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Speakers of the Minnesota House of Representatives, 1849-present

Compiled by the Minnesota Legislative Reference Library

Compiled from Minnesota legislative manuals and other sources, including previous library compilations and several histories of Minnesota. Citations to "Toensing" refer to W.F. Toensing, Minnesota Congressmen, Legislators, and Other Elected State Officials: An Alphabetical Check List, 1849-1971 (Minnesota Historical Society, 1971). Where a name or party designation is not given in the list, it was not given authoritatively in the sources so far consulted. It may be available from other sources. While efforts have been made to verify this information in more than one source, the library cannot guarantee the accuracy of sources; errors are possible. Please report any errors to the library staff.

Abbreviations KEY:

A = Alliance, C = Conservative, D = Democrat, DFL = Democratic-Farmer-Labor, E = Extra Session, FL = Farmer-Labor, IR = Independent-Republican, L = Liberal, P = Populist, R = Republican, W = Whig

The position of House Speaker, elected at the beginning of the odd year session, is usually held for the full biennium. Changes made during the biennium are noted.

YEAR SPEAKER PARTY DIST. RESIDENCE
2013 Paul Thissen DFL 61B Minneapolis
2011 Kurt Zellers R 32B Maple Grove
2009 Margaret Anderson Kelliher DFL 60A Minneapolis
2007 Margaret Anderson Kelliher DFL 60A Minneapolis
2005 Steve Sviggum R 28B Kenyon
2003 Steve Sviggum R 28B Kenyon
2001 Steve Sviggum R 28B Kenyon
1999 Steve Sviggum R 28B Kenyon
1997 Phil Carruthers DFL 47B Brooklyn Center
1995 Irvin N. "Irv" Anderson DFL 3A International Falls
1993 Irvin N. "Irv" Anderson; elected by DFL
caucus 1 September 1993.
DFL 3A International Falls
1993 Dee Long; resigned speaker's chair 5 August 1993, effective 15 Sept. 1993. DFL 59A Minneapolis
1992 Dee Long; elected speaker-designate by DFL caucus 11 Aug. 1991; elected speaker by House, 6 Jan. 1992. DFL 59A Minneapolis
1991 Robert E. Vanasek DFL 25A New Prague
1989 Robert E. Vanasek DFL 25A New Prague
1987 Robert E. Vanasek; elected speaker by DFL caucus 2 June 1987, elected Speaker of by the House on June 25, 1987 (Special Session), effective June 25, 1987 ) DFL 25A New Prague
1987 Fred C. Norton; appointed by Gov. Perpich
to Minn. Court of Appeals, 27 May 1987, effective 1 July 1987.
DFL 65A St. Paul
1985 David M. Jennings IR 29A Truman
1985E David M. Jennings IR 29A Truman
1983 Harry A. (Tex) Sieben, Jr. DFL 37B Hastings
1982E1 Harry A. (Tex) Sieben, Jr. DFL 52B Hastings
1982E2 Harry A. (Tex) Sieben, Jr. DFL 52B Hastings
1982E3 Harry A. (Tex) Sieben, Jr. DFL 52B Hastings
1981 Harry A. (Tex) Sieben, Jr. DFL 52B Hastings
1981E1 Harry A. (Tex) Sieben, Jr. DFL 52B Hastings
1981E2 Harry A. (Tex) Sieben, Jr. DFL 52B Hastings
1981E3 Harry A. (Tex) Sieben, Jr. DFL 52B Hastings
1980 Fred C. Norton; mid-term retirements and other changes necessitated elections resulting in 68-66 DFL majority; DFL split in two factions (23/45); a coalition of 49 IR and 26 DFL elected Norton Speaker. DFL 65A St. Paul
1979 Rodney N. Searle; elected as a compromise since the house was evenly divided (67/67)*. IR 30B Waseca
1977 Martin O. Sabo (Martin Olav) DFL 57B Minneapolis
1975 Martin O. Sabo (Martin Olav) DFL 57B Minneapolis
1973 Martin O. Sabo (Martin Olav) DFL 57B Minneapolis
