MDVA Commissioner Herke announces retirement following ALS diagnosis

Larry Herke, commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs, announced Tuesday he will be retiring next week after being diagnosed with ALS.

“It was an honor to serve veterans and their family members in my role as commissioner and I am grateful to Governor Walz and Lieutenant Governor Flanagan to have had the opportunity,” Herke wrote in a statement. “I will continue to serve veterans in retirement as I partner with veteran organizations to advocate for advances in medical research toward a cure for ALS, a disease veterans receive a diagnosis of twice as often as the general population.” 

Herke’s last day in his post will be Sept. 22, and Deputy Commissioner Brad Lindsay will assume his position on an interim basis until Gov. Tim Walz nominates a replacement.

Before becoming MDVA commissioner in 2019, Herke served more than three decades in the military, both with the U.S. Army and the Minnesota National Guard.

“As a veteran of the U.S. Army and Minnesota National Guard, Commissioner Larry Herke dedicated his career to serving our state and country,” Walz said in a statement. “As commissioner, he worked tirelessly to make progress toward ending veterans homelessness, strengthen our veterans homes and cemeteries, and helping Minnesota’s veterans and their families receive the best care and benefits. I am deeply grateful for his service and wish him well in his retirement.” 

The governor’s office is accepting applicants for the next Veterans Affairs commissioner through Oct. 3.