MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO/AP) — Tim Walz and other newly-elected lawmakers are taking the oath on Minnesota’s inauguration day.
Walz, the Democratic former congressman from Mankato who on Monday becomes the state’s 41st governor, says he’s ready to hit the ground running after Monday’s ceremonies at the Fitzgerald Theater in St. Paul. He’s already named all but one of his state agency heads.
Walz takes over from Democrat Mark Dayton, who’s retiring after eight years as governor and a political career spanning 40 years that included one term in the U.S. Senate.
When Dayton took office in 2011, the state faced a $6.2 billion budget deficit. But Walz is inheriting a projected $1.5 billion surplus for the next two-year budget period.
Education was a keynote of the swearing in ceremonies. Walz and his wife come from a family of teachers, so there was a procession of educators, both from his family as well as some of his teachers from high school and college.
Peggy Flanagan was also sworn in as lieutenant governor, Julie Blaha as state auditor, Steve Simon as Secretary of State, and Keith Ellison as attorney general. Flanagan is the highest-ranking Native American woman elected to executive office in Minnesota history.
All spoke after taking the oath of office, and Ellison remarked, “Minnesota deserves an attorney general’s office where they can count on fair treatment, and they won’t just come to us, we’ll go to them. There is no town, no county too small or too far away from the metro area that my office will not do everything they can to help.”
Flanagan teared up during her speech as she thanked the late Sen. Paul Wellstone, whose last campaign before dying in a plane crash — along with his wife Sheila and daughter Marcia — Flanagan said was her first.
A public reception is set for 3 p.m. in the State Capitol Rotunda.
(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)