1971 Aubrey W. Dirlam C/R 17A Redwood Falls
1971E Aubrey W. Dirlam C/R 17A Redwood Falls
1969 Lloyd L. Duxbury C/R 1B Caledonia
1967 Lloyd L. Duxbury C/R 1B Caledonia
1967E Lloyd L. Duxbury C/R 1B Caledonia
1966E Lloyd L. Duxbury C/R 1 Caledonia
1965 Lloyd L. Duxbury C/R 1 Caledonia
1963 Lloyd L. Duxbury C/R 1 Caledonia
1961 Edwin J. Chilgren L/D 62 Littlefork
1961E Edwin J. Chilgren; "The Liberals have controlled the House only in 1933, 1937,
1955, 1957, 1959 and 1961"--Mitau,
Politics in Minnesota (1970), p. 83.
L/D 62 Littlefork
1961E2 Edwin J. Chilgren L/D 62 Littlefork
1959 Edwin J. Chilgren L/D 62 Littlefork
1959E Edwin J. Chilgren L/D 62 Littlefork
1958E Alfred I. Johnson L/D 25 Benson
1957 Alfred I. Johnson L/D 25 Benson
1957E Alfred I. Johnson L/D 25 Benson
1955 Alfred I. Johnson L/D 25 Benson
1955E Alfred I. Johnson L/D 25 Benson
1953 John A. Hartle C/R 16 Owatonna
1951 John A. Hartle C/R 16 Owatonna
1951E John A. Hartle C/R 16 Owatonna
1949 John A. Hartle C/R 16 Owatonna
1947 Lawrence M. Hall C/R 45 St. Cloud
1945 Lawrence M. Hall C/R 45 St. Cloud
1944E Lawrence M. Hall C/R 45 St. Cloud
1943 Lawrence M. Hall C/R 45 St. Cloud
1941 Lawrence M. Hall C/R 45 St. Cloud
1939 Lawrence M. Hall; elected as Democrat
in 1934; in 1939, caucused with Conservatives
to become youngest Speaker.
C/R 45 St. Cloud
1937 Harold H. Barker (Harold Henry) L/FL 48 Elbow Lake
1937E Harold H. Barker (Harold Henry) L/FL 48 Elbow Lake
1936E George W. Johnson C/R 59 Duluth
1935 George W. Johnson C/R 59 Duluth
1935E George W. Johnson C/R 59 Duluth
1933 Charles Munn; originally (date?) caucused with Conservatives, but was elected to Railroad and Warehouse Commission in 1934 as Farmer-Labor. L/FL 36 Osseo
1933E Charles Munn L 36 Osseo
1931 Oscar A. Swenson C/R 15 Nicollet
1929 John A. Johnson C/R 1 Preston
1927 John A. Johnson C/R 1 Preston
1925 John A. Johnson C/R 1 Preston (erroneously given as "Princeton" in 1925 legislative manual)
1923 William I. Nolan C/R 33 Minneapolis
1921 William I. Nolan C/R 33 Minneapolis
1919 William I. Nolan; "Although Conservative members were in control of the Legislature-- there were 24 Representatives and 8 Senators who were elected with the endorsement of the Nonpartisan league ... 5 Senators and 11 Representatives of the 'Working People's Nonpartisan Political League."--Christianson, Minnesota history, v. 2, p. 371. C/R 33 Minneapolis
1919E William I. Nolan C/R 33 Minneapolis
1917 Ralph J. Parker C? 1 Spring Valley
1916E H. H. Flowers C/R 17 Cleveland
1915 H. H. Flowers C/R 17 Cleveland
1913 Henry Rines; "'Progressives' controlled the organization of both houses"--Christianson, Minnesota history, v. 2 p. 330.   32 Mora
1912E Howard H. Dunn R 9 Fairmont
1911 Howard H. Dunn R 9 Fairmont
1909 Anton J. Rockne (Anton Julius); "Governor Eberhart was a Republican and his party now again in full control of the Executive and Legislative branches of the state government."--Christian son, Minnesota history, v. 2, p. 317. R 29 Zumbrota
1907 Lawrence H. Johnson; name given as Lawrence W. in Minnesota in three centuries, v. 4,
p. 299, but as Lawrence H. on p. 298.
R 43 Minneapolis
1905 Frank Clague; "Legislature remained under Republican control" [during Gov. John A. Johnson's terms, 1905-1909]--Mitau, Politics in Minnesota, p. 9. R 19 Lamberton
