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Dave Olson, Published November 04 2010

Morrie Lanning’s tenure may bring clout

After securing a fifth term to the Minnesota House of Representatives in Tuesday’s election, Morrie Lanning’s first job Wednesday was to collect his political yard signs from around Moorhead.

He may soon be picking up other things as well, including leadership roles in the Legislature.

Among them: a possible committee chairmanship or two and a potential top spot in the Republican caucus.

“I’m certainly among those with the most seniority,” Lanning said, referring to fellow Republicans who now make up a majority in the House and who will be taking over leadership posts on important committees.

Lanning has been on the House tax committee since he was first elected to the House in 2002.

“That (chairmanship) is one of the things I would have an interest in,” he said, adding that a chairmanship on the capital investment committee, which he has served on the past four years, may also be a possibility.

Lanning said the capital investment committee holds importance for the Red River Valley because the committee deals with matters like deciding where flood-protection dollars go.

Having a local legislator in the chairman job could be critical, he said, especially since state Sen. Keith Langseth, DFL-Glyndon, will have to give up chairmanship of the capital investment committee in the senate.

Lanning said Republicans will meet this weekend to discuss who among them will be the new speaker of the House and who will be the new House majority leader.

Typically one of the posts goes to an out-state legislator, and Lanning said he may be in line.

Lanning isn’t sure where his seniority places him among House Republicans, but he estimated 10 or fewer have been there longer than he has.

Lanning won a decisive victory over Democratic challenger Greg Lemke, a member of the Moorhead City Council. A former mayor of Moorhead, Lanning had 60 percent of the vote to Lemke’s 40 percent.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Dave Olson at (701) 241-5555