Minnesota Reps. Kahn, Carlson break Willard Munger's service record
MINNEAPOLIS -- Two Minneapolis lawmakers have set an all-time record for their decades of service in the Minnesota House of Representatives. Rep. Phyllis Kahn and Rep. Lyndon Carlson were each sworn in for the first time in January 1973, and have...
MINNEAPOLIS - Two Minneapolis lawmakers have set an all-time record for their decades of service in the Minnesota House of Representatives. Rep. Phyllis Kahn and Rep. Lyndon Carlson were each sworn in for the first time in January 1973, and have served continuously since then. As of Monday, that’s 15,533 days in office - one more than the previous record. That was set by former Rep. Willard Munger Sr., a member of the Democratic-Farmer Labor Party (and the Farmer-Labor Party before that) who served from Jan. 4, 1955 until his death from liver cancer on July 11, 1999.
Kahn and Carlson, both members of the DFL, are still several years short of the all-time record for service in the Minnesota Legislature. Three men have served several years longer than Kahn and Carlson, though all split their legislative time between the House and Senate:
- Donald Wright, a Minneapolis Republican, served in the House from 1927 to 1934, the Senate from 1935 to 1954 and 1955 to 1970, his Senate term interrupted only by a brief four-month stint as the state’s lieutenant governor. He compiled 15,950 days of legislative service.
- Anton Rockne, a Zumbrota Republican, served in the House from 1903 to 1910 and the Senate from 1911 to 1946. He compiled 16,072 days of legislative service.
- Carl Iverson, an Ashby resident aligned with the DFL, served in the House from 1919 to 1930 and 1939 to 1966, and the Senate from 1931 to 1934. He compiled 16,072 days of legislative service.
Wright would be tied with Rockne and Iverson had he not spent four months as lieutenant governor. None of the three men had service overlapping with Kahn or Carlson, though the two spent several decades serving alongside Munger.
Kahn and Carlson need 539 more days to tie the Minnesota record and 540 to set it, though they’ve already set the record for longest service in a single chamber, and Kahn has set the record for longest-serving female lawmaker (over DFL lawmaker Linda Lee Berglin, who entered the Legislature with Kahn and Carlson but left in 2011 with 14,105 days of service).
They’ll tie the record on Jan. 2, 2017 - the last day of their current terms. That means they’ll need to win an extra term and serve at least one day in order to set the all-time record for service in the Minnesota House.
But they’re unlikely to set any records nationally, according to the Minnesota Legislative Reference Library. The longest-serving state legislator, Wisconsin’s Sen. Fred Risser has
been serving in that state’s legislature since 1956 - almost two decades more than Kahn and Carlson, who have just 42 years of service compared to Risser’s 58.
Kahn also has a long way to go to become the longest serving female legislator in history.
North Dakota’s Rep. Brynhild Haugland served from 1938 until 1990, a total of 52 years.