Meet the new Senate majority, vol. 5

Newman.jpgSenator-elect Scott Newman, R-Hutchinson, District 18

Election: Defeated DFL candidate Hal Kimball for seat vacated by Sen. Steve Dille, R-Dassel

Family: Married, three children

Occupation: Attorney

Education: BA, Minnesota State University; JD, William Mitchell College of Law

Newman is a former state representative who ran unscuccessfully for district judge in 2006. Newman is opposed to a proposed judical appointment process that would take judges off the ballot.

“I strongly favor judical elections rather than an appointment system,” Newman said. “I wanted to bring that issue to the attention of voters.”

Nienow.jpgSenator-elect Sean R. Nienow, R-Cambridge, District 17

Election: Defeated incumbent Sen. Rick Olseen, DFL-Harris

Family: Married

Occupation: Consultant

Education: Attended, Northwestern College

This will be Nienow’s second, non-consecutive term. He was previously elected in 2002. Neinow said he’s returning to a budget mess similar to the one he faced in his first term.

“We had these same kinds of problems,” Nienow said. “We had huge deficits. The education funding shifts had been done. There was nothing in cash reserves to speak of. We’re right back where we started from, just a little deeper in the hole.”

Pederson.jpgSenator-elect John Pederson, R-St. Cloud, District 15

Election: Defeated DFL candidate Bruce Hentges for seat vacated by Sen. Tarryl Clark, DFL-St. Cloud

Family: Married, three children

Occupation: Business owner

Education: MBA, Cardinal Stritch University; BA, Northwestern College

Pederson owns a concrete block company. He comes to the Senate via the St. Cloud city council. Pederson is ready to reduce state spending, and he said no department is sacred.

“There’s not an area that in my view that should not be prepared to do what they did last year with the same amount of money,” Pederson said. “It’s not anything that the Private sector isn’t dealing with right now.”

Thompson.jpgSenator-elect Dave Thompson, R-Lakeville, District 36

Election: Defeated DFL candidate Steve Quist for seat vacated by Sen. Pat Pariseau, R-Farmington

Family: Married, two children

Occupation: Attorney, consultant

Education: BA, Univeristy of North Dakota; JD, University of Minnesota

Thompson is a former radio talk show host. He made an unsuccessful bid for state GOP chairman in 2009. Thompson said his interests include economic and spending issues, but he also said he knows he has a lot to learn.

“I want to understand the institution, understand my colleagues, understand how how the institution works, including working with the governor,” Thompson said. “I just need to learn to be a good, effective legislator.”

Wolf.jpgSenator-elect Pam Wolf, R-Spring Lake Park, District 51

Election: Defeated incumbent Sen. Don Betzold, DFL-Fridley

Family: Two children

Occupation: Teacher

Education: BA, Bethel College

This was Wolf’s third campaign. She ran for the House in 2004 and the Senate in 2006. Wolf said economic issues are her priority, but she’s also interested in education issues and is ready to take on the statewide teachers union Education Minnesota is necessary.

“My loyalty will be to the students of Minnesota and to the parents and the education system, not to the union,” Wolf said.

(Photos courtesy of the Minnesota Senate)

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