Former Hennepin County Commissioner Peter McLaughlin has been named executive director of LISC Twin Cities, a nonprofit community development organization that has invested more than $700 million in local projects.
McLaughlin said Monday that the job "is going back to what I used to do and what I did on the County Board."
The Twin Cities LISC office is one of 30 regional sites across the U.S. LISC stands for Local Initiatives Support Corp.
"It's a fantastic fit for me," he said from New York City, where he was visiting LISC's national headquarters. "The organization works to get investment into low income and communities of color that historically haven't had a lot of investment."
McLaughlin, 69, represented downtown and much of south Minneapolis on the County Board for 28 years. He led the county's expansion of light-rail transit, affordable housing and community reinvestment programs that spurred new businesses and jobs, and he was known for his work in multiple community partnerships in the Phillips and Cedar-Riverside neighborhoods and along the Midtown Greenway.
"Peter is a remarkable addition to the LISC family who has spent his career driving efforts to build a broadly shared prosperity throughout the Twin Cities," said Maurice A. Jones, LISC's president and CEO in a news release Monday. "His unique experience, both as a public official and in the private sector, will be a great asset to LISC and, even more importantly, to the many communities where we work."
McLaughlin succeeds Andriana Abariotes, who left LISC Twin Cities in 2018 to co-direct the Interdisciplinary Research Leaders program at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health.
McLaughlin lost a re-election bid last year to longtime Hennepin County social worker Angela Conley. She and Irene Fernando, who was elected to succeed Commissioner Linda Higgins, became the first two commissioners of color elected to the board.
Early in his career, McLaughlin served as executive director of the Minneapolis Community Business Employment Alliance, working with employers to recruit, train and place unemployed and underemployed residents in quality jobs.
He also worked as operations director for the Urban Coalition of Minneapolis and with the Powderhorn Residents Group on affordable housing issues.
As a county commissioner, McLaughlin worked with LISC on housing and development along the Green Line light-rail corridor between downtown Minneapolis and St. Paul, public safety initiatives in the Phillips neighborhood and the county's job training and placement program.
McLaughlin said the problem of affordable housing can't be solved with traditional sources of public money. LISC can mobilize private, public and philanthropic sectors for money to attack disparities that exist and give people outside the mainstream a chance to prosper, he said.
"That's why I want to do this work," he said.