The Minnesota Legislature convened for the first day of the regular session Jan. 5, and freshman lawmaker Rep. Erik Mortensen, R-Shakopee, officially took office.

Mortensen narrowly defeated incumbent Rep. Brad Tabke, a Democrat, in the race for Minnesota House District 55A in November.

“Thank you Shakopee, Louisville Township and Jackson Township for trusting me to protect your individual rights,” Mortensen posted on Facebook.

“I am very excited to join the Minnesota House of Representatives and fight for the people of my district,” said Mortensen. “Above all, I want to bring transparency to government, and liberty to the people. These are ideals that define the New House Republican Caucus. As such, I am thrilled to be a member of this caucus.”

Rep. Mortensen represents District 55A in the Minnesota House of Representatives. The district includes Shakopee, Jackson Township, and Louisville Township.

“Rep. Mortensen will be a terrific addition to our caucus,” Rep. Steve Drazkowski, R-Mazeppa, said in a press release. “Legislators that are quick to listen, eager to serve, and unafraid to face challenges are exactly what this government needs. Rep. Mortensen embodies all of these qualities, and I am looking forward to serving alongside him in the Minnesota House of Representatives.”

In a final post to his campaign page, Tabke thanked his constituents for allowing him to represent District 55A.

“I am deeply disappointed to not be joining my colleagues today as your Representative for another two years,” Tabke wrote. “It has been my honor to serve our community. I look forward to continuing to give back as we look toward a better and brighter future for Shakopee and Minnesota.”

Mortensen has been assigned to serve on the Judiciary Finance & Civil Law, Property Tax Division and Taxes committees.

Maddie DeBilzan graduated with a journalism degree from Bethel University. She’s interned at Salon Media and the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Outside of work, she sifts through Goodwill clothing racks, listens to Ben Rector's music and goes on long runs.