Who is Minnesota's New Governor Tim Walz?

Minnesota’s 41st governor, Tim Walz. Photo courtesy of the United States Congress.

Minnesota’s 41st governor, Tim Walz. Photo courtesy of the United States Congress.

Tim Walz, a member of the Democratic Farmer-Labor party, has been serving in the United States government for 12 years. Elected to Minnesota’s first congressional district in 2006, he was reelected five times until deciding to run in the 2018 gubernatorial election and ultimately became Minnesota’s 41st governor.

Walz ran with Peggy Flanagan as his choice for lieutenant governor. She is currently the 50th lieutenant governor of Minnesota.

At age 17, Walz enlisted in the National Guard, and served for 24 years, retiring as Command Sergeant Major Walz from the 1-125th Field Artillery Battalion in 2005. According to his campaign website, “when he retired, Tim was the highest-ranking enlisted National Guard soldier in southern Minnesota.”

From 1989-1990, Walz taught in the People’s Republic of China through a program pioneered by Harvard University. This made him a part of “one of the first government-approved groups of American teachers to work in Chinese high schools,” according to his campaign website. Following this was an illustrious teaching career in Nebraska and Minnesota that amounted to various awards.

Walz and Flanagan have an education plan called the One Minnesota 21st Century Education for Every Child Plan, which states that “every single child in Minnesota deserves an education that prepares them to succeed in a 21st century economy.”

Walz was involved in many congressional acts, including the Farm Bill, the Lewis & Clark Regional Water System, Minnesota Highway 14, the Minnesota State Veterans Cemetery in Preston (MN), and the STOCK Act, a bill that sought to limit congressional insider trading. In addition to these, Walz was also instrumental in passing a bill to reduce the number of veteran suicides, called The Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act.

 His gubernatorial campaign was focused on unifying the state as “One Minnesota.”

“We find ourselves at a time when economic, social, racial and geographic division feels rampant,” Walz said in his inauguration speech. “I will not normalize behavior that seeks to deepen and exploit these divides. I will not normalize policies that are not normal — ones that undermine our decency and respect. If Washington won’t lead, Minnesota will.”

Walz placed heavy emphasis on the issues of education and healthcare reform during his campaign, which he touched on in his inauguration speech: “Disparities in our educational system based on geography, race, or economic status hold back not only our students, but our entire state from reaching its full potential,” he said. “We must make Minnesota the ‘Education State’ for all children — black, white, brown, and indigenous,” he said.

“We can and must ensure that every Minnesotan has access to quality care at a price they can afford.”

During the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce's annual policy kickoff event on Jan. 9, Walz said that he understands worries about over-taxation and wants to make sure tax dollars are spent effectively. He also said his administration will listen to business owners’ concerns about onerous regulations, according to an article from the Star Tribune.

For a more complete overview of Walz’s positions, visit OnTheIssues, a website dedicated to outlining politician’s views on important issues.

NewsClare Cade