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Katie Sieben picked as Senate deputy leader; Sen. Tom Bakk to be majority leader

ST. PAUL -- Sen. Tom Bakk will be the Minnesota Senate's leader and Sen. Katie Sieben of Cottage Grove will be the deputy leader.

A tweet from inside a closed meeting Thursday gave the expected news that Bakk, DFL-Cook, will be the majority leader. He was to meet with reporters later in the day.

Sieben's position puts her in a key leadership spot as Democrats retake control of the Senate.

Democratic senators and senators-elect met at the St. Paul Hotel this afternoon to pick leaders and celebrate taking control of the Senate in Tuesday's election. They were out of power two years, after Republicans took the majority in 2010 for the first time in 38 years.

Democratic representatives were expected to pick Rep. Paul Thissen, DFL-Minneapolis, as speaker during a Thursday night meeting. The official vote to name a speaker will come Jan. 8, when the Legislature returns to session at noon.

Bakk and Thissen will be the main legislative contacts for Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton. Next year will be the first time in 22 years that Democrats held all three key positions.

Thissen and Bakk have been minority leaders the last two years.

Northeast Minnesota voters elected Bakk, a retired labor official, to the House in 1994 and the Senate in 2002. He is a former Taxes Committee chairman.

Sieben was first elected to the House in 2002 and served two terms before her 2006 election to the Senate. She handily won a third term in Tuesday's election.

-Scott Wente contributed to this story.

Don Davis
Don Davis has been the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau chief since 2001, covering state government and politics for two dozen newspapers in the state. Don also blogs at Capital Chatter on Areavoices.