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List of Speakers of the Minnesota House of Representatives

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Speaker of the Minnesota House of Representatives
Seal of Minnesota-alt.png
Melissa Hortman

since January 8, 2019
Term lengthTwo years, no term limit
Inaugural holderJohn S. Watrous
FormationDecember 2, 1857
Seal of Minnesota-alt.png
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of

This is a list of Speakers of the Minnesota House of Representatives. The Speaker of the House is usually the leader of the majority party, and is the most powerful figure in the House. The current House Speaker is Rep. Melissa Hortman.


# Speaker Took office Left office Party/Caucus
1 Joseph W. Furber 1849 1851 Whig
2 Michael E. Ames 1851 1852 Democratic
3 John D. Ludden 1852 1853 Unknown
4 David Day 1853 1854 Unknown
5 Nathan C. D. Taylor 1854 1855 Unknown
6 James S. Norris 1855 1856 Democratic
7 Charles Gardner 1856 1857 Unknown
8 Joseph W. Furber 1857 1857 Whig


# Speaker Took office Left office Party/Caucus Notes Session
1 John S. Watrous 2 December 1857 12 March 1858 Unknown Minnesota Legislators Past & Present lists Watrous' party affiliation as "Not Available," while the Minnesota Legislative Reference Library's list of Speakers of the House of Representatives lists "R?," indicating that the MLRL does not know what Watrous' party affiliation was, and is merely guessing that he might have been a Republican. On the other hand, the Journal of the House of Representatives for the 1st Session shows that Watrous was elected Speaker in a party-line vote by a majority Democratic House of Representatives, with the Democratic majority voting for him and the Republican minority voting for James Beach Wakefield, and Watrous was, in 1859, given a federal civil service appointment by the Buchanan Administration at a time when patronage was the rule for civil service appointments. 1st
2 George Bradley 12 March 1858 6 December 1859 Unknown Minnesota Legislators Past & Present lists Bradley's party affiliation as "Not Available," while the Minnesota Legislative Reference Library's list of Speakers of the House of Representatives lists "R?," indicating that the MLRL does not know what Bradley's party affiliation was, and is merely guessing that he might have been a Republican. On the other hand, Bradley was elected Speaker at a time when the Democrats held a 55 percent voting majority in the Minnesota House of Representatives, and, in 1860, received a federal civil service appointment from the Buchanan Administration, much as Watrous had.
3 Amos Coggswell 7 December 1859 7 January 1861 Republican 2nd
4 Jared Benson 8 January 1861 5 January 1863 Republican 3rd
5 Charles D. Sherwood 6 January 1863 4 January 1864 Republican 5th
6 Jared Benson 5 January 1864 1864? Republican 6th
7 Thomas H. Armstrong 1864? 1865 Republican Unclear whether took office in 1864 or 1865 7th
8 James B. Wakefield 1866 1866 Republican Served as a U.S. Representative 8th
9 John Q. Farmer 1867 1868 Whig/Republican   9th
10 Chester D. Davidson 1869 1869 Republican 11th
11 John L. Merriam 1870 1871 Republican   12th
12 A.R. Hall 1872 1874 Republican   14th
13 William R. Kinyon 1875 1876 Republican   17th
14 John L. Gibbs 1877 1877 Republican 19th
15 Charles A. Gilman 1878 1879 Republican   20th
16 Loren Fletcher 1881 1885 Republican   22nd
17 John L. Gibbs 1885 1887 Republican 24th
18 William Rush Merriam 1887 1889 Republican Served as Governor of Minnesota 25th
19 Charles H. Graves 1889 1891 Republican 26th
20 Ezra T. Champlin 1891 1893 Alliance 27th
21 William E. Lee 1893 1895 Republican 28th
22 Samuel Rinnah Van Sant 1895 1897 Republican Served as Governor of Minnesota 29th
23 John D. Jones 1897 1899 Republican 30th
24 Arthur N. Dare 1899 1901 Republican 31st
25 M.J. Dowling 1901 1903 Republican 32nd
26 Leverett W. Babcock 1903 1905 Republican 33rd
27 Frank Clague 1905 1907 Republican Served as a U.S. Representative 34th
28 Lawrence H. Johnson 1907 1909 Republican 35th
29 Anton J. Rockne 1909 1911 Republican 36th
30 Howard H. Dunn 1911 1913 Republican 37th
31 Henry Rines 1913 1915 Conservative Served as Minnesota Treasurer 38th
32 H.H. Flowers 1915 1917 Conservative 39th
33 Ralph J. Parker January 1917 January 1919 Conservative 40th
34 William I. Nolan January 1919 January 1925 Conservative   41st
35 John A. Johnson January 1925 January 1931 Conservative   44th
36 Oscar A. Swenson January 1931 January 1933 Conservative 47th
37 Charles Munn January 1933 January 1935 Liberal 48th
38 George W. Johnson January 1935 January 1937 Conservative 49th
39 Harold H. Barker January 1937 January 1939 Liberal 50th
40 Lawrence M. Hall January 1939 January 1949 Conservative Longest-serving speaker 51st
41 John A. Hartle January 4, 1949 January 6, 1955 Conservative   56th
42 Alfred I. Johnson January 6, 1955 January 5, 1959 Liberal   59th
43 Edwin J. Chilgren January 5, 1959 January 7, 1963 Liberal   61st
44 Lloyd L. Duxbury January 7, 1963 January 1971 Conservative   63rd
45 A.W. Dirlam January 1971 January 1973 Conservative 67th
46 Martin Olav Sabo January 1973 January 1979 DFL Served as a U.S. Representative 68th
47 Rod Searle January 1979 January 1980 Independent-Republican 71st
48 Fred C. Norton January 1980 January 1981 DFL Served on Minnesota Court of Appeals
49 Harry A. Sieben January 1981 January 1985 DFL   72nd
50 David M. Jennings January 1985 January 1987 Independent-Republican 74th
51 Fred C. Norton January 1987 June 1987 DFL Served on Minnesota Court of Appeals 75th
52 Robert Vanasek June 1987 January 6, 1992 DFL   75th
53 Dee Long January 6, 1992 September 15, 1993 DFL First woman to serve as speaker. 77th
54 Irv Anderson September 1993 January 1997 DFL   78th
55 Phil Carruthers January 1997 January 1999 DFL 80th
56 Steve Sviggum January 1999 January 2007 Republican   81st
57 Margaret Anderson Kelliher January 2007 January 2011 DFL   85th
58 Kurt Zellers January 4, 2011 January 8, 2013 Republican 87th
59 Paul Thissen January 8, 2013 January 6, 2015 DFL Appointed to the Minnesota Supreme Court in 2018 88th
60 Kurt Daudt January 6, 2015 January 8, 2019 Republican   89th
61 Melissa Hortman January 8, 2019 Incumbent DFL   91st

Notes on Minnesota political party names

In 1913, Minnesota legislators began to be elected on nonpartisan ballots. Nonpartisanship also was an historical accident that occurred in the 1913 session when a bill to provide for no party elections of judges and city and county officers was amended to include the Legislature in the belief that it would kill the bill. Legislators ran and caucused as "Liberals" or "Conservatives" roughly equivalent in most years to Democratic-Farmer-Labor and Republican, respectively. The law was changed in 1973, in 1974, House members again ran with party designation.

Speaker Emeritus

Under House rules, former speakers who are serving in the House are given the title of Speaker Emeritus. While the position has no formal power, the title is seen as a sign of respect for former speakers.[1]


External links

This page was last edited on 8 March 2019, at 06:25
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