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Contributors in Minnesota: Patrick Condon, J. Patrick Coolican, Patricia Lopez, Ricardo Lopez, Abby Simons, Rachel E. Stassen-Berger and Glen Stubbe. Contributors in D.C.: Allison Sherry and Jim Spencer.

Dayton MMB and higher ed commissioners confirmed

Posted by: Rachel E. Stassen-Berger under Minnesota governor, Gov. Mark Dayton, Minnesota state senators, Democrats, Republicans Updated: January 24, 2013 - 12:23 PM

The DFL-controlled Minnesota Senate isn't wasting any time giving Gov. Mark Dayton's commissioners job security.

On Thursday, the Senate quickly confirmed Minnesota Management and Budget commissioner Jim Schowalter and Higher Education Office commissioner Larry Pogemiller. The discussion on the Senate floor for the two, both long-time Capitol fixtures, took just a few minutes and were handled on voice votes. While there was at least one "no" vote for Pogemiller, a former DFL Senate Majority Leader, his approval met with bipartisan plaudits.

"Sometimes your adversary becomes your friend," Rochester Sen. Dave Senjen, a former Republican Majority Leader.

Schowalter and Pogemiller's confirmation will soon be quickly followed by confirmation of other Dayton picks. Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman, Transportation Commissioner Charles Zelle, Human Services Commissioner Lucinda Jesson and Health Commissioner Edward Ehlinger should all be teed up for full Senate confirmation by the end of the next week.

Commissioners can serve the state without being confirmed but must leave if the Senate votes against them.

Last year, when Republicans were in charge, the Senate ousted Public Utilities Commissioner Ellen Anderson, a former DFL Senator. Then Senate leader Senjem also said that Ehlinger and then Pollution Control Agency commissioner Paul Aasen were on a confirmation "watch list." The full Senate never voted on their confirmation.

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