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Old Capitol hand to lead Dayton's Labor and Industry agency

Posted by: under Gov. Mark Dayton Updated: December 22, 2010 - 3:44 PM

Gov-elect Mark Dayton Wednesday announced he'd picked Ken Peterson to be his Labor and Industry commissioner.

Peterson is a familiar face at the Capitol and familiar with the job -- he served in the same position under the former Gov. Rudy Perpich.

Peterson, Dayton's third commissioner appointment, also worked as a deputy attorney general under former Attorney General Mike Hatch and held several past prominent positions under former St. Paul Mayor Jim Schiebel. 

Most recently, Peterson has been a lobbyist, a fact not mentioned in the release the Dayton administration put out.

"I have known, worked with, and respected Ken Peterson for almost thirty years," Dayton said in a release. "He brings exceptional experience and expertise back to the agency he has led before."

Peterson's appointment quickly won praise from the Minnesota AFL-CIO President Shar Knutson.

"Having worked with Ken in the St. Paul Mayor’s office, I know he is someone who will be an advocate for Minnesota’s working people," she said in a release.

Dayton previously announced he'd asked Tom Sorel to stay on as his transportation commissioner and picked David Fredreckson to be his agriculture commissioner.



Although labor groups have been quick to praise Peterson's appointment, he said in an interview that he has also reached out to business.

"The first two calls I made, other than to my wife to tell her I got the job were to Shar Knutson (president of the MN AFL-CIO) and then to Dave Olson (president of the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce), to tell Dave and tell Shar that I want to work with them and see what we can do to fashion solutions," Peterson said.

He said of the DOLI job: "It is one of the few places where you get to work together with both labor and management."


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