Gov. Mark Dayton Wednesday named former Minnesota National Guard Adjutant General Larry Shellito as his pick to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The pick is DFLer Dayton's third from among people who served under Republican former Gov. Tim Pawlenty. Dayton also asked Pawlenty's transportation commissioner Tom Sorel to stay at his post and picked Jim Schowalter, a former deputy commissioner of the management and budget agency, as his head of the Minnesota Management and Budget agency.

Shellito retired from the National Guard last year shortly before his 65th birthday and face mandatory retirement requirements.

Shellito said at the time: "It's a unique physical concept called age. I'm tired. It's been a long, steady run."

Former U.S. Sen. Dayton said he knows Shellito well.

"While a US Senator and a Member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, I worked closely with General Shellito on many projects, including my picnics for the families of Minnesota National Guard Members heroically serving in Iraq and Afghanistan and obtaining the first Congressional funding for the Guard’s pioneering ‘Beyond the Yellow Ribbon’ program," he said in a release. "I know General Shellito has a deep personal commitment to improving the quality of services for all Minnesota veterans and to increasing access to them."

Shellito, who had been well respected on both sides of aisle for his time at the Guard, returned the praise: "“I’ve worked with Governor Dayton for many years, and know firsthand his commitment and dedication to our veterans and their families through his tireless efforts to help establish the ‘Beyond the Yellow Ribbon’ program.  Together, we will ensure that our veterans are both well-cared for and honored for their service.”

 

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