ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton on Wednesday gave the economic development job he once held to a former associate who has worked in the public and private sectors.
Dayton selected Mark Phillips to run the Department of Employment and Economic Development, the state agency charged with promoting business recruitment and expansion, and assisting companies in international trade. The department also administers programs for workers affected by layoffs.
Dayton twice led the economic development agency under former Democratic Gov. Rudy Perpich; Phillips also was part of the Perpich administration.
Phillips, 60, comes from Kraus Anderson, a leading Minnesota construction firm where he was director of business development.
Before that, Phillips worked for regional development agencies in northeastern Minnesota. That includes a stint at the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board, a state agency. And he has worked at a large utility and a bank.
Dayton also reappointed John Edman as director of Explore Minnesota, the state tourism office. And he announced that public relations executive Kathy Tunheim would join his administration in a volunteer capacity as a senior adviser on job-creation issues. Tunheim will lead outreach efforts between state government and big Minnesota companies.
“We’ll be second to no one in our economic development efforts and that’s why this team is so important,” Dayton said.
Dayton brushed off Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s move to install “Open for Business” signs on the border, saying businesses make expansion decisions using a more sophisticated analysis.
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