Minnesota Senate Republicans have selected former Minnesota House Speaker Steve Sviggum as the caucus’ new executive assistant and communication chief.

“Speaker Sviggum served with credibility and honor for many years,” said Senate Majority Leader David Senjem, R-Rochester. “His experience and leadership is unparalleled, and he will be an invaluable asset to the Minnesota Senate Republican Caucus. This unique opportunity gives us the ability to capitalize on Steve’s experience, knowledge of the press, successful decision making skills, and relationships he has created over many years of service.”

Sviggum is a stark change from the sometimes combative Michael Brodkorb, a seasoned GOP operative who was fired from his post last month after his boss, Sen. Amy Koch of Buffalo, abruptly stepped down as majority leader after admitting to an inappropriate relationship with a male staffer.

Sviggum is widely seen as a collegial, folksy deal-maker who managed to hold together an often unruly House GOP caucus for eight years.

After leaving the most powerful position in the House, former Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty tapped Sviggum to become Minnesota Commissioner of Labor and Industry. He also briefly served as Minnesota Management and Budget commissioner in the waning weeks of Pawlenty’s term.

Sviggum credits Senate Republicans for “managing Minnesota very well,” including helping to wipe out a $5 billion deficit last year.

“The Senate Republican majority is definitely moving our state in the right direction; this is an exciting opportunity,” said Sviggum, who is a member of the University of Minnesota’s Board of Regents and will continue to serve his six-year term.

Senjem said Sviggum will help Senate Republicans continue their focus on having an orderly legislative session and bringing a new sense of stability.

“We will begin the session next week with a continued focus on prudent decision making concerning the state budget and fiscal situation,” Senjem said. “That, coupled with job growth, government redesign, and accountability to the citizens, will be the themes of this legislative session.”

Sviggum will begin his new position Tuesday.

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