Kathleen Blatz's service to Minnesota as a jurist and lawmaker who advanced the rights of children will receive well deserved recognition this weekend from the National Governors Association. Nominated by Gov. Tim Pawlenty, she is one of three state officials to win the NGA's annual award for distinguished service to state government.  

Blatz was a leading voice for children's well-being, both as a member of the Minnesota House for 15 years and as a judge who served almost eight years as chief justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court. Her Children's Justice Initiative moved displaced children more quickly through foster care and into permanent homes. and heightened national awareness of ways in which the legal system could better serve at-risk kids. 

Blatz stepped down from the bench in January 2006, but she hasn't retired. She's active as an arbitration judge, sits on a number of community and corporate boards, and recently completed a stint as chair of the University of St. Thomas law school's board of governors. Here's hoping the message she hears when she receives the NGA award on Saturday is "Keep it up."