The new Republicans leaders of the Minnesota House and Senate responded to today’s announcement that Governor-elect Mark Dayton selected Jim Schowalter as his commissioner of the Minnesota Management and Budget department.
But the news releases from House Speaker Kurt Zellers, R-Maple Grove, and Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch, R-Buffalo, had sharply different tones.
Zellers offered a positive statement and complimented the choice.
“I think Jim is an outstanding choice to lead the agency,” Zellers wrote. “There may not be anyone in the state who knows the complexities of the budget any better than he does. He’s always been someone who both sides of the aisle can work with and trust. I look forward to working with him.”
Koch issued a statement that didn’t mention Schowalter by name or comment on his qualifications. Koch instead repeated a point she made yesterday to reporters about the overall pace of the Dayton cabinet appointments.
“The Senate Republican Majority Caucus is prepared to lead as we convene the 2011 Legislative Session on Tuesday, January 4,” Koch wrote. “I am pleased that Governor-elect Dayton has appointed a commissioner for the office of Minnesota Management and Budget, but the lack of appointments to oversee the largest areas of the state budget remains a concern. It is imperative that our committee chairs are able to connect with these incoming commissioners to ensure solid starting point for our new legislative majority and their new executive team. The Minnesota Senate will thoroughly review each of Governor-elect Dayton’s appointments based upon their merit, skill set and qualifications. We are committed to a fair, open and transparent confirmation process, which is the appropriate place to vet and review concerns that an appointee may or may not have in their background, or current profession.”