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Continued: Rosenblum: It's about time for a woman to be Minnesota's governor

  • Article by: GAIL ROSENBLUM , Star Tribune
  • Last update: February 5, 2014 - 8:34 PM

In announcing her decision to not remain on the ticket for Dayton’s second-term bid, Lt. Gov. Yvonne Prettner Solon spoke proudly of her work on health care and seniors.

But she admitted that she had “expected to be more involved in some policy initiatives and I found ways to do that.” It would be a shame if this experience turned Prettner Solon, a former DFL state senator and Duluth City Council president, away from leadership.

It also would be a shame if Smith can’t continue to lead boisterously in the lieutenant governor role, if elected.

Formerly Dayton’s chief of staff, she graduated from Stanford University and has an MBA from Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College. She worked for General Mills and is a former vice president for Planned Parenthood of Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota. She got the Vikings stadium deal back on track, and was tapped by Dayton to land a multibillion-dollar, state-backed expansion of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester.

Most intriguing, her insider status means she’s had lots of practice at working well with her boss. In a 2013 profile of Smith, written by Star Tribune political reporter Baird Helgeson, Dayton described Smith “as a natural leader, very charismatic, very smart.”

Former Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak was quoted as saying Smith jumps into, instead of away from, problems and was known as “the velvet hammer” around City Hall.

This will be her first foray into personal campaigning. Klobuchar, a friend and fan of Smith’s, believes she could be the necessary turning point for this little-known office, turning up the heat.

“Vice President Walter Mondale was the first person to create much more of a partnership with the president,” Klobuchar said. “Similarly, she could create a different model than we’ve seen in the past.”

 

gail.rosenblum@startribune.com

612-673-7350 • @grosenblum

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