Walz's surgery successful, power transfer to Lt. Gov. Flanagan ends

June 20, 2019 03:24 PM

Gov. Tim Walz's minor surgery on his left knee Thursday was successful, and the temporarily transfer of major responsibility and power to Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan has ended, according to a statement from the Governor's Office.

"She knows this budget, she knows the state agencies, she's been there on all the decision making," Walz told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS about his decision to temporarily transfer power to her while he's under anesthesia.

"I would make the case she's as prepared as any lieutenant governor ever has been on the operations of the state and ready to go."

Former Gov. Mark Dayton did not transfer power to either of his two lieutenant governors when he underwent multiple hospital procedures.

Walz said he thinks it's required by state law.

"I can't speak about the previous administration's choice, but I think the statute is pretty clear that this is what needs to be done," Walz said.

Walz temporarily transferred power to Flanagan at about 12:30 p.m. Thursday while he was under general anesthetic. The governor ended the transfer of powers early Thursday afternoon, according to a statement from the Governor's Office.

The statement also said Walz's surgery was successful and he's on track for a speedy recovery.

"Thank you to all the medical professionals who contributed to a quick and successful procedure that will allow me to start running again," Walz said in the statement. "And thank you to Lieutenant Governor Flanagan for holding down the fort at the Capitol today. I look forward to getting back in the office on Monday after a weekend of recuperation."

How it worked

A look at the steps Gov. Tim Walz tookThursday when he temporarily transferred power to Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan:

Before surgery: Walz provided written declaration to the President of the Senate and Speaker of the House.

During surgery: Flanagan assumed powers and duties of the office.

After surgery: Walz provided another written declaration to the President of the Senate and Speaker of the House. He then resumed his powers and duties.

Source: Office of Gov. Tim Walz

In a recent interview with Walz and Flanagan, they both talked about how they agreed she would have a more public and active role than previous lieutenant governors.

"This is different," Walz acknowledged. "Lt. Gov. Flanagan is not only a dear friend, I trust her judgement. I trust her instincts and she's a top advisor."

Flanagan said it was a role they talked about early on.

"We decided to do this differently from the very beginning," she said. "We ran together very early on and have continued to govern together.

"I am clear about who is the governor and so are Minnesotans, but I'm really proud to be a part of this team."

The last time a lieutenant governor took on the powers of governor was in 1993. Gov. Arne Carlson had knee surgery and temporarily transferred power to Lt. Gov. Joanell Dyrstad.

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Tom Hauser

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