State Capitol stew: How legislative résumés change over time

  • Article by: CHUCK CHALBERG
  • Updated: January 18, 2014 - 10:00 PM

A comparison of legislative backgrounds, in 1969 and today.

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pumiceJan. 18, 14 7:30 PM

Among the questions about which Chuck Chalberg wonders: (1) "[A]re lawmakers as diverse as their 1969 counterparts in other important ways [than gender, ethnicity and race]?" (2) "Is this lack of common [background--defined as 'people who primarily earned their living in the private sphere'] a good thing?" (3) "Might it not have been a better arrangement when a fairly even number of educators could be found in each caucus, as was the case in 1969, and when both caucuses contained a significant ... percentage of business types?" (4) "It’s also fair to wonder how and why this shift came about, as well as what it might portend for the future."

Mr. Chalberg, teacher of American history at Normandale Community College, has it in his power to do something about #3.....

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redeye12Jan. 18, 14 9:34 PM

Interesting point that in 1969, the Dem caucus had over 30% with business experience. Today it is approximately 13%. Is it any wonder why the Dems have grown more anti-business? The growth in "full time" legislators is another problem. The state legislature is only required to meet every other year. Finally, what would be interesting to know and was not covered in the article, is the length of service by legislators then and now. I'd bet that there are more long serving members now than back in 1969.

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davehougJan. 19, 14 6:46 AM

The Obama Administration has the lowest % of appointees in Farmer / Labor / Business (or private sphere) of any post WWII administration. It does color basic assumptions about tax and spend. But the bigger influence is the whole idea of both sides to NOT compromise. Better to shut down the state / country than to meet in the middle. GRRRRR

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texas_technomanJan. 19, 14 7:01 AM

I'm not sure what kind of "business" background liberals or conservatives have; but it must be one where they had no physical assets. If they did, they would understand how important it is to maintain your assets, and to do that requires a steady stream of funding. That has been lacking for years, and has resulted in a highway system that is below average for the US.

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pumiceJan. 19, 14 7:53 AM

Re: "But the bigger influence is the whole idea of both sides to NOT compromise." Both sides, davehoug? Please back up that opinion with evidence.

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pitythetoolsJan. 19, 14 8:42 AM

"Only 14 DFLers (around 13 percent, compared with half of the GOP members) list private business experience today."

Therein lies the problem. Democrats do not understand business. They understand giving other peoples money away. The DFL has been corrupted by unions and union money. The unions have placed many teachers in the legislator in an attempt to takeover government. I don't care for the GOP, but the DFL is a dangerous bunch to have in office.

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pitythetoolsJan. 19, 14 8:47 AM

"That has been lacking for years, and has resulted in a highway system that is below average for the US."

Our highway system is better than most states. I travel for a living and see it and experience it each week. Furthermore, our weather extremes which put stress on our highways like few other states. Anyone who has driven here in the summer can attest to the fact that almost every major road is under construction during the summer.

Before complaining that we need to spend more on roads perhaps the poster can tell us exactly how much we spend per capita versus other states.

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conniemercerJan. 19, 14 8:58 AM

If anyone doubts that business experience is necessary to be successful in governing, just look at who is running our country. The man has never even run a Kool-Aid stand. They think all money belongs to them. They have no concept of what fair means. They despise success.

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mgsherJan. 19, 1410:37 AM

Two notes to Chalberg's excellent article: (1) A few of those who joined the Conservative caucus were Democrats, which was confirmed shortly afterward when the Legislature adopted party designation. (2) I worked for the Legislature then, and I saw that liberals and conservatives talked with each other and broke bread with each other.

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boomerchickJan. 19, 1411:55 AM

What is with the seemingly random use of quotes around certain job designations? Is a "homemaker" today different from a homemaker in 1969? Why does "policy analyst" require quotation marks while a grantsman does not? Perhaps this is just carelessness on Prof. Chalberg's part, but it did distract me and make me wonder if it was intended to underscore his main point in some way. If so, it didn't work. But then, I'm not sure what his main point was.

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