Former Tracy farmer and one-time gubernatorial candidate Cal Ludeman will be nominated to serve as the 22nd Secretary of the Minnesota Senate, Senate Republican leaders have announced.
Ludeman, who currently serves as Commissioner of the Department of Human Services, which has an annual budget of more than $11 billion and staff of more than 7,000 employees, previously served as the Commissioner of Employee Relations from 2003-2006 and was elected three times to the Minnesota House of Representatives from Lyon and Lincoln counties.
As the Senate's chief administrator, the secretary of the senate oversees the production and communication of all legislative information and administrative services in the Senate. Ludeman's nomination as secretary of the Senate will be voted on by the Minnesota Senate on Jan 4.
"I'm excited," Ludeman told the Independent. "It took me a week or two to get used to the idea; I did some research on it and thought I would do it only if I thought I could make a difference. The more I looked into it the more interested I was."
Ludeman referred to the position as the "referee of sessions in the Senate" from a parliamentary aspect.
"It will be kind of interesting for me; it's not about health care right now," he said. "But it's gonna be fun, educational, and interesting, no doubt about it."
"Cal is a Minnesota statesman, dedicated public servant and person of great character and integrity," Gov. Tim Pawlenty said in a news release. "I'm delighted for him and the Minnesota Senate as he continues his long service to our state."
Ludeman, who lives in Inver Grove Heights and is a small business owner, said he feels good about the work he did and all that was accomplished during his time as head of the Department of Human Services, the state's largest agency.
"It was very intimidating in every way because of how comprehensive it is as it relates to health care and reform," he said. "We've been able to accomplish a lot at the state level the last four years. We have the most transparent health care system in America where citizens and consumers have a whole lot better idea of what the costs and quality of health care are and that's a big deal. Paper performance, we're the only Medicare agency in the nation doing that. We have care-coordinated medical home payments being pushed out, the only state doing that. Cost control, the state just announced the fourth year of zero payment premium growth for our state employees."
Ludeman's last day as DHS commissioner will be Jan. 3. The election for secretary of the Minnesota Senate will take place the next day.
"There are a lot of changes at the Capitol with the gov.-elect transition teams and the legislative body," Ludeman said. "It's been a mad scramble to get everybody in place - it's a 24/7 activity."
Before an unsuccessful run for governor in 1986 - he was defeated by incumbent Rudy Perpich - Ludeman served in the Minnesota House of Representatives. He served two terms in the 1980s, representing Lincoln and Lyon counties in the old District 20B, which was redistricted to District 27A. In 1982, he was elected as the 27A representative and was minority whip in 1983. In 1992, he ran for a congressional seat but was defeated by David Minge.