Mark Buesgens quits House leadership post

Buesgens gives up his gavel.

Buesgens gives up his gavel.

A DWI conviction won't keep you out of the state Legislature, but it can get you booted from your committee chairmanship.

Mark Buesgens, the Jordan state representative busted for drunk driving this summer, has resigned his chairmanship of the House State Government and Finance Committee.


Buesgens, who was arrested in September, severed his ties with Tom Emmer's gubernatorial campaign, where he had served as chairman, and also resigned his position as a GOP consultant.

But Buesgens kept his seat despite the arrest, pleading guilty to the DWI charges just three days after cruising to reelection. And when Republicans surprised everyone, including themselves, by taking control of the state legislature, Buesgens was awarded a committee chairmanship.

Apparently that last success didn't sit well with some of his colleagues, though. In a resignation e-mail sent to House Speaker Kurt Zellers and House Majority Leader Matt Dean, Buesgens suggested that his appointment was causing dissent in the Republican caucus.

"It appears that naming me as a chair has created some problems that you don't need and I don't want. For me to continue on with the knowledge that there are colleagues with questions, concerns and outright hostility with this appointment is unacceptable. The best possible course of action to mend fences is for me to quickly step aside and I not only accept that, I welcome that."

Buesgens declined to comment on his resignation, and House GOP officials did not return calls by the time this story was published.

The incoming GOP majority is having some trouble filling chairmanships with people who aren't political embarrassments.

Buesgens was named to head the committee only after Denny McNamara, the initial nominee, was shifted over to chair the House Environment, Energy and National Resources Policy and Finance Committee.

McNamara replaced Tom Hackbarth, who lost his leadership post after he was caught lurking in a Planned Parenthood parking lot with a loaded .38 and a dubious story for the cops.