Gimse pleased with Senate caucus and leadership
ST. PAUL -- Sen.-elect Joe Gimse got his first taste of the post-election politics on Friday. The Willmar Republican, who narrowly defeated long-time incumbent Sen. Dean Johnson on Tuesday, participated in his first party caucus in St. Paul on Fr...
ST. PAUL -- Sen.-elect Joe Gimse got his first taste of the post-election politics on Friday.
The Willmar Republican, who narrowly defeated long-time incumbent Sen. Dean Johnson on Tuesday, participated in his first party caucus in St. Paul on Friday.
"It was a good day of getting to know people in the caucus," said Gimse. "I was there to listen and get up to speed and get to know my colleagues."
Republicans hold 23 seats in the Senate. The DFL holds 44 seats.
Gimse was one of two new Republicans elected to the Minnesota Senate this week.
After being introduced to the other members, Gimse said the group held a round-table discussion on "where we're going as a caucus."
They also elected Dave Senjem, of Rochester, as the new Senate minority leader. Dick Day, of Owatonna, did not seek re-election by his party to the position.
Four assistant leaders were also selected, including Michelle Fischbach, of Paynesville, Betsy Wergin of Princeton, Geoff Michel, of St. Paul and David Hann of of Eden Prairie.
The combination of urban and rural legislators creates a good balance and even representation for the state, he said.
Gimse said he is "pretty impressed" with the caucus and slate of top leaders, which he said is a "good, cohesive group" that will "work hard to do the right thing."
When asked about working with Senate Majority Leader Larry Pogemiller and the DFL caucus, Gimse said the Republican Senators agreed to "reach out their hand to them and do the best we can to work in a bipartisan way."
The caucus leaders are expected to announce committee assignments by the first part of December. Even though Day is no longer the minority leader, Gimse said he is still optimistic he will be assigned to committees he has his eye on: transportation, transportation finance and agriculture/veterans/gaming.
He said his friendship with Fischbach and Day's promise to lobby for him, has given him confidence in the committee assignments. "I'm looking forward to the time ahead and learning and rolling up my sleeves and getting after it."
As part of the get-to-know-each-other day where the members shared information about themselves, Gimse said he told the group that he is "a person who tempers my passion with thoughtfulness," and that he would look for that same kind of response from the party leadership.