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Berg, Charles A. "Charlie"

Senate 1973-76 (District 15); Senate 1981-82 (District 15); Senate 1983-92 (District 11); Senate 1993-2002 (District 13)

Party when first elected:  Nonpartisan Election-Conservative Caucus

Counties Served:  Big Stone, Chippewa, Douglas, Grant, Lac Qui Parle, Pope, Stevens, Swift, Traverse, Yellow Medicine

BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION

Date of Birth: 10/15/1927
Birth Place: Graceville, Minnesota
Birth County:
Birth Country: United States
Date of Death: 1/22/2014
Gender: Male
Religion: Lutheran
Reported Minority: None Reported
Other Names: Charlie
City of Residence (when first elected): Chokio
Occupation (when first elected): Farmer/Cattle Breeder

EDUCATION

West Central School of Agriculture, Morris, Minnesota; Secondary;

OTHER GOVERNMENT SERVICE

School Board/Administration: Chokio?, Minnesota (School Board Member, 6 years); 19?? to 19??

FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS

Spouse: Carol
Children: Seven children: (3 sons, 4 daughters)
Family Members Who Have Served in the Minnesota Legislature:

GENERAL NOTES

Special Legislative Concerns: agriculture, agricultural and wildlife conservation, rural taxation, rail and highway transportation, improving the business climate, environment and natural resources.

When first elected he considered himself an independent conservative. He was opposed to party designations.

Religion provided by the Catholic Bulletin, 3/21/1975.

"He bore the distinction of being the only member of the Legislature to represent both parties and serve as an independent." (Pioneer Press obituary, January 29, 2014)

"During his 30 years at the Minnesota Capitol, former state Sen. Charlie Berg was known as a maverick and one of the more colorful, outspoken members of the Legislature." (Pioneer Press obituary, January 29, 2014)

"'Whatever label I've got on my back, I've always voted the same way,' he said in 1996. 'I'm a conservative, independent voter, and I'm not going to let the parties dictate to me how I should vote for the district.'" (Pioneer Press obituary, January 29, 2014)

Total Days Served: 9499

SESSIONS SERVED

82nd Legislative Session (2001-2002)

  Session Details
Body: Senate
District: 13
Elected: 11/7/2000
Residence: Chokio
Term of Office: 1/3/2001 to 1/6/2003
Counties Represented: Big Stone, Chippewa, Douglas, Grant, Lac Qui Parle, Pope, Stevens, Swift, Traverse
Occupation: Farm Owner
Party: Republican
Bills Authored: Chief Author     Author
Committees:
  • Agriculture, General Legislation and Veterans Affairs
  • Environment and Natural Resources
  • Environment and Natural Resources: Fish and Wildlife
  • Finance
  • Finance: Environment and Agriculture Budget Division
  • Rules and Administration

81st Legislative Session (1999-2000) (second half of Senate term)

  Session Details
Body: Senate
District: 13
Elected: 11/5/1996
Residence: Chokio
Term of Office: 1/7/1997 to 1/2/2001
Counties Represented: Big Stone, Chippewa, Douglas, Grant, Lac Qui Parle, Pope, Stevens, Swift, Traverse
Occupation: Farm Owner
Party: Independent-No Party Affiliation Party Notes: He switched his party affiliation to Republican on June 15, 2000.
Bills Authored: Chief Author     Author
Committees:
  • Agriculture and Rural Development
  • Environment and Natural Resources
  • Environment and Natural Resources/Agriculture and Rural Development/State Government Finance: Environment and Agriculture Budget Division
  • Governmental Operations and Veterans
  • Governmental Operations and Veterans: Veterans
  • Rules and Administration
  • Taxes
  • Taxes: Income and Sales Tax

80th Legislative Session (1997-1998)

  Session Details
Body: Senate
District: 13
Elected: 11/5/1996
Residence: Chokio
Term of Office: 1/7/1997 to 1/2/2001
Counties Represented: Big Stone, Chippewa, Douglas, Grant, Lac Qui Parle, Pope, Stevens, Swift, Traverse
Occupation: Farm Owner
Party: Independent-No Party Affiliation
Bills Authored: Chief Author     Author
Committees:
  • Agriculture and Rural Development
  • Environment and Natural Resources
  • Environment and Natural Resources/Agriculture and Rural Development/State Government Finance: Environment and Agriculture Budget Division
  • Governmental Operations and Veterans
  • Governmental Operations and Veterans: Veterans
  • Taxes
  • Taxes: Income and Sales Tax

79th Legislative Session (1995-1996) (second half of Senate term)

