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Searle, Sr., Rodney Newell "Rod"

House 1957-62 (District 16); House 1963-66 (District 8); House 1967-72 (District 9B); House 1973-80 (District 30B)

Party when first elected:  Nonpartisan Election-Conservative Caucus

Counties Served:  Freeborn, Steele, Waseca

BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION

Date of Birth: 7/17/1920
Birth Place: Camden, New Jersey
Birth County:
Birth Country: United States
Date of Death: 1/5/2014
Gender: Male
Religion: Episcopalian
Reported Minority: None Reported
Other Names: Rod
City of Residence (when first elected): Waseca
Occupation (when first elected): Farmer

EDUCATION

Haddonfield Memorial High School; Secondary; 1939
Rutgers University; Attended College; Night Sessions
Mankato State College; B.A.; History and Political Science, 1960

OTHER GOVERNMENT SERVICE

State Board/Commission/Council: Upper Mississippi River Basin Commission (Chair); 19?? to 19??
State Board/Commission/Council: Minnesota Higher Education Board (Chair); 19?? to 19??
Military: United States Air Force Auxiliary Civil Air Patrol (Janesville-Waseca Squadron); 19?? to 19??
State Board/Commission/Council: Minnesota State University Board (President); 05/1981 to 1994

FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS

Spouse: Janette "Jane" E. Christie (married on May 17, 1941; she died in 2000); Ruth Bartlett (married in 2001)
Children: Three children: R. Newell Jr. and Alan J. (sons); Linda (daughter)
Family Members Who Have Served in the Minnesota Legislature:

GENERAL NOTES

In 1979 he was elected by an evenly divided House to be the Speaker of the House.

He moved to Minnesota in April 1947.

He was a member of the Republican Party.

"Searle is a working Republican, member of the GOP county executive committee and will caucus with the conservatives." ("Know Your Minnesota Legislature: Rep. Rodney N. Searle." Minneapolis Star, Between November 1956-January 1957)

He was a member of the Masonic Lodge.

He was a member of St. John's Episcopal Church in Janesville, Minnesota.

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

"Later in life, Searle turned away from the Republican party he had long served, saying: 'My party has abandoned me.' In 2010 Searle was among a group of Republican former lawmakers who endorsed Independence Party candidate for governor Tom Horner, rather than the Republican-endorsed candidate, Tom Emmer. The state Republican party took action against those in the group, preventing them from serving as delegates to the state or national party conventions for two years." (Mankato Free Press obituary, January 5, 2014)

His funeral was held at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Owatonna, Minnesota on January 10, 2014.

Total Days Served: 8764

SESSIONS SERVED

71st Legislative Session (1979-1980)

  Session Details
Body: House
District: 30B
Elected: 11/7/1978
Residence: Waseca
Term of Office: 1/3/1979 to 1/5/1981
Counties Represented: Freeborn, Steele, Waseca
Occupation: Life Insurance Underwriter/Farmer
Party: Independent Republican
Committees:
  • Financial Institutions and Insurance
  • Rules and Legislative Administration
  • Rules and Legislative Administration: Rules
  • Taxes
  • Taxes: Division I - Income and Sales Tax Division
Leadership Position: Minority Leader
Leadership Notes: In May 1979, he was chosen to serve as Minority Leader by the Independent Republican caucus. This occurred because the Democratic-Farmer-Labor party gained majority status, ending the need for the leadership compromise that had been in effect.
Leadership Position: Speaker of the House
Leadership Notes: After the November 1978 election, the House was evenly split along party lines (67 Republicans/67 Democrats). He was elected Speaker in 1979 as part of a compromise between the two parties. "The agreement gives the Republicans the speaker pro tem post as well as the speakership, 12 committee chairmanships and the chairmanships of all the divisions of both the appropriations and tax committees. They also get a one-vote majority on the tax divisions . . . . The agreement . . . gives the DFL the chairmanship of the three most powerful committees in the House - rules, taxes and appropriations. They also get a one-vote majority on the rules and tax committees, a Democrat floor leader and the same number of committee chairmanships as the Republicans." (Davies, Tom. "Minnesota House Elects Searle its Speaker." Minneapolis Tribune, January 9, 1979).

70th Legislative Session (1977-1978)

  Session Details
Body: House
District: 30B
Elected: 11/2/1976
Residence: Waseca
Term of Office: 1/4/1977 to 1/2/1979
Counties Represented: Freeborn, Steele, Waseca
Occupation: Farmer/Life Insurance Underwriter
Party: Independent Republican
Committees:
  • Appropriations
  • Appropriations: Education Division
  • Appropriations: Semi-State Division
  • Environment and Natural Resources
  • Labor-Management Relations
  • Rules and Legislative Administration
Leadership Position: Assistant Minority Leader

69th Legislative Session (1975-1976)

  Session Details
Body: House
District: 30B
Elected: 11/5/1974
Residence: Waseca
Term of Office: 1/7/1975 to 1/3/1977
Counties Represented: Freeborn, Steele, Waseca
Occupation: Life Insurance Underwriter/Farmer
Party: Republican
Committees:
  • Appropriations
  • Appropriations: Education Division
  • Environment and Natural Resources
  • Higher Education
  • Rules and Legislative Administration
Leadership Position: Assistant Minority Leader

68th Legislative Session (1973-1974)

