The new Walz-Flanagan Administration is embracing diversity in significant ways. More than half of the governor’s commissioners are women. Nearly half grew up in Greater Minnesota. Gov. Walz was raised in a rural setting and most recently lived in Mankato, while Lt. Gov. Flanagan is a member of the White Earth Band of Ojibwe. “It was really powerful for me,” says Flanagan to have Native drummers and first Native woman on the Supreme Court swear her in at an inaugural full of rich cultures and history. “It’s historic and will resonate across the country,” says Gov. Walz about Flanagan becoming the first Native woman elected to an executive office in America.
Keith Ellison also makes history as the first African-American and Muslim attorney general in Minnesota. The former member of Congress from Minneapolis says the Walz campaign slogan is real for all the Democrats who swept the constitutional offices. “The theme of One Minnesota, we mean that, it’s embedded in the heart,” says Ellison, who noted that all faiths, all backgrounds, and geographic diversity were part of the swearing-in ceremonies. Ellison’s critics say he has a lot of work to do in rural Minnesota. He has held listen sessions outside the metro and finds the concerns similar from health care to criminal justice reform.
As our new officials settle in to their new roles, we’ll chronicle their journeys on TPT2 on Fridays at 7 pm and on Almanac’s online home.