  Session Details
Body: Senate
District: 13
Elected: 11/3/1992
Residence: Chokio
Term of Office: 1/5/1993 to 1/6/1997
Counties Represented: Big Stone, Chippewa, Douglas, Grant, Lac Qui Parle, Pope, Stevens, Swift, Traverse
Occupation: Farmer
Party: Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party Notes: He switched his party affiliation to Independent (no party affiliation) status in May 1996.
Bills Authored: Chief Author     Author
Committees:
  • Agriculture and Rural Development
  • Environment and Natural Resources
  • Environment and Natural Resources: Environment and Natural Resources Finance Division
  • Environment and Natural Resources: Environmental Protection
  • Environment and Natural Resources: Fish and Wildlife (Chair)
  • Gaming Regulation (Chair)
  • Rules and Administration

78th Legislative Session (1993-1994)

  Session Details
Body: Senate
District: 13
Elected: 11/3/1992
Residence: Chokio
Term of Office: 1/5/1993 to 1/6/1997
Counties Represented: Big Stone, Chippewa, Douglas, Grant, Lac Qui Parle, Pope, Stevens, Swift, Traverse
Occupation: Farmer
Party: Democratic-Farmer-Labor
Committees:
  • Agriculture and Rural Development
  • Environment and Natural Resources
  • Environment and Natural Resources: Environment and Natural Resources Finance Division
  • Environment and Natural Resources: Environmental Protection
  • Environment and Natural Resources: Fish and Wildlife (Chair)
  • Gaming Regulation (Chair)
  • Rules and Administration

77th Legislative Session (1991-1992)

  Session Details
Body: Senate
District: 11
Elected: 11/6/1990
Residence: Chokio
Term of Office: 1/8/1991 to 1/4/1993
Counties Represented: Big Stone, Douglas, Grant, Stevens, Swift, Traverse
Occupation: Farmer
Party: Democratic-Farmer-Labor
Committees:
  • Agriculture and Rural Development
  • Agriculture and Rural Development: Agriculture Resources
  • Agriculture and Rural Development: Joint Agriculture and Rural Development/Environment and Natural Resources Ad Hoc
  • Environment and Natural Resources
  • Environment and Natural Resources: Environmental Protection
  • Environment and Natural Resources: Fish and Wildlife (Chair)
  • Finance
  • Finance: Environment and Natural Resources Division
  • Finance: Joint Claims
  • Gaming Regulation (Chair)
  • Rules and Administration
  • Rules and Administration: Personnel

76th Legislative Session (1989-1990) (second half of Senate term)

  Session Details
Body: Senate
District: 11
Elected: 11/4/1986
Residence: Chokio
Term of Office: 1/6/1987 to 1/7/1991
Counties Represented: Big Stone, Douglas, Grant, Stevens, Swift, Traverse
Occupation: Farmer
Party: Democratic-Farmer-Labor
Committees:
  • Agriculture and Rural Development
  • Agriculture and Rural Development: Agricultural Credit (Chair)
  • Agriculture and Rural Development: Rural Development
  • Environment and Natural Resources
  • Environment and Natural Resources: Fish and Wildlife (Chair)
  • Finance
  • Finance: Agriculture/Transportation and Semi-States Division
  • Finance: State Departments Division
  • General Legislation and Public Gaming

75th Legislative Session (1987-1988)

  Session Details
Body: Senate
District: 11
Elected: 11/4/1986
Residence: Chokio
Term of Office: 1/6/1987 to 1/7/1991
Counties Represented: Big Stone, Douglas, Grant, Stevens, Swift, Traverse
Occupation: Farmer
Party: Democratic-Farmer-Labor
Committees:
  • Agriculture
  • Agriculture: Agriculture Credit
  • Agriculture: Agriculture Products/Processing (Chair)
  • Environment and Natural Resources
  • Environment and Natural Resources: Fish and Wildlife (Chair)
  • General Legislation and Public Gaming (Chair)
  • Taxes and Tax Laws
  • Taxes and Tax Laws: Property Taxes and Local Government Aids

74th Legislative Session (1985-1986) (second half of Senate term)

  Session Details
Body: Senate
District: 11
Elected: 11/2/1982
Residence: Chokio
Term of Office: 1/4/1983 to 1/5/1987
Counties Represented: Big Stone, Douglas, Grant, Stevens, Swift, Traverse
Occupation: Farmer
Party: Independent Republican Party Notes: He changed his party affiliation to Independent (no party affiliation) on March 7, 1985. He switched his party affiliation to Democratic-Farmer-Labor in May 1986.
Committees:
  • Agriculture and Natural Resources
  • Agriculture and Natural Resources: Agriculture
  • Agriculture and Natural Resources: Fish and Wildlife
  • Rules and Administration: Special Committee on Ethical Conduct
  • Taxes and Tax Laws
  • Taxes and Tax Laws: Economic Development
  • Taxes and Tax Laws: Property Taxes and Local Government Aids
  • Transportation
  • Transportation: Rural and Commercial
  • Veterans and General Legislation
  • Veterans and General Legislation: General Legislation

