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Sviggum named to Pawlenty’s cabinet

Associated Press

ST. PAUL — Former Republican House Speaker Steve Sviggum will become Minnesota’s commissioner of labor and industry after serving nearly three decades in the Legislature, Gov. Tim Pawlenty said Tuesday.

The state representative from Kenyon will step into his new role on July 17, requiring Pawlenty to call a special election to fill his seat. The GOP governor didn’t immediately do so.

Sviggum has served in the Minnesota House since winning his seat in 1978. He presided over the chamber for eight years as speaker, until Democrats won a majority in the 2006 election.

His new job will put him in charge of the workers’ compensation system, workplace safety entities, labor laws and about 500 agency employees. It will also come with a big pay raise: Sviggum made $31,140 plus daily expenses as a legislator. Commissioners make about $108,400.

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"It’s a great opportunity to serve the citizens of Minnesota," Sviggum said.

The department’s current commissioner, Scott Brener, is leaving next month to take a job with an insurance company.

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