Liebling makes a play for Speaker

DFL Rep. Tina Liebling of Rochester is making a run for Speaker of the Minnesota House. Liebling wrote letters (see below) to the DFL members of the Minnesota House and asks for their support.

It’s been rumored the Liebling may make a move for the position but the letter, which was given to House members during Monday’s Special Session, is the first indication she’s serious about it. The front runner for the job is DFL House Majority Leader Tony Sertich, who has been leading the fundraising and political efforts for the caucus. In her letter, Liebling is reminding members to not assume Sertich has a lock on the job.

“So far the press seems to assume that Tony Sertich will be our next Speaker. I hope that you will not make the same assumption but will consider carefully where we have been, where we can go and what kind of leadership we need to get us there.

Tony has served us well as Majority Leader since 2007. We all know as bright, personable, well spoken and smooth under fire. He and Margaret Anderson Kelliher worked well together and he gave her loyal support at every step. But while Tony has been a fine Majority Leader, he may not be the right person for the very different job of Speaker.

At the end of last session Tom Rukavina – a fellow Ranger – urged our caucus to support Tony for Speaker in appreciation for Tom’s role in sealing Margaret’s endorsement for governor. While Margaret led us well in may respects we should not make this important decision on the basis of gratitude or because we fear change. We have the opportunity to have a healthy and open conversation about our vision for ourselves as a caucus and what kind of leadership we need. We should make this decision as we make all our best legislative decisions: as representatives of our districts and the people of Minnesota.”

The letter comes at a time when Democrats in the House and Senate are fighting to keep their majorities. Democrats currently hold a twenty vote majority in the Minnesota House and it’s possible that a Republican Tsunami could give the majority to the GOP. That would mean it won’t be a problem for Liebling or Sertich. Instead, it’s likely Kurt Zellers would be Speaker of the House.

Here’s Liebling’s letter:

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