Aubrey W. Dirlam

Aubrey W. "A.W." Dirlam (October 20, 1913 – June 3, 1995) was a Minnesota politician and a former member of the Minnesota House of Representatives who represented the old District 14, District 17, District 17A, and District 21B, which included all or portions of Brown, Kandiyohi, Redwood, Renville and Yellow Medicine counties in the southwestern part of the state. The district number and boundaries changed through the years due to redistricting.[1]

A.W. Dirlam
45th Speaker of the Minnesota House of Representatives
In office
Preceded byLloyd L. Duxbury
Succeeded byMartin Olav Sabo
Minnesota House Majority Leader
In office
Minnesota House Minority Leader
In office
In office
Member of the Minnesota House of Representatives
from the 14, 17, 17A, 21B district
In office
Personal details
Born(1913-10-20)October 20, 1913
Panora, Iowa
DiedJune 3, 1995(1995-06-03) (aged 81)
Redwood Falls, Minnesota
Political partyRepublican
Professionfarmer, legislator

House service and leadership

First elected in 1940, Dirlam was re-elected every two years until he retired in 1975. During his 34 years in the House, he served as Speaker, Majority Leader and Minority Leader. He was a member of the Legislature at a time when candidates, representatives and leadership positions were officially non-partisan. He allied with the House's Conservative Caucus, and was known to be a Republican.[2]

Dirlam originally sought the House speakership in 1963, but lost the contest by one vote to Lloyd Duxbury, accepting the majority leader position in compensation. He later succeeded Duxbury as Speaker in 1971 and was the last officially nonpartisan Speaker. He had occasion to preside over the longest special session in state history (159 calendar days) that same year after Governor Wendell Anderson called the Legislature back to Saint Paul. After a series of meetings with the governor and Senate Majority Leader Stanley Holmquist, they were able to craft the "Minnesota Miracle," which set a new pattern in the state's financing of education.[3]

Dirlam served as chair of the Agriculture Committee from 1949–1955, and as chair of the Rules Committee from 1963–1971. He was also a member of the Education, Governmental Operations, Rules and Legislative Administration, and Taxes committees.[4]

Background and later years

Born in Panora, Iowa, Dirlam moved with his family to the Redwood Falls, Minnesota area in 1919, where they farmed. In addition to being a lifelong grain and livestock farmer, he and his family were also involved with a meat and locker business. He also served on the Redwood Falls School Board.[5]

In 1981, Governor Al Quie appointed Dirlam to serve on the Minnesota Board of Residential Utility Consumers, a position he held until 1985. He died in 1995 and was buried in Redwood Falls Cemetery.


Political offices
Preceded by
Lloyd L. Duxbury
Speaker of the Minnesota House of Representatives
Succeeded by
Martin Olav Sabo
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