The Republicans’ return to the majority in the state House has resulted in the return of some old faces in the senior staff ranks.
The newly appointed leadership staff includes Chas Anderson, Jodi Boyne, Annie Paruccini and Bill Walsh, who each worked for the House GOP Caucus earlier in their careers.
Anderson, who will be the caucus’s executive director, was formerly House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Bishop’s committee administrator and deputy campaign manager for Tim Pawlenty’s 2002 gubernatorial campaign.
Anderson was deputy commissioner at the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) for most of Pawlenty’s two terms. Compared to officials at other state agencies, Anderson wielded a significant amount of power at the agency, with some education insiders and lobbyists believing she had more power than one person ought to have.
Anderson this year was the subject of controversy concerning a $5,000 contract she entered into with MDE just days after she left the agency. A state investigation found no evidence of wrongdoing but said she “impermissibly” placed herself on both sides of the contract.
Boyne, who was most recently the communications director for the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, will go back to her old job as director of public affairs. She was the House GOP’s communications director from 1992 to 1997. After stints working in P.R. for the Weber Shandwick firm and for St. Paul Mayor Norm Coleman, Boyne in 2005 went back to the House GOP as director of public affairs.
Paruccini, a former House staffer, has worked in Pawlenty’s office for eight years. She most recently was Pawlenty’s director of federal affairs. She will be Speaker Kurt Zellers’s executive assistant.
Walsh, who has been MDE’s communications director and served a brief tour this summer as Republican gubernatorial nominee Tom Emmer‘s communication director, was director of policy development for the House GOP from 1995 to 2000. In addition to MDE, he has also worked for the state Department of Commerce and the Minnesota Republican Party. In the new House majority he will be executive assistant to Majority Leader Matt Dean.
Five current House GOP staffers will assume top positions: Erin Buie (executive assistant to the majority caucus), Ian Marsh (legislative director to Zellers), Anna Bellin (administrative assistant to Dean), Craig Stone (director of legislative services) and Kevin Watterson (director of media services).