Former state senator named commerce commissioner

Steve Kelley

Steve Kelley, a former DFL state senator, was named to lead the Commerce Department by Gov. Tim Walz, who was sworn in on Monday. Kelley served in the Minnesota Senate from 1997 to 2006 and in the Minnesota House of Representatives from 1993 to 1996, serving on committees dealing with energy and telecommunications in both chambers.

Kelley is a longtime advocate of efforts to expand broadband access in rural Minnesota, serving on the Broadband Strategy Board since 2007 for the Blandin Foundation, which works to be a partner and advocate to strengthen rural Minnesota communities.

ICBM attended a Minnesota Chamber event yesterday were Kelley voiced support for rural broadband initiatives like those led by ICBM members First National Bank of Fairfax, ProGrowth Bank, and Falcon National Bank

Asked in 2017 about rural Minnesota’s most pressing needs, he said, “High-speed telecommunications is essential to an innovative future with economic and creative opportunities; it is tough to do cool stuff without it!” 

Most recently, Kelley has been serving as a senior fellow at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota and as the deputy director of the Center for Integrative Leadership. Kelley ran for Governor of Minnesota in 2006 and 2010 and Attorney General in 2006. Besides his political career, he practiced commercial litigation at the Minneapolis firm of Mackall, Crounse, and Moore PLC for over 20 years. He has a law degree from Columbia University and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Williams College, Williamstown, Mass.

Walz also announced Cynthia Bauerly to continue as head of the Department of Revenue. Bauerly was appointed by former Gov. Mark Dayton in 2015. Steve Grove was named to head the Department of Employment and Economic Development. Nancy Leppink will lead the Department of Labor and Industry. John Harrington will lead the Department of Public Safety. Larry Herke will head the Department of Veterans Affairs. Mark Phillips will continue to lead the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board.

The Minnesota Legislature convened for the 91st session on Jan. 8. 



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February 21, 2019

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