>>Governor-elect Dayton names appointments & staff

New content added 1/22

In a series of press releases Governor-elect Mark Dayton has been naming appointments to several important departments and members of his staff.

January 21
Dr. Sheila Wright has been appointed director of the Office of Higher Education.

Wright is a professor and dean in the School of Education at Hamline University.  She has worked in many phases of education, state government and in non-profit organizations. Among other things the Minnesota Office of Higher Education helps students by providing financial aid programs and information for postsecondary education.

Mark Phillips will be Commissioner of the Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED), the anchor agency of the Administration’s job creation efforts.

John Edman has been appointed Director of Explore Minnesota.  This agency promotes tourism – a key engine of economic and job growth statewide.

Kathy Tunheim will serve as a Senior Advisor to the Governor for Job Creation.  This is avolunteer position that will drive outreach efforts to spur jobs growth.

January 20Mary Tingerthal will lead the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency. She is currently President of Capital Markets Companies for the Housing Partnership Network, a nationwide company that helps local organizations put vacant and foreclosed properties back into productive reuse.

January 19

Thomas Roy will head the Department of CorrectionsLee Sheehy will be Chair of the Commission on Judicial Selection. Both have extensive experience in the corrections field.

January 14
Ted Mondale has been appointed to lead the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission (MSFC). Mondale is a former state legislator, former Chair of the Metropolitan Council, and businessman, His background makes him well suited to manage the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome,  current home of the Minnesota Vikings, and the host  of many collegiate and youth sporting events and family activities.

Jan 12 news:

Larry Shellito, has been named commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs. He is the retired head of the Minnesota National Guard. The department is faced with the growing number of younger vets seek better educational benefits and programs for reintegration while older vets need more specialized and expensive health care.

Jan 11 news:

Lucinda Jesson, currently a Hamline U. professor and a former prosecutor and deputy attorney general, will lead the Department of Human Services.  As a private practice attorney, Jesson specialized in health care law and has written extensively on health care reform and regulation.   Her goal is that “at the end of four years the agency to be known nationwide as a place for creative, innovative and cost-efficient delivery of vital services.”  Read more at:


Jan 6 news:

Tom Landwehr has been appointed as head of the Department of Natural Resources. The DNR manages everything from forests, mines, lakes and wetlands to invasive species, deer, ducks and loons. Its constituents are passionate and include 1.5 million anglers, 1.4 million boaters, 1.4 million state park users, 600,000 hunters, 260,000 ATV riders and 250,000 snowmobilers.

(Read Star Tribune article:  http://www.startribune.com/sports/outdoors/113051784.html?elr=KArksLckD8EQDUoaEyqyP4O:DW3ckUiD3aPc:_Yyc:aULPQL7PQLanchO7DiUsX

Jan 5 press release:

Myron Frans will become revenue commissioner this spring  He is a former tax attorney and currently president of a company that manufactures forensic microscopes. Current commissioner Dan Salomone will continue to lead the agency until then.The state Revenue Department is responsible for enforcing Minnesota’s tax code and presenting up-to-date revenue projections.

Michael Rothman will lead the Minnesota Department of Commerce, responsible for regulating financial institutions. He is an attorney and specializes in insurance, financial services and various election-related law. He is a member of the DFL executive committee which he will give up.

Dec 31 press release:

Governor-elect Mark Dayton announced the following appointmets:

Brenda Cassellius as head of the Department of Education. She is currently superintendent of the East Metro Integration District and was formerly an associate superintendent of the Minneapolis Public Schools.

Paul Aasen as head of the Minnesota Pollution Agency (MPCA).  He was director of government relations for Gov. Jesse Ventura. He worked as an environmental scientist at the Metropolitan Waste Control Commission and most recently was advocacy director for the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy.

Dr. Edward Ehlinger as the head of the Department of Health. Ehlinger is director and chief health officer at Boynton Health Service at U. of MN.  He previously worked for the Minneapolis Department of Health.

Dec. 30 press release

Governor-elect Mark Dayton named Jim Schowalter as Commissioner of Minnesota Management and Budget (MMB).  This is a crucial appointment as the new Administration begins to prepare a budget and tackles the multi-billion dollar deficit forecast for the next biennium.

Schowalter, currently is Deputy Commissioner of MMB. He will bring proven government and financial experience to the position and has a reputation of being a non-partisan voice on budget issues.

“Of all the applicants for this position, Jim Schowalter has unparalleled knowledge of the State Budget and the Department of Management and Budget,” said Governor-elect Dayton. “At this time of serious budget crisis, I consider continuity and credibility in that position to be of paramount importance for the people of Minnesota, for the legislature, and for myself.”

Schowalter is a longtime public official who has served the people of Minnesota in many capacities. Since becoming Deputy Commissioner at Minnesota Management and Budget earlier this year, he has coordinated the agency’s financial, debt management, human resources, and labor activities. He has and will continue to lead on statewide cash management and federal stimulus reporting.

He currently lives in St. Paul with his wife, Stephanie Andrews, and their two children ages 5 and 7.

Dec. 22 news release:

Governor-elect Mark Dayton announced the appointment of Ken Peterson to head the Department of Labor and Industry. Peterson brings a wealth of public service experience to the position, including serving the last DFL Governor, Rudy Perpich, in the same position.

“I have known, worked with, and respected Ken Peterson for almost thirty years,” Dayton said. “He is one of the most dedicated and effective public servants I have ever known. He brings exceptional experience and expertise back to the agency he has led before.”

