Legislative Updates: Walz appoints remaining commissioners

Walz appoints remaining commissioners

Governor-elect Tim Walz appointed seven more commissioners today. At the press conference this afternoon, Walz said he is still looking for a commissioner to lead Minnesota IT Services (MNIT), but otherwise, he said his cabinet is complete. Bill Poirier, currently MNIT’s assistant commissioner and chief technology officer, will serve as acting commissioner.

Nancy Leppink, originally from Two Harbors, was chosen as the Commissioner of the Department of Labor and Industry. Leppink has been working in Geneva Switzerland as the current branch chief of International Labor Organization. She was a Presidential appointee as Deputy Wage and Hour Administrator and served as the Acting Administrator in the U.S. Department of Labor from 2009-2012.

Chosen to lead the Department of Employment and Economic Development is Steve Grove. Grove is founding director of Google’s News Lab, a global division of the company that partners with media companies and startups to drive innovation in the news industry.

Steve Kelley, a Senior Fellow at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, will lead the Department of Commerce. Kelly served in the Minnesota Senate from 1997-2006, and the Minnesota House of Representatives from 1993-1996. He chaired the Senate Education Committee for four years.

Cynthia Bauerly will continue on as the Commissioner of the Department of Revenue. Bauerly became commissioner in January 2015 after joining the department as deputy commissioner in the spring of 2014. Prior to joining Revenue, she served as Deputy Commissioner of Workforce Development at the Department of Employment and Economic Development.

Mark Phillips will continue leading the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board (IRRRB). Phillips was first appointed as Commissioner of the IRRRB by Governor Mark Dayton in 2015. He previously served as the agency’s director of economic development from 1983-1988. Phillips served as director of business development at Kraus-Anderson Construction Company, and prior to that, he served as Commissioner of the Department of Employment and Economic Development.

Former Senator and Metro Transit Police Chief John Harrington will be the Commissioner of the Department of Public Safety. Harrington began his law enforcement career in 1977 with the St. Paul Police Department, where he became Chief of Police in 2004. He held that position until he was elected to the Minnesota State Senate representing District 67 in St. Paul. He resigned from the Senate in 2012 when he became the Police Chief for the Metro Transit.

The new Commissioner for the Department of Veterans Affairs will be Larry Herke. Herke is a Mankato native who retired as a Colonel after 31 years of service in the U.S. Army and the Minnesota Army National Guard where he last served as the Construction and Facilities Management Officer. Herke currently serves as the Director of the Office of Enterprise Sustainability.

Walz will take office on Monday, and the legislative session will begin the following day on Tuesday.


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