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Honoring a House speaker

Published (4/10/2009)
By Mike Cook
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Awaiting the governor’s signature is a bill that would attach the name of a former House speaker to a northern Minnesota highway.

Sponsored by Rep. Tom Anzelc (DFL-Balsam Township) and Sen. Tom Saxhaug (DFL-Grand Rapids), HF110/SF335* was passed 132-0 by the House April 7. Senate approval was given 63-0 Feb. 12.

The bill would designate Trunk Highway 53 from Virginia to International Falls as the “Speaker Irvin N. Anderson Memorial Highway.” The Department of Transportation would design and erect the signs that would be paid for through nonstate funds.

First elected in 1964, Anderson spent 34 non-consecutive years in the Legislature, serving from 1964-82 and 1990 until retiring in 2006. He was House speaker from 1993-96. He passed away last November.

“There was never a more tireless, aggressive advocate for transportation in northern Minnesota — in all of Minnesota — than Speaker Irv Anderson,” Anzelc said. “He traveled this stretch of highway hundreds and hundreds of times back and forth to this Capitol so he could serve the people of his district and Minnesota.”

House Majority Leader Tony Sertich (DFL-Chisholm) said a remembrance of “this lion of the Legislature” is expected later this session.

The bill also gives MnDOT permission to remove a memorial highway sign if it needs maintenance and a reasonable attempt has been made to obtain necessary funds from nonstate sources for repair or replacement.

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