dan Sparks (DFL-Austin), and Patricia Torres Ray (DFL-Minneapolis) are new members to the Senate Committee. The Senate Committee convenes on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 3:00 p.m. in room 123 at the Capitol.
Representative Gene Pelowski (DFL-Winona) is the chair of the House Higher Education Finance and Policy Committee. Representative Pelowski chaired the Higher Education Finance Division Committee during the 1997-1998 biennium and is a graduate of Winona State University. First term Representative Zach Dorholt is the Vice Chair of the Committee. Representative Dorholt’s district contains both St. Cloud State University and Saint Cloud Technical and Community College. The Minority Lead is Representative Bud Nornes. Representative Nornes chaired the Higher Education committee last biennium. Riverland Community College staff member Jeanne Poppe, a DFLer from Austin, is returning to the committee. Representative Lyndon Carlson (DFL-Crystal) is serving as an ex-officio member of the Committee. Kathy Brynaert (DFL-Mankato), David FitzSimmons (R-Albertville), Mary Franson (R-Alexandria), Glenn Gruenhagen (R-New Prague), Sheldon Johnson (DFL-St. Paul), Ben Lien (DFL-Moorhead), Kathy Lohmer (R-Stillwater), Kim Norton (DFL-Rochester), Paul Rosenthal (DFL-Edina), Chris Swezinski (R-Ghent), and Ryan Winkler (DFL-Golden Valley) are new members of the Committee. The House Committee meets Monday and Wednesday at 12:30 p.m. in room 5 of the State Office Building.