Sparks named vice chair of 2 committees

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 24, 2006

By Albert Lea Tribune

Members of the DFL Party this week selected state Sen. Dan Sparks of Austin to be vice chairman of the Senate Commerce and Consumer Protection Committee and Senate Economic Budget Division.

Senate committees were restructured after the Nov. 7 election to accommodate new members and new majority parties.

&8220;I am honored that my colleagues trust me to take on leadership roles in these two very important Senate committees,&8221; Sparks said.

Sparks was re-elected this month to his second four-year term serving District 27, which includes all of Mower and Freeborn counties and four townships in Fillmore County. He was first elected to the Senate in 2002.

&8220;I was heavily involved in consumer protection and economic development issues during my first term in the Senate. I appreciate that my hard work was recognized, and I am grateful for the opportunity to take on a more proactive role within these areas,&8221; he said.

In addition to serving as vice chair of these committees, Sparks will also have a seat on the Business, Industry and Jobs Committee, the Capital Investment (Bonding) Committee, and the

Energy, Utilities, Technology and Communications Committee.

&8220;With my banking background, I am very interested in commerce and business issues. And being from southern Minnesota, I am extremely interested in renewable energy options that could benefit our farmers,&8221; Sparks said.

He said his appointment to the Capital Investment Committee could prove especially important for District 27. That committee is charged with shaping the state&8217;s bonding bills, which allocate state funding for construction projects on public infrastructure throughout the state. Last year, Sparks secured $10 million for district projects, including everything from flood mitigation to expansion of the Shooting Star Recreation Trail.

Sparks&8217; new office has not yet been assigned. His phone number will remain (651) 296-9248 at the Capitol and (507) 438-2898 at home; his e-mail is