Hanson The Point Man

Minnesota Finance Commissioner Tom Hanson is Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s pick to coordinate federal stimulus funds.

The Mahnomen native is a long-time Pawlenty adviser and runs the Minnesota Management and Budget Department.

Democratic legislative leaders encouraged Pawlenty to name a point person to coordinate the billions of dollars Minnesota should receive beginning in late February, but they wanted someone from outside the administration.

"While I know and respect Tom Hanson, he already has a big job on his hands as Minnesota faces a historic $5 billion deficit," House majority Leader Tony Sertich, DFL-Chisholm, said. "The Legislature will need to work closely with him as we balance the budget. The task of keeping an eye on the spending of federal recovery dollars should be handled by someone who does not already have a full plate."

Assistant Senate Majority Leader Tarryl Clark, DFL-St. Cloud, did not rule out the Legislature appointing its own federal stimulus person.

U.S. senators plan to debate the issue in the next few days after the House passed it Thursday night.

“While the federal stimulus package hasn’t yet been finalized, we will be prepared to use any funds provided to Minnesota efficiently and effectively,” Pawlenty said. “As state government’s point person on the budget, Commissioner Hanson works closely with agencies, legislators and our federal partners and is best suited to oversee these efforts.”

Hanson graduated from Concordia College in Moorhead Magna Cum Laude in 1985.