MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minnesota’s next governor named the first members of his new administration Tuesday, and they include familiar faces.
They’re the first five of 23 commissioners DFL governor-elect Walz will name to run Minnesota state government.
Walz said he’s building a new administration on commissioners old and new, but what he wants in all of them is experience.
“I tend to, when I go to the doctor, to want someone who has done medicine before,” Walz said.
He is keeping on from the outgoing administration the highly-regarded Management and Budget Commissioner Myron Frans.
Maplewood mayor and former legislator Nora Slawik is the new head of the Metropolitan Council.
Former Minnesota House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher is the new Transportation Commissioner. Her first job is crafting a funding package for roads and bridges that includes a possible gas tax hike.
“They can see the progress that we can make on bridges and roads when we have dedicated sustainable funding going forward,” Anderson Kelliher said.
Assistant Commissioner Alice Roberts-Davis will be the new Administration Commissioner.
And former Obama administration official Jennifer Ho will head up the Housing Finance Agency.
Lieutenant governor-elect Peggy Flanagan is heading up a Transition Advisory Board that considered 500 commissioner applicants.
The administration is promising its cabinet will be gender and racially diverse.
“We believe so passionately that folks are some directly affected by the issues we work on every day, inviting them to the table we decided it was time to pull up the chairs and that’s what we did through this process,” Flanagan said.
By law, a governor’s cabinet must be confirmed by the Minnesota Senate. Governor-elect Walz says he’s in regular contact with Republican Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, and is even considering Republicans in his cabinet.
We are expecting more announcements this week, trying to get as many names as possible before Walz is sworn in Jan. 7.