  Session Details
Body: House
District: 30B
Elected: 11/7/1972
Residence: Waseca
Term of Office: 1/2/1973 to 1/6/1975
Counties Represented: Freeborn, Steele, Waseca
Occupation: Life Insurance Underwriter/Farmer
Party: Nonpartisan Election-Conservative Caucus
Committees:
  • Appropriations
  • Appropriations: Education Division
  • Environmental Preservation and Natural Resources
  • Higher Education
  • Rules and Legislative Administration

67th Legislative Session (1971-1972)

  Session Details
Body: House
District: 09B
Elected: 11/3/1970
Residence: Waseca
Term of Office: 1/5/1971 to 1/1/1973
Counties Represented: Freeborn, Waseca
Occupation: Life Insurance Underwriter/Farmer
Party: Nonpartisan Election-Conservative Caucus
Committees:
  • Appropriations
  • Appropriations: Education Division (Chair)
  • Appropriations: Medical Education
  • Education
  • Higher Education
  • Natural Resources
  • Reapportionment and Elections
  • Rules and Legislative Administration

66th Legislative Session (1969-1970)

  Session Details
Body: House
District: 09B
Elected: 11/5/1968
Residence: Waseca
Term of Office: 1/7/1969 to 1/4/1971
Counties Represented: Freeborn, Waseca
Occupation: Life Insurance Underwriter/Farmer
Party: Nonpartisan Election-Conservative Caucus
Committees:
  • Agriculture
  • Appropriations
  • Conservation
  • Education
  • Financial Institutions and Securities
  • Higher Education (Chair)

65th Legislative Session (1967-1968)

  Session Details
Body: House
District: 09B
Elected: 11/8/1966
Residence: Waseca
Term of Office: 1/3/1967 to 1/6/1969
Counties Represented: Freeborn, Waseca
Occupation: Life Insurance Underwriter
Party: Nonpartisan Election-Conservative Caucus
Committees:
  • Appropriations
  • Drainage and Soil Conservation
  • Education
  • Financial Institutions
  • Forestry and Public Domain
  • University and College (Chair)

64th Legislative Session (1965-1966)

  Session Details
Body: House
District: 08
Elected: 11/3/1964
Residence: Waseca
Term of Office: 1/5/1965 to 1/2/1967
Counties Represented: Waseca
Occupation: Life Insurance Underwriter
Party: Nonpartisan Election-Conservative Caucus
Committees:
  • Appropriations
  • Education
  • Game and Fish
  • Insurance
  • University (Chair)

63rd Legislative Session (1963-1964)

  Session Details
Body: House
District: 08
Elected: 11/6/1962
Residence: Waseca
Term of Office: 1/8/1963 to 1/4/1965
Counties Represented: Waseca
Occupation: Life Insurance Underwriter
Party: Nonpartisan Election-Conservative Caucus
Committees:
  • Appropriations
  • Education
  • Game and Fish
  • Insurance
  • University (Chair)

62nd Legislative Session (1961-1962)

  Session Details
Body: House
District: 16
Elected: 11/8/1960
Residence: Waseca
Term of Office: 1/3/1961 to 1/7/1963
Counties Represented: Waseca
Occupation: Farmer
Party: Nonpartisan Election-Conservative Caucus
Committees:
  • Drainage and Soil Conservation
  • Education
  • Elections
  • Game and Fish
  • Reapportionment

61st Legislative Session (1959-1960)

  Session Details
Body: House
District: 16
Elected: 11/4/1958
Residence: Waseca
Term of Office: 1/6/1959 to 1/2/1961
Counties Represented: Waseca
Occupation: Farmer
Party: Nonpartisan Election-Conservative Caucus
Committees:
  • Appropriations
  • Drainage and Soil Conservation
  • Education
  • Game and Fish
  • Reapportionment

60th Legislative Session (1957-1958)

  Session Details
Body: House
District: 16
Elected: 11/6/1956
Residence: Waseca
Term of Office: 1/8/1957 to 1/5/1959
Counties Represented: Waseca
Occupation: Farmer
Party: Nonpartisan Election-Conservative Caucus Party Notes: "Searle is a working Republican, member of the GOP county executive committee and will caucus with the conservatives." ("Know Your Minnesota Legislature: Rep. Rodney N. Searle." Minneapolis Star, Between November 1956-January 1957)
Committees:
  • Aircraft and Airways
  • Appropriations
  • Education
  • Game and Fish
  • Reapportionment
  • State and County Fairs
Articles & Books By
Searle, Rod. "Minnesota Standoff: the Politics of Deadlock." Waseca, MN: Alton Press, 1990.


Articles & Books About
Stassen-Berger, Rachel E. "Former Minnesota House Speaker Rod Searle dies at 93." Star Tribune, January 7, 2014, p. B2.

Sturdevant, Lori. "A Master of Bipartisanship." Star Tribune, January 7, 2014.

"Rodney N. 'Rod' Searle of Alton Township." Waseca County News, January 6, 2013.

West, Tom. "Searle's Book Reveals Insider Politics." Waseca Weekly, October 11, 1990.

"Know Your Minnesota Legislature: Rep. Rodney N. Searle." Minneapolis Star, Between November 1956-January 1957.

"Meet Your Board Member: Rod Searle." Waseca County Historical Society.


Archive Collections
Rodney N. Searle Papers, 1943-2005 - Available in the Minnesota Historical Society's Collections.

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