DFL, GOP “ready to work” as Minnesota Legislative Session gets underway

MN House gavels in for the start of the 2023 session
MN House gavels in for the start of the 2023 session(Northern News Now)
Published: Jan. 3, 2023 at 8:00 PM CST
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ST. PAUL, MN -- Minnesota lawmakers gathered at the capitol Tuesday to kick off the 2023 legislative session.

New lawmakers were sworn in Tuesday as both chambers of the state legislature gaveled in for the months-long process.

The 2023 session is high stakes for both parties, as a record-breaking budget surplus of $17 billion could change the way the state looks for decades to come.

GOP and DFL Representatives arrived ready to work.

“There’s gonna be a lot of new people who are looking to make relationships and make this state better. And I’m looking forward to meeting with them and bringing that to reality,” said Representative Spencer Igo (R - Grand Rapids).

The newly inaugurated legislative body is the most diverse in the state’s history — 35 lawmakers are part of the BIPOC community.

“We’re gonna have a legislative body that looks like Minnesota, and I think there’s an incredible opportunity to harvest that knowledge and that experience,” said Representative Liz Olson (D - Duluth).

The session comes as the DFL secures a legislative trifecta for the first time in eight years.

That means the Senate, House, and Governor’s Mansion are all controlled by Democrats.

Olson believes the DFL trifecta presents an opportunity.

“We have the opportunity to do really big things for Minnesotans. And it’s not just because you know, we’re DFL’ers it’s what Minnesotans they voted for us they have sent us here and they’re asking us to do,” said Olson.

It’s a unique position that Olson believes could result in a flood of democratic priorities, like better access to healthcare, childcare, and affordable housing coming to fruition this year.

“These last few years where there has been such gridlock and with the Senate walking away last year, we just weren’t able to get much done. And so this is our time now,” Olson said.

On the opposite side of the aisle, Igo said Republicans will need to work across party lines to get things done.

“The big thing that House Republicans are going to do now is to find ways to make these bills better, make them bring them back to the middle,” Igo said.

For Igo, that won’t be hard, as much of the legislation he’s looking to introduce focuses on infrastructure and other bipartisan issues.

“Working with local cities on bonding projects, also working with school districts and things like that. Those are my priorities, to find the needs that people want first,” he said.

The legislative session must end by May 22 per the state constitution.