Governor Mark Dayton Appoints Lieutenant Governor Tina Smith to Serve as United States Senator

Smith has dedicated her career to improving Minnesotans' lives, building an economy that works for all


December 14, 2017

Smith led efforts to expand early education, fight for working families, grow Minnesota's clean energy economy, and combat the opioid crisis

ST. PAUL, MN – Governor Mark Dayton today announced that he will appoint Lieutenant Governor Tina Smith to serve as United States Senator for Minnesota. Smith will be appointed to serve a one-year term in the Senate, concluding in January 2019. Minnesotans will choose a U.S. Senator to serve the remainder of the term being vacated by Senator Al Franken in a Special Election, which will be held concurrently with the 2018 General Election on November 6, 2018.

During her time as Lieutenant Governor, Tina Smith has focused on building an economy that works for all Minnesotans, and making state government work better for the people it serves. Tina helped expand paid parental leave for Minnesota workers, crack down on wage theft, combat the opioid crisis, and grow Minnesota's clean energy economy. Tina also led efforts to enroll tens of thousands of children in high-quality early learning programs, expand access to high-speed internet in Greater Minnesota, and expand access to jobs and economic opportunity for all Minnesotans.

Governor Dayton said, "Tina Smith is a person of the highest integrity and ability. There is no one I trust more to assume the responsibilities of this important office. I know that she will be a superb Senator, representing the best interests of our state and our citizens."

Tina Smith will resign the Office of Lieutenant Governor prior to being sworn into the United States Senate, which will occur following Senator Al Franken's formal resignation from the Senate. She will then immediately begin her work on behalf of Minnesotans as United States Senator.

"I accept this appointment, and it will be my great honor to serve Minnesota as United States Senator," said Smith. "Though I never anticipated this moment, I am resolved to do everything I can to move Minnesota forward. I will be a fierce advocate in the United States Senate for economic opportunity and fairness for all Minnesotans."

About Tina Smith

In 2014, Tina Smith was elected by Minnesotans to serve as the state's 48th Lieutenant Governor. As Lieutenant Governor, Tina focused her efforts on building an economy that works for all Minnesotans, everywhere in Minnesota. Her leadership helped connect nearly 40,000 Greater Minnesota homes and businesses to high-speed internet, expand access to high-quality early learning opportunities for over 22,500 children, and support statewide job creation.

Tina also led efforts to expand access to paid parental leave for Minnesota families, securing the benefit for 34,000 state employees. She also advocated for legislation that would make paid sick and family leave available to all Minnesotans, and has advocated for legislation that, if passed, would help crack down on wage theft, when employers do not pay workers what they owe them for work they have already done.

As Lieutenant Governor, Tina led the state's efforts to combat the opioid crisis, meeting with survivors and families, and announcing new guidelines for medical providers designed to reduce the risk of opioid addiction. Tina also worked with a bipartisan group of lawmakers to urge the Legislature to pass legislation that would charge pharmaceutical companies a "penny a pill" to help pay for opioid addiction treatment, prevention, and recovery.

Tina also worked with a bipartisan coalition of legislators to make property taxes more fair for Minnesota farmers while still supporting bonds for local school construction. She also worked closely with farm groups to advocate for more affordable health care options for Minnesota farmers, who purchase their coverage on the individual market. Tina also has been a leading advocate for Minnesota's clean energy economy, proposing bipartisan legislation that would increase Minnesota's Renewable Energy Standard to generate 50 percent of the state's energy from clean, renewable sources by 2030.

Both as Lieutenant Governor and Chief of Staff, Tina played an integral role in efforts to build a state government that is representative of the diversity of its people. During her tenure, state government made a commitment to more than double the percentage of employees of color – with a goal of 20 percent by 2018. Thanks to these efforts, the State of Minnesota's workforce has gone from just 8 percent workers of color in January 2011, to 12.3 percent today, with more progress made every day to build a state government that reflects the people it serves.

Tina also led the Destination Medical Center initiative – a multi-billion-dollar public-private partnership designed to make the Greater Rochester Area "America's City for Health." The DMC is expected to create 30,000 new jobs in southeast Minnesota, and attract over $5 billion in private investment over the next 20 years. In 2016, Tina was recognized for her leadership by Congressional Quarterly Roll Call, which named her one of "The 25 Most Influential Women in State Politics."

Before being elected Lieutenant Governor, Tina served as Governor Dayton's Chief of Staff. In that role, she managed the daily operations of state government – a $45 billion enterprise with more than 34,000 state employees. As Chief of Staff, Tina led the Administration's Better Government initiative, aimed at making state government work better for the people it serves. Because of her leadership, state government sped up permitting times for businesses, made government forms and procedures easier to understand, and saved taxpayers money through more efficient, customer-friendly services.

Prior to her service in state government, Tina served as Chief of Staff for Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak. After the Interstate 35W Bridge collapse in 2007, Tina worked with the Administration of Governor Tim Pawlenty and Minnesota's Congressional Delegation to secure fast-track funding to rebuild the bridge in record time.

Tina moved to Minnesota in 1984 for a job in marketing at General Mills. She left General Mills to start a small business that served state and national businesses and nonprofits. Tina previously served as the Vice President of Planned Parenthood of Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, where she expanded education and outreach efforts to increase women's access to healthcare.

Tina graduated from Stanford University and earned an MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College. Before college, she worked in Prudhoe Bay on the Trans-Alaskan Pipeline. Tina and her husband Archie have been married for more than 30 years. They have two sons, Sam and Mason, who also live in Minnesota.


Tina Smith: A Strong Leader for Minnesota:

The Process for Appointing a United States Senator in Minnesota and the Process of Succession for the Office of Lieutenant Governor:

Governor Dayton Appoints Lt. Governor Tina Smith to serve as United States Senator (Video)


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