Mark Stenglein, a former Hennepin County commissioner who is running for re-election to the board, suffered a serious brain injury in a fall Friday and has been in the hospital since.
His wife, Lynette Wittsack, said Stenglein, 62, fell in his driveway after he got out of the car. He was immediately taken by ambulance to Hennepin County Medical Center.
Wittsack didn’t disclose the nature of his injuries but said doctors immediately performed surgery on Stenglein. Wittsack said her husband is in stable condition, is sitting up and will be released soon. “He’s very alert,” she said.
Visitors have been in to see him, and Wittsack said he is able to communicate. She expects him to resume campaigning for re-election to the County Board seat he held for 15 years. “His plan is to get back on the campaign trail as soon as he can,” Wittsack said.
Stenglein, who is 6 feet 4, is in otherwise good health, his wife said. “He gets his 10,000 steps in on a daily basis,” she said.
The former commissioner, who in recent years has been a political consultant, often walked the skyways during the lunch hour. An outgoing, friendly guy, Stenglein was always quick with a greeting and could be counted on to offer a sharp observation or a laugh-inducing quip.
Stenglein served on the board from 1997 to 2012. He left to lead the Minneapolis Downtown Council. He held that job for just over a year.
When his successor, Commissioner Linda Higgins, announced her retirement from the County Board, Stenglein said he would seek re-election.
The county’s Second District includes northeast and north Minneapolis as well as St. Anthony, Golden Valley and Plymouth.
Along with then-board Chairman Mike Opat, his friend and colleague, Stenglein was an early supporter of the county’s plan to subsidize construction of Target Field. The ballpark opened in 2010. He has also been a supporter of light rail and commuter rail.
Stenglein is a longtime resident of northeast Minneapolis.