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Dayton names new labor chief

ST. PAUL - Gov.-elect Mark Dayton today announced the appointment of Ken Peterson to head the Department of Labor and Industry when Dayton's administration takes office next month.

Mark Dayton
Minnesota Gov.-elect Mark Dayton. (AP File Photo/Jim Mone)

ST. PAUL - Gov.-elect Mark Dayton today announced the appointment of Ken Peterson to head the Department of Labor and Industry when Dayton's administration takes office next month.

Peterson held the same position for former Gov. Rudy Perpich two decades ago.

"I have known, worked with, and respected Ken Peterson for almost 30 years," Dayton said in a statement. "He is one of the most dedicated and effective public servants I have ever known. He brings exceptional experience and expertise back to the agency he has led before."

Peterson has held a number of other public positions, including deputy commissioner of the Minnesota Public Service Department and director of the St. Paul Department of Planning and Economic Development. His most recent position was in the Minnesota Attorney General's office, where he was deputy attorney general for government operations.

He also was executive director of the Minnesota Public Interest Research Group and deputy mayor and chief of staff for former St. Paul Mayor Jim Scheibel.

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"I look forward to aiding Gov. Dayton in his commitment to protecting the hard-working men and women of Minnesota in the workplace, and ensuring that Minnesota stays the great place to work that it is," Peterson said in a statement.

Minnesota AFL-CIO President Shar Knutson praised the selection.

"Having worked with Ken in the St. Paul mayor's office, I know he is someone who will be an advocate for Minnesota's working people," Knutson said in a statement.

Peterson is the third agency appointment. Dayton chose to retain Tom Sorel as head of the Department of Transportation and selected Dave Frederickson on Tuesday to head the agriculture department.

Peterson will succeed Steve Sviggum, who held the post from 2007 until he was appointed a month ago to take over the Management and Budget Office. Cindy Valentine has been temporary commissioner

Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

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