DFL senators pick Bakk leader

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Sen. Tom Bakk will be the Minnesota Senate’s leader.

A Tweet from inside a closed meeting early this afternoon gave the expected news. Bakk, DFL-Cook, was to meet with reporters later today.

Democratic senators and senators-elect met at the St. Paul Hotel this afternoon to pick leaders and celebrate taking control of the Senate in Tuesday’s election. They were out of power two years, after Republicans took the majority in 2010 for the first time in 38 years.

Tonight, Democratic representatives are expected to pick Rep. Paul Thissen, DFL-Minneapolis, as speaker. The official vote to name a speaker will come Jan. 8, when the Legislature returns to session at noon.

Bakk and Thissen will be the main legislative contacts for Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton. Next year will be the first time in 22 years that Democrats held all three key positions.

Thissen and Bakk have been minority leaders the last two years.

Northeast Minnesota voters elected Bakk, a retired labor official, to the House in 1994 and the Senate in 2002. He is a former Taxes Committee chairman.

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