1903 Leverett W. Babcock; "[From 1860 to 1904 the] state Legislature remained under Republican control except for 1891 session"--Mitau, Politics in Minnesota, p. 6. Name given (probably erroneously) as L. V. Babcock in Minnesota in three centuries, v. 4, p. 282. R 53 Wadena
1902E Michael J. Dowling (Michael John) R 22 Renville
1901 Michael J. Dowling (Michael John) R 22 Renville
1899 Arthur N. Dare R 45 Elk River
1897 John D. Jones; Jones' service as speaker
shown as 1895 in Toensing
R 46 Long Prairie
1895 Samuel R. Van Sant (Samuel Rinnah)   15 Winona
1893 William E. Lee (William Edward) R 46 Long Prairie
1891 Ezra T. Champlin; Democratic-Alliance coalition--Minnesota history, Sept. 1957, p. 303. A 10 Garden City
1889 Charles H. Graves (Charles Hinman) R 46 Duluth
1887 William R. Merriam (William Rush) R 26 St. Paul
1885 John L. Gibbs R 4 Geneva
1883 Loren Fletcher R 29 Minneapolis
1881 Loren Fletcher R 26 Minneapolis
1881E Loren Fletcher R 26 Minneapolis
1879 Charles A. Gilman (Charles Andrew) In Toensing, Gilman is shown as speaker in 1879 only. R 31 St. Cloud
1878 Charles A. Gilman (Charles Andrew) R 31 St. Cloud
1877 John L. Gibbs; John L. Gibbs' service as speaker
shown as 1876 in Toensing
R 5 Geneva
1876 William R. Kinyon R 12 Owatonna
1875 William R. Kinyon R 12 Owatonna
1874 Albert R. Hall R? 27 Dayton
1873 Albert R. Hall R? 27 Dayton
1872 Albert R. Hall R? 27 Dayton
1871 John L. Merriam R 1 St. Paul
1870 John L. Merriam R 1 St. Paul
1869 Chester D. Davidson R 5 Minneapolis
1868 John Q. Farmer (John Quincy) W;R 14 Spring Valley
1867 John Q. Farmer (John Quincy) W;R 14 Spring Valley
1866 James B. Wakefield R 20 Blue Earth City (Blue Earth, Winnebago per Toensing)
1865 Thomas H. Armstrong; Toensing shows Armstrong as speaker 1864-1865 R 12 High Forest
1864 Jared Benson R 4 Anoka
1863 Charles D. Sherwood; youngest at age 29? R 14 Elkhorn
1862 Jared Benson R 4 Anoka
1862E Jared Benson R 4 Anoka
1861 Jared Benson; given as a Democrat on one list. R 4 Anoka
1859 Amos Coggswell; was in the Republican constitutional convention in 1857, but in 1867 was Democratic candidate for Minnesota secretary of state (Minnesota in three centuries,
v. 3, p. 47, 56, 447-448.
R/D 15 Aurora
1858 George Bradley; 12 March 1858-
12 August 1858
R? 7 Belle Plaine
1857/1858 John S. Watrous; 2 Dec. 1857-
12 March 1858
R? 26  

TERRITORY

1857 Joseph W. Furber W 1 Cottage Grove
1857E Joseph W. Furber W 1 Cottage Grove
1856 Charles Gardner; spelled Gardiner in
one source
  4 Westervelt (Mantorville per Toensing)
1855 James S. Norris D 1 Cottage Grove
1854 Nathan C. D. Taylor   1 Taylors Falls
1853 David Day   5 Long Prairie
1852 John D. Ludden   1 Marine
1851 Michael E. Ames   2 Stillwater (St. Paul per Toensing; Minnesota in three centuries, p. 451, "In 1849, he came to Stillwater and four years later to St. Paul.")
1849 Joseph W. Furber W 1 Cottage Grove

Notes:

*In 1979, the parties were evenly divided. An article from the January 8, 1979 Minneapolis Tribune described how the leadership of the Minnesota House would be handled: "Under an agreement tentatively approved late Sunday, the Independent-Republicans will elect the speaker of the House from their ranks. To balance his power, the DFL will get the chairmanship - and a one-vote majority - of both the rules and tax committees; the DFL will also get the chairmanship of the appropriations committee."

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