Nora Slawik, former mayor of Maplewood, was sworn in as Chair of the Metropolitan Council on January 9.
In addition to serving five years as mayor of Maplewood, Slawik earlier served seven terms as a legislator in the Minnesota House, representing Maplewood and Oakdale.
“I am very familiar with the good work of the Council and its importance to our region,” Slawik said in remarks at her first Council meeting. “That’s one of the reasons that I accepted this position – I believe in the mission and work of the Council.
“From housing that is affordable, a modern transit system, equity and opportunity for all, land planning, wastewater, and world-class parks, the Council plays a huge role in our region’s economic competitiveness and community prosperity.
“Our ability to accomplish these things is the result of the Council’s work to convene partners to tackle our shared challenges,” Slawik said. “This is the same approach I had as a local mayor. I worked in partnership with other mayors because I knew we were facing common challenges. And by working together, we could come up with common solutions.”
Walz and Flanagan visit the Met Council
Gov. Tim Walz and Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan, who appointed Slawik, visited the Council after the swearing-in ceremony.
Walz described meeting the owners of Far North Spirits near the Minnesota/North Dakota/Canadian border, which the owners described as the “frontier of Minnesota.” They told Walz that they are very concerned about the ability of people in the metro area to move around, especially on transit, “mainly because 97% of our product is consumed by people going to bars and restaurants in the metro area,” Walz related. He called it “the simplicity and the beauty of One Minnesota” that people in the far reaches of the state know they depend on a strong metro region and vice versa.
“We know the vitality of our communities depends on people’s ability to be able to get around,” Flanagan said. “So we talk a lot about education and health care, but if you don’t have transportation and you don’t have housing and we’re not passing policy and looking at things through a lens of equity and inclusion, we’re not going to have the kind of state and region where everyone has an opportunity to thrive.”
New Council to be named by March
In addition to naming the Chair, the governor will select 16 additional members to the Council by early March. Under state law, they must be sworn in by March 6.
The application deadline for Council seats was January 9. A 12-member Nominating Committee will select candidates to interview in public meetings and then will make recommendations to the governor.
Nominating Committee’s public meeting schedule
Brief bio of Chair Nora Slawik