Malcolm, Harrington, Mueller to leave Walz administration

Man gestures at podium with hand in front of flag
Gov. Tim Walz and Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan host a press conference after they were reelected on Nov. 8.
Kerem Yucel | MPR News

Some of Gov. Tim Walz's key cabinet members won't be back with him for a second term.

Walz said Wednesday that Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm, Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington and Education Commissioner Heather Mueller have decided to leave their positions. So has Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board Commissioner Mark Phillips.

It’s common for there to be department head turnover between terms for Minnesota governors.

Malcolm, Harrington and Mueller were key players on the Walz team during the COVID-19 pandemic and in the aftermath of the police killing of George Floyd.

Sixteen cabinet members will carry over. Walz is also looking to fill vacancies at the Department of Revenue and the Department of Labor and Industry.

Because the DFL won Senate control starting in 2023, Walz will likely see more of his appointments confirmed rather than having their jobs in limbo.

Malcolm was commissioner of health during former Gov. Jesse Ventura’s term from 1999 to 2003, and was appointed again by Gov. Mark Dayton in January 2018. She was then reappointed by Walz in 2019.

Harrington is a former DFL state senator who was also chief of the St. Paul Police Department before being elected.

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