The Relative Comment

soothing waves of relativity

The memory of institutions

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Relative to: Mike Kaszuba, “A new crop of leaders at the Capitol.”

Something that hasn’t been addressed as much as I would have expected in the aftermath of this years election swing is the loss of institutional memory that comes with a sweeping change in representation. Kaszuba’s article in the Star Tribune addresses the new GOP majority in the Minnesota House and Senate, and how the leadership gave committee chair posts not veteran Republican representatives but to newly or recently elected officials. In addition, the GOP in MN, according to Kaszuba, will be cutting down the number of House and Senate committee’s by approximately one-third.

What does that mean? We’ll have to wait and see. But it strikes me as a potentially dangerous move. Such a move eliminates years of institutional memory. How do things get done, and why should they get done? In what order? How does the party effectively maneuver within the Capitol , from committee to floor to Governor’s office? The incomers aren’t simply going to acquire this knowledge when they walk in the door. And an opportunity to teach might be lost by skipping over Rep. Jungbauer, 12 year House veteran and ranking Republican on the Transportation Committee, to chair that committee.

This isn’t to say that the GOP will not be successful in their majority in Minnesota, at least according to their own measurement. But this is a rare time for Republicans in Minnesota. It’s been 38 years since the GOP controlled both the House and the Senate in MN. And it’s hard to see a GOP majority lasting for another 38 years.  Ignoring the institutional memory that comes with the Capitol will surely shorten that tenure. Not that I would complain about that.


Written by Christopher ZF

November 18, 2010 at 11:14

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