The region's newest lawmakers get ready for their new jobs

On Friday, Paul Anderson and Andrew Falk will head to the Capitol to receive their first training session on how business is conducted in the House of Representatives.

On Friday, Paul Anderson and Andrew Falk will head to the Capitol to receive their first training session on how business is conducted in the House of Representatives.

The two men were elected last week as freshmen legislators to fill open House seats in their districts.

The Friday event will be an opportunity for the freshmen to visit the House floor and meet non-partisan staff that will help them write, research and revise legislation. It's a day for people to "get to know each other," said Andrew Wittenborg, director of communications for House leadership.

Falk, a DFL'er from Murdock, represents District 20A.

He said he has been to Capitol in the past to testify on bills and was there last week when the DFL caucus met to select their leaders.


"We're already setting the groundwork to get to work," said Falk, who defeated Mike Bredeck, a Republican from Madison, in a tight race for the post that had been held by retired Rep. Aaron Peterson.

The logistics of getting housing, getting assigned and office staff all needs to be put in place "to be ready to work on day one," Falk said. "It's an exciting new opportunity."

After the hubbub of a busy campaign and tying up "loose ends" on his family's farm, seed business and his own renewable energy business, Falk said he's now looking forward to working "for the interests of people" and finding solutions to the state's problems.

Falk said he hopes the state can create policies that will "work in tandem" with policies president-elect Obama intends to implement on the federal level.

Anderson, R-Starbuck, will convene with the rest of his caucus on Saturday to select a minority leader. Anderson said he intends to vote for Marty Seifert, R-Marshall, who is seeking another term in the leadership position.

"He's a good man," said Anderson, who benefited from Seifert's campaign advice in defeating DFL'er Bruce Shuck for the District 13A seat. That seat had been held by Bud Heidgerken, R-Freeport. Heidgerken retired this year.

Other than getting his 500-plus campaign signs removed, Anderson hasn't had a lot of time to think about being a freshman legislator. During yet another wet day on Tuesday, Anderson said he was struggling to get the last of his corn crop harvested and fields tilled.

"I really haven't had a lot of time to take a break," he said. "The weather isn't cooperating."


Anderson said he's looking forward to learning more about the procedures of being a legislature. "It's going to be a unique experience," he said. "I'm anxious to get out there and start learning."

Both Anderson and Falk will be involved with additional orientation sessions and retreats before they're sworn into office. As a member of the minority party, Anderson said he'll be working with people "on the other side of the aisle" to get legislation passed.

Falk said he's eager to find out what committees he'll be assigned to and hopes his expertise in energy and agriculture will be put to use. As a freshman, he said, "I'll keep an open mind and work where I'm placed."

The legislative session begins Jan. 6.

Carolyn Lange is a features writer at the West Central Tribune. She can be reached at or 320-894-9750
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