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Honoring a longtime legislator

Published (2/13/2009)
By Mike Cook
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A longtime representative and former speaker could have his name attached to a northern Minnesota highway.

“This is a special bill honoring a special person,” said Rep. Tom Anzelc (DFL-Balsam Township).

He sponsors HF110, which would designate Trunk Highway 53 from Virginia to International Falls as the “Speaker Irvin N. Anderson Memorial Highway.”

Amended and approved Feb. 10 by the House Transportation Finance and Policy Division, the bill was sent to the House Finance Committee. A companion, SF335, sponsored by Sen. Tom Saxhaug (DFL-Grand Rapids), was passed 63-0 by the Senate Feb. 12.

“Speaker Anderson passed away in November,” Anzelc said. “In one of those interesting conversations that I’ll never forget, his spouse, Phyllis, asked about the possibility of doing this.

“My first thought was, ‘Well, Phyllis, the Legislature really frowns on doing these kind of things, but because it’s Irv, and because of his service to the entire state of Minnesota and his commitment to a multimodal transportation system I’ll do my best.’”

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.

Nonstate funds must be used for the design and maintenance of the memorial signs.

Rep. Bernie Lieder (DFL-Crookston), the division chairman, successfully amended the bill to give the Department of Transportation 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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