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Sviggum visits

Steve Sviggum, a former member of the University of Minnesota Board of Regents, and an executive assistant to and communications director for the Republican caucus in the Minnesota Senate, was a recent guest of Central Lakes College political science instructor Steve Wenzel. The two share a past as politicians in the Legislature. Sviggum spoke to several of Wenzel’s classes on the Brainerd campus. A former Speaker and member of the Minnesota House of Representatives, Sviggum represented District 28B in the southeastern part of the state. Sviggum was first elected to the House in 1978. He served as minority leader from 1993–1999, and became Speaker following the 1998 elections, when the Republicans took control of the House from the Democrats. He began his speakership under unusual circumstances; 1998 also saw the election of Reform Party candidate Jesse Ventura as governor, while the Democrats retained control of the Minnesota Senate. He was the leader of the Republicans in a government divided between three political parties. In the 2006 general election, the Democrats regained control of the House, ending Sviggum’s time as Speaker. Though he won re-election to his House seat, he chose not seek a leadership position in the next session. Democrat Margaret Anderson Kelliher succeeded him as Speaker.

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