Zellers Goes Three Deep For Committee Chairman

Rep. Morrie Lanning of Moorhead is House speaker-designate Kurt Zellers’ third choice to be House State Government Finance Committee chairman.

Rep. Denny McNamara of Hastings was the first pick, but he moved to lead an environmental committee. Rep. Tom Hackbarth of Cedar resigned from the position following an incident in which he was looking for his girlfriend while carrying a gun.

Chairman No. 2 was Rep. Mark Buesgens of Jordan, who resigned as chairman when he received unspecified complaints from fellow lawmakers. He led Rep. Tom Emmer’s governor campaign for a time and later was charged with drunken driving.

Lanning, who served 22 years as Moorhead mayor, has been the top Republican on the property and local sales tax division.

When Zellers earlier unveiled the committee chairmen list, a reporter asked why Lanning was not included. Zellers said that Lanning would be chairman of the GOP caucus personnel committee, a job that includes hiring new people since Republicans will take control of the House for the first time in eight years.

Lanning is a Moorhead High School and Concordia College graduate, and earned a master’s degree from North Dakota State University. He was a long-time Concordia official.