Walz team announces transition advisory board

A group of 30 mayors, CEOs, religious leaders and other community members -- both Democrat and Republican -- will advise Tim Walz as he transitions into the governor’s office.

The transition advisory board members, announced Friday, will be led by Lt. Gov.-elect Peggy Flanagan, who is finishing her second term in the state House before heading to the executive branch.

Walz will lean on the group to help him fill commissioner openings in more than two dozen state agencies, as well as help shape his priorities for his two-year budget proposal, due on Feb. 19.

Among the members: Abdirahman Kahin, owner of Afro Deli, Dave Durenberger, a former Republican United States senator, Denise Specht, the president of Education Minnesota, and Marcia Zimmerman, the senior Rabbi at Temple Israel.

“Our team worked intentionally to bring together a diverse group of people to share their expertise as we lay the groundwork for our administration,” Flanagan said in a statement announcing the new “One Minnesota Advisory Board.” Together, we will cast a wide net across the state to ensure we truly run state government as One Minnesota.”

Walz has a short time to line up his new administration: his inauguration is set for Jan. 7.

Here’s the full list of advisory board members:

Abdirahman Kahin, owner of Afro Deli

Armando Camacho, President and CEO of Opportunity Partners

Ben Schierer, Mayor of Fergus Falls

Bharti Wahi, Executive Director of the Children’s Defense Fund-MN

Bo-Thao Urabe, Executive and Network Director at the Council on Asian American Leaders

Carl Crawford, Human Rights Officer at the City of Duluth

Carly Melin, Executive Director of the Minnesota State Building and Construction Trades Council and former State Representative

Chief Executive Melanie Benjamin, Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe

Dave Durenberger, former U.S. Senator

David Nicholson, Executive Director at the Headwaters Foundation for Justice

Denise Specht, President of Education Minnesota

Eric Sannerud, CEO of Mighty Axe Hops

Harold Wolle, past President and current Board member of the Minnesota Corn Growers Association

Javier Morrillo, President of SEIU Local 26

Jaylani Hussein, Executive Director of CAIR-MN

Jeff Ettinger, Chairman of the Hormel Foundation

Kathleen Annette, M.D., President and CEO of the Blandin Foundation

Marcia Zimmerman, Senior Rabbi at Temple Israel

Marvin Roger Anderson, CEO of Rondo Commemorative Plaza and Chair of Reconnect Rondo

Michelle Behr, Chancellor of the University of Minnesota Morris

Paul Austin, Executive Director of Conservation Minnesota

President Shelley Buck, Prairie Island Indian Community

Rassoul Dastmozd, President/CEO of Saint Paul College

Senta Leff, Executive Director of the Minnesota Coalition for the Homeless

Stella Whitney-West, CEO of North Point Health & Wellness Center

Tawanna Black, CEO of the Center for Economic Inclusion

Tim Mackey, President of the Laborers District Council

Tom McLaughlin, former Legislative Chairman for the Minnesota Veterans of Foreign Wars, a retired Blue Earth County Commissioner, and Marine Combat veteran

Tony Sertich, President of the Northland Foundation

Before you go...

MPR News is dedicated to bringing you clarity in coverage from our reporters across the state, stories that connect us, and conversations that provide perspectives when we need it most. We rely on your help to do this. Your donation has the power to keep MPR News strong and accessible to all during this crisis and beyond.