Home Local News Walz announces which commissioners will depart from education, public safety, and health

Walz announces which commissioners will depart from education, public safety, and health


Wednesday, Governor Tim Walz announced that his commissioners of health, education, and public safety are resigning.

Walz’s office said in a press statement that Department of Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm, Department of Education Commissioner Heather Mueller, and Commissioner of Public Safety John Harrington decided “not to seek reappointment.”

What This Means

This has led to a range of commissioners of health, education, and public safety resigning.

Mark Phillips, the commissioner of Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation, is also resigning. The government of Walz announced that sixteen cabinet members were reappointed for a second term.

Wednesday, Walz expressed his gratitude to the whole cabinet for their years of service to Minnesota. “Together, we made unprecedented investments in education, attained the lowest unemployment rate in the history of any state, and safeguarded Minnesotans’ health and safety. I eagerly anticipate assembling the group that will assist us to launch our second term.”

Malcolm, Minnesota’s commissioner of health, has led the state’s COVID-19 response throughout the epidemic, which has made her a divisive figure among some Minnesotans who have downplayed the severity of the pandemic and exaggerated the hazards of vaccinations. When the virus was prevalent in Minnesota in 2020 and 2021, she and Walz became the faces of the state’s pandemic response, making daily media appearances to deliver updates on the number of illnesses and fatalities.

Malcolm served as health commissioner throughout the administrations of governors Mark Dayton and Jesse Ventura.

Republican Response

Last year, Republican state senators considered removing Malcolm. Senate Republicans used the chamber’s confirmation authority as a weapon against Walz, eventually resulting in the removal of three commissioners from his first administration. Few commissioners were voted on, with the majority serving without Senate confirmation.

Mueller, the state’s education commissioner, has overseen the state’s public schools throughout most of the epidemic. Most recently, Senate Republicans have demanded Mueller’s resignation over his oversight of the agency’s reaction to the Feeding Our Future debacle.

Harrington, the commissioner of public safety, has 35 years of experience in law enforcement. According to the statement, he managed police reform projects and modifications to the state’s Licensing and Registration System throughout his term.

Phillips served as the agency’s leader under Dayton and Walz. The organization gives money and grants to companies and non-profits in northeastern Minnesota in order to stimulate the region’s economy. Walz issued a formal reprimand to Phillips in 2019 after claims of DFL favoritism within the agency arose.

These commissioner posts are now seeking candidates under the administration of Walz.

Given the DFL’s dominance of the state Senate, it is probable that Walz’s commissioners will obtain faster confirmation votes during his second term.



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