ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The Senate Republican Caucus has named former Minnesota House Speaker Steve Sviggum as its executive assistant and communications director.

Senate Majority Leader David Senjem announced Sviggum’s appointment on Monday. Senjem called it an opportunity to capitalize on Sviggum’s experience and decision making skills.

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Sviggum, from Kenyon, was first elected to the House in 1978 and was minority leader from 1993 to 1999 and speaker from 1999 to 2007. He is currently a member of the University of Minnesota’s Board of Regents.

The 2012 session begins next week.

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Sviggum will start in his new role Tuesday.

He’s replacing Michael Brodkorb, who was fired in December for undisclosed reasons. His firing came after Sen. Amy Koch stepped down as majority leader after admitting to an inappropriate relationship with a male staffer.

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