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Hot Dish Politics

Tracking Minnesota’s political scene and keeping you up-to-date on those elected to serve you

Judicial panel recommends DHS leader Jesson for Court of Appeals slot

Department of Human Services Commissioner Lucinda Jesson, one of Gov. Mark Dayton's closest advisers, is one of four recommended candidates by a judicial panel for openings on the Minnesota Court of Appeals. 

Dayton is due to fill two vacancies on the appeals court. He is not bound by the recommendations of the Commission on Judicial Selection, but such appointments are typically heavily influenced by the panel's choices. 

In addition to Jesson, the other three recommended candidates are Judge Diane Bratvold of the Fourth Judicial District; Judge Jeffrey Bryan of the Second Judicial District; and Tracy Smith, deputy general counsel at the University of Minnesota. 

Jesson has served in Dayton's cabinet since the beginning of his first term, at the helm of state government's largest agency. She is a former assistant state attorney general and deputy Hennepin County attorney, and also taught law at Hamline University. 

In choosing whether or not to appoint Jesson, Dayton must weigh whether he can afford to lose her experience in leading a massive, important state agency. Human Services distributes billions in government aid and assistance programs, supervises sex offenders and operates several state treatment facilities, helps run the MNsure health insurance marketplace, and reaches into many other complex policy areas. 

Dayton will interview the candidates in the coming weeks before making the appointments. The governor is also likely to name a new Supreme Court justice sometime in 2016, to replace Justice Wilhelmina Wright as she moves to a federal judgeship. 

Clinton to campaign in Minneapolis on Dec. 15

Hillary Clinton, the former secretary of state and Democratic front-runner for president, will campaign in Minneapolis on Dec. 15. 

Clinton's campaign announced the event on Wednesday. The candidate "will lay out the case of her campaign and ask people to get directly involved," according to a press release. "She'll discuss the issues that keep Minnesotans up at night and how she'll address them as president."

The campaign did not release any other details of the Dec. 15 stop and did not identify where the event would be held. 

Minnesota's Democratic and Republican presidential caucuses are on March 1. Clinton's main competition is likely to be Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who has attracted some support in Minnesota. But Clinton has largely locked down the state's Democratic establishment, lining up endorsements from more than 60 elected officials and other party leaders. 

Clinton's Dec. 15 visit will be the first by a Democratic candidate since the end of August, when Clinton, Sanders and Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley were all in Minneapolis for a Democratic National Committee meeting. 

The last Republican candidate to visit was Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, who made several Minnesota stops earlier this month. 

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