Gazelka tabbed as a 'Freshman to watch' | | Brainerd, Minnesota

Gazelka tabbed as a 'Freshman to watch'

Sen. Paul Gazelka of rural Brainerd started off February with some favorable ink from the Star Tribune of Minneapolis. 

The insurance agency owner, who successfully challenged the incumbent Republican District 12 senator and then defeated an aggressive Democratic newcomer, was included in a list of "Five freshman to watch" in Feb. 1 story written by Eric Roper.

No doubt, his two-year term in the House (2005-2006) gives Gazelka an edge in experience. In the story Gazelka, 51, said he wants the Legislature to cut the time needed to obtain business permits, tighten the welfare system and impose legislative term limits.

"We are not a class that will be seen and not heard," he told the Star Tribune.

The Star Tribune's story points out that more than half of the Senate's new Republican majority are freshmen. 

Other new legislators who were singled out included Sen. Dave Thompson, R-Lakeville; Sen. John Harrington, DFL-St. Paul; Rep. King Banaian, R-St. Cloud; and Rep. Dan Fabian, R-Roseau.

Gazelka is a graduate of Oral Roberts University.