Hotdish Politics: Moving day shuffle is about to hit the Capitol

  • Updated: November 17, 2012 - 3:57 PM
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DFL Senator John Marty says it's healthy for legislators to move once in awhile.

After Election Day comes moving day.

All 201 members of the Minnesota Legislature are packing their boxes right now. Some -- the ones who retired and the ones who lost -- are moving out. The rest are moving up, moving down and moving over, as DFLers and Republicans swap majorities and offices.

The activity comes as the DFL has regained control of the House and the Senate, two years after the GOP captured both chambers.

A legislative majority comes with perks, including office space. In the House, the majority occupies offices on floors higher in the State Office Building than the minority. In the Senate, the majority and the minority occupy different buildings.

"The joke was that we didn't fully unpack, because we weren't going to be here long," said first-term Sen. Kari Dziedzic, DFL-Minneapolis, who has never known any offices besides the minority quarters in the State Office Building.

Starting Nov. 26, she and the other DFLers will begin the painstaking process of relocating to the Capitol building while their GOP colleagues move into their former space. Some, like Dziedzic, who was elected last January, don't have much to pack. Others are crating up everything from decorative firearms to taxidermy.

"It's an interesting snapshot of life in the Capitol," said Sen. John Marty, DFL-Roseville, veteran of at least half a dozen office moves in his 26 years in the Senate. "You pick everything up, you put all the files in boxes you move to another office. It's healthy.

"The people I really pity are the sergeant at arms in the Senate and the House who have to do the moving," he added. "I can't move to my old office until someone's out of their new office, and if that person is moving to a new office, they can't move until somebody moves out of it. There's sort of this domino effect."

A moving company will take care of the boxes and furniture. It's up to the members themselves to move fragile items like a moose head through the tunnel that links their old offices to the Capitol.

The new occupants of the office, meanwhile, will be left to figure out what to do with the crater in the wall where a moose head used to hang. Marty and his staff shoved a book case in front of theirs.

For now, DFLers and Republicans are prowling each other's office spaces, eyeing their potential office moves.

These moves can be disruptive, even traumatic, for the lawmakers who lose power. But members say it's also a good way to stay flexible and keep your office clutter under control. As they size up their new space, some look for offices with a good view, or a quick commute to their morning committee hearings, or offices with friends nearby.

Marty's current office has two windows, but he says he's more interested in the work he'll be doing next session and the colleagues he'll be working with than what his new office will look like, or what it might overlook.

"Frankly," he said. "I'm not here for the view."

  • Tweet of the week

    Conservative blogger Andy Aplikowski (@AAARF) on Thursday: "Show me a Republican willing to take advice on what went wrong from a Democrat and I'll show you an idiot."

    The week ahead

    It will be quiet this week at the State Capitol because of the Thanksgiving holiday. The Autism Spectrum Disorder Task Force is to meet at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday in Room 123, State Capitol.

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