According to the Minnesota legislature’s website: “In Minnesota, members of the Legislature are “citizen legislators” and most have jobs outside the Legislature.”
Alpha News took a look at online biographies and candidate websites of Minnesota’s sixty-seven state senators and found that while most do list employment outside of their legislative position, 40% do not.
We combined categories for simplification and a few small business owners were moved to other categories. For example, if a legislator owned their own insurance agency, they were moved from business owner to the Banking/Finance/Insurance category. After the “None or Legislator-only category,” the next most popular category in the state senate was “Attorney”, nine state senators are lawyers and one works for a law firm.
The results by party affiliation show that a far greater number of DFL Senators view the legislature as a full-time job with 50% of them having no other job than state legislator. Nineteen Democrats fit this description, six of them were at or above the retirement age of 65.
Of the twenty-nine GOP State Senators, only seven had no other job outside the legislature and four of those members are at or over the age of 65.
While it’s still true that “most” hold an outside job, the spirit of a citizen legislature isn’t being achieved. MinnPost asked the question: “Minnesota’s legislators: Are they underpaid?” back in 2013 when the DFL wanted a pay raise from $31,140 to $40,890 per year for state representatives and senators. This amount does not include approximately $11,000 in average per diem reimbursements for other expenses. The pay raise ultimately failed.
Alpha News will take a look at the jobs of the members of the Minnesota House of Representatives next month.