DFL senators move in to the state Capitol

Senators from the majority party get offices in the Capitol.

State Sen. John Marty goes through boxes of archives Tuesday after moving into his new office at the state Capitol in St. Paul.

Anthony Kwan

State Sen. John Marty goes through boxes of archives Tuesday after moving into his new office at the state Capitol in St. Paul.

Marjorie Otto

As Sen. John Marty settles into his new office at the state Capitol, he sifts through files from past sessions, carefully deciding what to keep and throw away.

He said going through the process brings back old memories and gives him time to reflect and reassess his priorities.

With the lull between election season and the upcoming 2013 session, Democratic-Farmer-Labor Senate members are packing their belongings and beginning their move into the state Capitol.

These DFLers say they’re ready for the top-tier offices that come with gaining the Senate majority, mostly because of their location and convenience.

Senators will flip-flop between the Capitol and the State Office Building across the street before the new session starts Jan. 8. They say the move is a mixture of moving their own things and having hired workers move furniture.

Office selection works by seniority. Incumbent senators get first dibs on office space.

While some senators will choose an office they had in the past, others will opt for something completely new.

Oftentimes senators will make the big move a family affair. Sen. Kari Dziedzic, who represents the University of Minnesota area, said she usually looks to her sisters for help decorating her space.

“They help me figure out what to put on the wall so that it looks like an official office,” she said.

Senators said there are many conveniences that come with having an office in the state Capitol rather than in the State Office Building across the street. Capitol offices are closer to senate chambers.

“It’ll be easier to attack the workload instead of hauling it in your arms from the State Office Building,” said Sen. Alice Johnson. She added that she is excited to connect with visitors who tour the state Capitol.

 Johnson said she brings a few small items to her new office whenever meetings are scheduled at the Capitol, but doesn’t plan to organize it until after Jan. 1.

Republican Sen. Roger Chamberlain is making the opposite move out of the Capitol to the smaller State Office Building across the street.

“I will miss being in charge,” he said.

But Chamberlain said there’s a bright side to his move: He’s looking forward to having offices nearer to his colleagues so they can work together more closely.

Marty said a disadvantage of the Capitol is that the offices are spread out.

“It was easier to connect with colleagues [in the state office],” he said. “Here, we are more isolated.”

Marty said despite that, the offices in the Capitol are beautiful.

Senators agree that working in the state Capitol is humbling because of the building’s history.

“Looking out through some of the windows and seeing St. Paul lit up is very inspiring,” Dziedzic said.

Johnson agrees.

“To think I will be walking up those steps every day to my office,” she said, “… it is very awesome.”