Dayton Picks Tina Smith To Lead His Office

Gov.-elect Mark Dayton this morning announced his key lieutenants, mostly picking women who have worked on his campaign or his transition team.

Tina Flint Smith will be his chief of staff, the person who usually is the gatekeeper in the governor’s office.

She was a senior Obama campaign advisor in 2008, and held high positions in Planned Parenthood of Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota; Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak’s office; Walter Mondale’s 2002 U.S. Senate campaign; and Ted Mondale’s 1998 governor campaign.

Smith’s career began at General Mills, and she founded a marketing and communications firm and worked on many political campaigns.

Dayton said Smith “is widely known and respected not only as a strong, seasoned leader, but also for her ability to build bridges and reach common ground. I’ve asked her to spearhead our focus on government reform, so that we can deliver the best possible services to taxpayers at the lowest possible costs.”

Dayton’s senior leadership team will be his campaign manager, Dana Anderson, along with Michelle Kelm-Helgen and Andrea Mokros. Katharine Tinucci will be press secretary and Fatima Villasenor will be senior aide.

Also, the Democratic governor-elect picked Josie Johnson as co-chairwoman of his transition team, replacing Smith.