Dec. 22 news release

Governor-elect Mark Dayton announced the appointment of David Frederickson, former National Farmer’s Union President and current Director of Agricultural Outreach for US Senator Amy Klobuchar, as his Commissioner of Agriculture. Frederickson is Dayton’s second commissioner-level appointment.

“Dave Frederickson will be a tremendous Commissioner of Agriculture,” Dayton said. “He has outstanding qualifications: a farmer, former state legislator, President of both the Minnesota and the National Farmers Unions. Most importantly, he brings a deep commitment to public service and to improving our state’s critically important agriculture economy.”

Dec. 17 news release:

Governor-Elect Mark Dayton announced the appointment of Peter Wattson, whose decades of government service include serving as Senate Counsel and Secretary of the Senate (Legislative), as his General Counsel.

“I am delighted that Peter Wattson will be joining our office,” Dayton said.  “His experience will serve our state well, as we address its significant fiscal challenges.  Mr. Wattson has worked for the Senate Finance Committee since 1975 and has extensive experience drafting appropriations and bonding bills.  A bonding bill in the coming session will be critical to getting Minnesota’s economy going and creating jobs in the construction industry and building trades.  He also brings four decades of experience in redistricting.”

Dec. 10 news release:

Governor-Elect Mark Dayton announced his first staff hires, selecting Tina Smith as his Chief of Staff and naming the senior leadership of his office: Dana Anderson, Michelle Kelm-Helgen, and Andrea Mokros. Dayton has also chosen Katharine Tinucci and Fatima Villasenor to fill key roles in the Governor’s Office.

As Smith assumes her new responsibilities as Chief of Staff, Dayton also named Josie Johnson as Co-Chair of his Transition, to continue the Transition’s substantial outreach efforts as it works to build the next Administration.

“I’m very proud to announce this Leadership Team,” said Governor-Elect Dayton. “Each is an experienced professional in her own right. And, together, they form a very strong nucleus of the Governor’s Office. We will be announcing additional members key members of the Governor’s Leadership Team shortly.

“I’m especially proud to have Tina Smith leading our team,” continued Governor-Elect Dayton. “She is widely known and respected not only as a strong, seasoned leader, but also for her ability to build bridges and reach common ground. I’ve asked her to spearhead our focus on government reform, so that we can deliver the best possible services to taxpayers at the lowest possible costs.”

“I also want to especially thank my long-time friend, Josie Johnson, for agreeing to co-chair our Transition,” concluded Dayton. “I look forward to being the beneficiary, once again, of Josie’s extraordinary wisdom, and I hope for her continuing guidance after the new Administration begins.”

Tina Flint Smith will serve as Chief of Staff. Smith previously served as Chief of Staff to Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak and has diverse experience in the business and nonprofit sectors. Tina started her career at General Mills, founded a marketing and communications firm that served foundations and businesses in Minnesota and across the country, and is a veteran of dozens of local, state and national political campaigns.

“Our entire team feels a big responsibility to put this office to work for the people of Minnesota,” said Smith. “Governor-elect Dayton is completely focused on solving Minnesota’s financial crisis and getting our economy moving again. It’s a huge privilege to help advance that work.”

Josie Johnson will serve as Co-Chair of Dayton’s Transition. Johnson has a long history in community leadership, beginning in the early 60′s when she lobbied for the passage of bills on issues from fair housing to employment opportunity. She served as acting Director of the Minneapolis Urban League from 1967-68, and as an aide to the Mayor of Minneapolis beginning in 1968. She went on to serve as a member of the University of Minnesota’s Board of Regents from 1971-73, and later served as the University’s Diversity Director and as Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs. The University of Minnesota established the annual Josie Robinson Johnson Human Rights and Social Justice Award in her honor. Johnson founded Josie Robinson Johnson and Associates in 1996. She is a Minneapolis Institute of Arts trustee, a Minnesota Medical Foundation trustee and sits on the advisory board of the Harriet Tubman Center. She is a recipient of the Committed to the Vision Award from the Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights and the African American Community Endowment Fund Award.

Dana Anderson will serve as Deputy Chief of Staff. Anderson is currently Chief of Staff to the Transition and previously served as Dayton’s Campaign Manager. Anderson has worked for Dayton for more than ten years, beginning as his driver on his 2000 campaign for Senate and continuing in several capacities in Dayton’s U.S. Senate Office.

Michelle Kelm-Helgen will serve as Deputy Chief of Staff for Legislative Affairs. Most recently, Kelm-Helgen was Chief of Staff for Senate Majority Leader Larry Pogemiller; and previously managed a government relations firm and worked as Sales and Marketing Director for City Venture, a division of Control Data Corporation. From 2000-2007, Kelm-Helgen was elected as a member and chair of the Eastern Carver County School Board.

Andrea Mokros will serve as Deputy Chief of Staff for Communications and Outreach. Mokros is currently Principal of Mokros Strategies, LLC, crafting successful political and communications strategies for clients, and frequently traveling on behalf of the White House to advance domestic and international trips. She has served Minnesota in both state and federal government, including as Deputy Chief of Staff to U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar and as Communications Director to Senate Majority Leader John Hottinger.

Katharine Tinucci will serve as Press Secretary. Tinucci currently serves as Communications Director for the Transition, and served as Deputy Campaign Manager of Dayton’s campaign. She is an attorney, a graduate of Loyola University Chicago and the University of St. Thomas Law School.

Fatima Villasenor will serve as Senior Aide to the Governor. Villasenor currently serves as a bilingual Senior Clerk for the Hennepin County Domestic Abuse Service Center, and previously worked in Dayton’s Senate office as a constituent advocate. She is an attorney, a graduate of William Mitchell College of Law and of the University of St. Thomas


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.