Minnesota leaders announce new economic council

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Tuesday, state leaders announced a new council on economic development.

Gov. Tim Walz, along with business leaders, announced the new "Governor’s Council on Economic Expansion." The council brings together 15 labor, business, philanthropic and nonprofit leaders from across the state to provide recommendations on expanding Minnesota’s economy, according to a release.

Joining Walz and business leaders for the announcement on Tuesday was Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan, Department of Employment and Economic Development Commissioner Steve Grove, Department of Human Services Commissioner Jodi Harpstead, and Department of Labor and Industry Commissioner Roslyn Robertson.

"As we continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic and look toward the future, we must take bold action to build back Minnesota’s economy stronger than before, with people — our strongest asset — at the center of the blueprint," said Walz. "The Council on Economic Expansion brings together the brightest minds in Minnesota to create a strong economic future that includes every Minnesotan. I am grateful to each of these leaders, and I look forward to their work on this council."

The council will first identify immediate actions, potential policy changes and recommendations to leverage remaining American Rescue Plan funding to advance equitable economic growth. The group will then focus on developing a long-term roadmap to achieve a more equitable, inclusive, sustainable and resilient Minnesota through public, private and nonprofit systemic change.

Co-chairing the council will be Jeff Ettinger, former Hormel CEO, and Paul Williams, CEO and president of Project for Pride in Living.

"I am excited to work with this multifaceted Council to offer recommendations aimed at supporting a brighter, more inclusive economic future for all Minnesotans," said Ettinger. "Result-oriented recommendations matter to the intended beneficiaries of the programs, to taxpayers who fund these initiatives, and to all of us who believe in effective government in Minnesota."

The council will work with state, local and tribal governments; businesses; workers; higher education institutions; nonprofits; grassroots movements; and communities who have been disproportionately impacted by the inequitable systems of the past and by the pandemic.

"Minnesota has a tremendous opportunity in front of us to write the next chapter of our economy in a way that works for everyone," said Grove. "We’re grateful to this extraordinary group of leaders for giving their time to advise government to use the unprecedented resources at our disposal to make lasting change."

For a list of those involved in this council, click here.