Minnesota Governor-elect Tim Walz kicked off a statewide listening tour on Thursday – first stop? A friendly hometown crowd in Mankato.

Minnesota Governor-Elect Tim Walz and/or his Lieutenant Governor-Elect Peggy Flanagan will make stops in 24 Minnesota communities between now and Monday.

He said the intent of the event, and those in other communities across Minnesota over the next five days, is to gather input on how to increase the effectiveness of state agencies. “To talk about experiences that were either good or bad in the interface with these state agencies and what you’d like us to do to make to make that interface better. Because this truly is, when it comes to governance, this is about service to constituents. This is about service to consumers.”

State Representative Jack Considine of Mankato suggested splitting the Department of Human Services into two separate agencies because, “DHS covers everything from the Security Hospital to daycare, to give you an idea of how broad it is, and as a state representative on occasions I have trouble finding the person that I wanted.”

Walz greeted Mankato Mayor-Elect Najwa Massad ahead of the event.

Blue Earth County Commissioner and President of the Minnesota Transportation Alliance Vance Stuehrenberg advocated for increased transportation funding.and said, “Transportation is a big issue. It’s something that crosses all border. If you want One Minnesota, transportation feels that because there (are) no Republican or Democrat roads. We have an $800 million shortage every year.”

Nicollet County Commissioner Jack Kolars agreed and added the state has, “Six-billion dollars in needs for roads and bridges and transit throughout the state. As a county commissioner, joining with Commissioner Stuehrenberg, we need help.”

North Mankato State Senator Nick Frentz introduced Walz.

Minnesota State University, Mankato President Richard Davenport suggested recreating the Commissioner of Education position so that it would better serve all levels of higher education – from community colleges, private institutions, and four-year schools.

Governor-elect Tim Walz said a statewide listening tour, which made its first stop today (Thu) in Mankato, is meant to gather input on how to increase the effectiveness of state agencies. Minnesota State University, Mankato President Richard Davenport suggested recreating the Commissioner of Education position, “To bring together the different systems of higher ed. University of Minnesota System, the Min State System, private colleges. Obviously, I don’t care who’s in that position but it really needs to be examined.”

Walz and/or his Lieutenant Governor-Elect Peggy Flanagan will make stops in 24 Minnesota communities between now and Monday.