Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s Metropolitan Council appointees today sailed through pretty calm waters in their confirmation hearings in front of the state Senate State and Local Government Operations and Oversight Committee.
Pawlenty has chosen some high-profile Republicans to serve on the planning and transit agency for the seven-county metro area since he took office in 2003. Two well-known Republicans, Annette Meeks, a conservative television pundit and CEO of the Freedom Foundation of Minnesota, and Dan Wolter, Pawlenty’s former communications director, were praised by the DFLers who control the committee. Indeed both of their recommendations were offered as motions by DFLers.
Tony Pistilli, from Brooklyn Park, was the one Met Council member that appeared to be on the hot seat. Pistilli was pressed by Committee Chairwoman Ann Rest, DFL-New Hope, about his position against a light-rail transit corridor along Bottineau Boulevard in the northern suburbs. Pistilli, an appraiser and vice president for consumer banking risk management at U.S. Bank, said he thinks the project is too expensive and doesn’t have the ridership to be feasible at the moment. Rest disagreed.
“We probably are going to be going forward on a transit project for Bottineau Boulevard,” Rest said.
Fortunately for Pistilli, Rest said she’s “not a single issue” type of politician. The committee recommended by unanimous voice vote that the full Senate approve Pistilli’s confirmation.
“Thank you Mr. Pistilli and congratulations even though you are wrong,” Rest said.