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Seeking commissioners with 'One Minnesota' mentality, Walz advisory team gets started

Lt. Gov.-elect Peggy Flanagan addressed members of the One Minnesota Transition Advisory Board Monday, Nov. 26, 2018 at the Capitol. Dana Ferguson / Forum News Service

ST. PAUL - Minnesota Gov.-elect Tim Walz's transition advisory team on Monday, Nov. 26, laid out a long to-do list set to be completed on a short deadline.

At its first meeting, the board set its goals for the six weeks leading up to the 2019 legislative session: recruit and hire dozens of commissioners and staff members, set a two-year state spending plan, prioritize policy recommendations and find a way to better engage with Minnesotans.

And do all of it with a "One Minnesota" mindset.

“This moment in time that we find ourselves in is one where over the next six weeks we get to build on a solid foundation, but we get to build a vision for the way that we want to move forward together and govern as One Minnesota,” Lt. Gov.-elect Peggy Flanagan, who leads the transition team, told the more than two dozen board members gathered at the Capitol.

Flanagan said board members were chosen to represent a diversity of geographic areas, demographic groups and interests. And that variety could help them recruit a diverse team of commissioners, she said.

“We said consistently that we believe that people who are directly affected by policy should have a seat at the table," Flanagan said. "And we would like to think of this transition advisory board as literally people being at the table, that this is that first expression of that, where we can all come together."

Recruitment and hiring would be the board's top priority, Flanagan said, with commissioner hires set to be wrapped up in early December.

The Walz administration is set to work with the nation's only split Legislature. DFLers swung 87 state House seats to win the majority in that body and Republicans held onto their one-vote majority in the state Senate.

Walz and leaders in both chambers have said the split could force bipartisan cooperation in the Statehouse.

The 2019 Minnesota legislative session is set to begin Jan. 8.

Follow Dana Ferguson on Twitter @bydanaferguson, call 651-290-0707 or email dferguson@forumcomm.com