73rd Legislative Session (1983-1984)

  Session Details
Body: Senate
District: 11
Elected: 11/2/1982
Residence: Chokio
Term of Office: 1/4/1983 to 1/5/1987
Counties Represented: Big Stone, Douglas, Grant, Stevens, Swift, Traverse
Occupation: Farmer
Party: Independent Republican
Committees:
  • Agriculture and Natural Resources
  • Agriculture and Natural Resources: Agriculture
  • Agriculture and Natural Resources: Fish and Wildlife
  • Rules and Administration: Special Committee on Ethical Conduct
  • Taxes and Tax Laws
  • Taxes and Tax Laws: Economic Development
  • Taxes and Tax Laws: Property Taxes and Local Government Aids
  • Transportation
  • Transportation: Rural and Commercial
  • Veterans and General Legislation

72nd Legislative Session (1981-1982)

  Session Details
Body: Senate
District: 15
Elected: 11/4/1980
Residence: Chokio
Term of Office: 1/6/1981 to 1/3/1983
Counties Represented: Big Stone, Chippewa, Lac Qui Parle, Pope, Stevens, Swift, Yellow Medicine
Occupation: Farmer/Director; Grace Home, Graceville, Minnesota (Nursing Home)
Party: Independent Republican
Committees:
  • Agriculture and Natural Resources
  • Agriculture and Natural Resources: Public Land and Water Resources
  • Elections and Reapportionment
  • Taxes and Tax Laws
  • Taxes and Tax Laws: Sales and Property Tax

69th Legislative Session (1975-1976) (second half of Senate term)

  Session Details
Body: Senate
District: 15
Elected: 11/7/1972
Residence: Chokio
Term of Office: 1/2/1973 to 1/3/1977
Counties Represented: Big Stone, Chippewa, Lac Qui Parle, Pope, Stevens, Swift, Yellow Medicine
Occupation: Farmer/Cattle Feeder
Party: Nonpartisan Election-Independent Republican Caucus Party Notes: He was first elected in a nonpartisan election. He considered himself an independent conservative who was opposed to party designations. The Minnesota Legislative Manual, 1975-76 lists him as part of the Independent Republican Party caucus. But a January 1975 article in the Fargo Forum states that he maintained that he was an independent. The 1973 Minnesota Railroads Association unofficial legislative directory lists him as a conservative.
Committees:
  • Deinstitutionalization
  • Education: School Aids Division
  • Natural Resources and Agriculture
  • Natural Resources and Agriculture: Agriculture
  • Natural Resources and Agriculture: Environmental Protection
  • Taxes and Tax Laws

68th Legislative Session (1973-1974)

  Session Details
Body: Senate
District: 15
Elected: 11/7/1972
Residence: Chokio
Term of Office: 1/2/1973 to 1/3/1977
Counties Represented: Big Stone, Chippewa, Lac Qui Parle, Pope, Stevens, Swift, Yellow Medicine
Occupation: Farmer/Cattle Breeder
Party: Nonpartisan Election-Conservative Caucus Party Notes: He was first elected in a nonpartisan election. He considered himself an independent conservative who was opposed to party designations. The Minnesota Legislative Manual, 1975-76 lists him as part of the Independent Republican Party caucus. But a January 1975 article in the Fargo Forum states that he maintained that he was an independent. The 1973 Minnesota Railroads Association unofficial legislative directory lists him as a conservative.
Committees:
  • Labor and Commerce
  • Labor and Commerce: Labor
  • Natural Resources and Agriculture
  • Natural Resources and Agriculture: Agriculture
  • Natural Resources and Agriculture: Environmental Protection

Senate Photos

The photos in this collection were scanned from the files of the Minnesota Senate Photographer with the generous help of the Minnesota Digital Library, and are included in the Minnesota Reflections collection.

Articles & Books About
Anderson, Dennis. "Anderson: Charlie Berg was a Folksy Sort with Great Vision." Star Tribune, February 14, 2014.

Walsh, Paul. "Charlie Berg - State Senator, Farmer, Rancher: He Changed Parties, Not Philosophies." Star Tribune, February 13, 2014.

Vanderwerf, Linda. "Charlie Berg, Maverick Minnesota State Senator, Dies at 86." Pioneer Press, January 29, 2014.

Minnesota Powerline Construction Oral History Project: Charles Berg, Narrator; Edward P. Nelson, Interviewer, Saint Paul, Minnesota: Minnesota Historical Society, 1981.

Ruff, Jerry. "Berg Won't Desert Independent Stance." Fargo Forum, January 8, 1975.



The Minnesota Legislative Reference Library has collected newspaper articles on legislators since 1973. They are available in the Library.