St. Paul, Minn.—Senate DFL Caucus Leader Tom Bakk (DFL-Cook) has appointed freshman Sen. Carolyn Laine (DFL-Columbia Heights) Assistant Leader. Laine joins Sen. Jeff Hayden (DFL-Minneapolis) and Sen. Susan Kent (DFL-Woodbury), also Senate DFL Caucus Assistant Leaders, in her new role. Sen. John Hoffman (DFL-Champlin), Sen. Kent Eken (DFL-Twin Valley), and Sen. Ann Rest (DFL-New Hope) were also appointed to serve as Caucus Whips for the 2017-2018 biennium.
“I am glad to have the full leadership team in place as we get into the heart of the legislative session,” Bakk said. “The diversity of experience, background and perspectives in this leadership team will be valuable in guiding DFL Senators and their decisions in this biennium,” Bakk said.
Sen. Laine represents the communities of Fridley, Columbia Heights, Hilltop, Saint Anthony, Silver Lake Park, and New Brighton. She was elected to the House of Representatives in 2006 where she served until 2016, when she was elected to the Senate. Sen. Laine serves the Capital Investment, Local Government, and State Government Finance and Policy and Elections Committees. She has a strong background in healthcare, education, environment, and government accountability. Before coming to the legislature Sen. Laine worked as an educator and is currently a volunteer financial director for Novalis Institute.
“I am honored to join the Senate Minority leadership team, and I will work diligently to represent the group of newly-elected Senators in our caucus,” Sen. Laine said. “Our team of freshman Senators offers a fresh perspective from all corners of our great state, and I look forward to being a voice for their diverse experiences and skills.”
Sen. Ann Rest represents the communities of New Hope, Crystal, Golden Valley, Plymouth, and Robbinsdale. She was elected to the House of Representatives in 1984, where she served until 2000 when she was elected to the Senate. Her legislative expertise includes tax policy, elections, and education. Sen. Rest serves as the Ranking Member of the Taxes Committee. She also sits on the Rules and Administration Committee and State Government Finance and Policy and Elections Committee. Sen. Rest is a former high school English teacher and a retired CPA.
“I look forward to using my experience to help guide our caucus as we approach important legislative decisions,” Rest said. “I am pleased the Senate DFL leadership team represents all regions of the state as we consider what is best for Minnesota.”
Sen. Kent Eken represents Clay, Norman, and portions of Becker counties. He was elected to the House of Representatives in 2002 where he served until 2012, when he was elected to the Senate. At the legislature, he has developed expertise in long term care and education. Sen. Eken is recognized as a leading rural voice in the Senate DFL Caucus. He serves as Ranking Member of the Aging and Long-Term Care Policy Committee and is a member of Capital Investment and the Agriculture, Rural Development, and Housing Finance and Policy committees. Sen. Eken is a former educator and farmer.
“I am excited to be appointed Caucus Whip. I look forward to working as a part of this leadership team on the issues most important to rural Minnesotans,” Eken said. “A vibrant rural Minnesota is critical to our state’s broader economy and as a life-long resident of Western Minnesota I understand its unique challenges and opportunities; I will bring this experience to my new role at the Capitol.”
Sen. John Hoffman represents the communities of Brooklyn Park, Champlin, and Coon Rapids. He was elected to the Senate in 2012. His legislative expertise includes education, health and human services, environment, and energy. Sen. Hoffman serves on the E-12 Policy, Aging and Long Term Care Policy, Energy and Utilities Finance and Policy, and Human Services Reform Finance and Policy committees. Of bills Sen. Hoffman chief authored during the 2015-2016 biennium, the second biennium of his freshman term, 75 percent of his bills had bipartisan authorship.
“I am pleased to take on this new role at the legislature. This year legislators will have many important votes before them and I am excited to help our caucus make the best possible decisions,” Hoffman said. “As I start my second term at the legislature I bring a unique balance of working and serving the legislature. I value the opportunity to stay connected to many of the Minnesotans impacted by the choices we make here.”