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

Posted by: Rachel E. Stassen-Berger 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.

 

Update:

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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