Legislator Q & A: Rep. Mark Uglem talks about his first days in the state senate
Newly elected State Rep. Mark Uglem, R-Champlin, was elected in November to replace retiring Sen. Denise Dittrich, DFL-Champlin. Uglem, former mayor of Champlin, serves on four committees: Environment and Natural Resources Policy Committee; Jobs and Economic Development Finance and Policy Committee; Labor, Workplace and Regulated Industries Committee and Public Safety Finance and Policy Committee.
Hoffman represents Senate District 36A, which includes Champlin and part of Coon Rapids. He was sworn in Jan. 8 and recently responded to the following questions regarding his first days in office.
• How does being a legislator differ from your position on the Champlin City Council?
There are big differences being a legislator at the state versus being the Mayor of Champlin.
First, obviously the scope is much different dealing with statewide issues, and larger budgetary issues.
Also, there is a different dynamic involved with the different parties, outstate versus metro interests,and lobbyists and special interest groups.
• What has been most surprising about your tenure as a legislator thus far?
The most surprising thing I have experienced is,at least for now is a real effort to be friendly and work in a bi-partisan manner. I have found already that there are many common interests among both parties, and in fact, I have already co-sponsored a bill with Rep. Jerry Newton for more local control on speed limits for our cities. I think sometimes the media overplays the divide between our legislators.
•What is the most difficult aspect of your job as a legislator?
I think the most difficult thing so far has been simply getting up to speed in a new job. There is so much to learn, and let’s face it, mistakes can be costly. Learning the committee process, floor procedure, and getting to know the players are all part of the process. It really is like starting a new job in an industry that you have very little experience in.
• What is the easiest aspect of your job as a legislator?
As far as easy goes, there is nothing easy about this if you expect to do a good job.
• Overall, is serving in the legislature about what you expected, or has it been an eye-opener?
Serving so far has been an eye opener. Every day I realize how important this job is, and what a great honor it is to serve.
Since the beginning of this State in 1858, less than 5,000 Minnesotans have served in the State Legislature. Just knowing that is a very humbling experience.
• What do you enjoy most and least about committee hearings?
The thing that I like least about committee hearings is that some chairmen do not manage their time well. I will admit I hate long, drawn out meetings, and these things can last forever.
• Have you had much contact from your constituents thus far into the session?
I have had some office visits with constituents and many emails. There are a number of hot topics this session, chief among them the budget and the extension of the sales tax to clothing and almost all consumer and many business services.
• Anything else you’d like to add?
I would just like to say, I really appreciate the trust our voters have placed in me,and I will do the best job I can for the citizens of Champlin and Coon Rapids.
Contact Rep. Mark Uglem at firstname.lastname@example.org