Gov. Tim Walz and Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan have recently announced a number of appointments. One new group is the Governor’s Advisory Council on Opioids, Substance Use, and Addiction.
“The Advisory Council, along with the recently appointed Addiction and Recovery Director, will provide valuable insight from a variety of perspectives, including those with lived experiences and those from communities that are disproportionately impacted by addiction,” said Walz. “This partnership will work to ensure that individuals at all stages of recovery, and their families, have a voice to improve access to the resources they need.”
Members are Colin Cash, Onamia; Kyle Christianson, Moorhead; John Donovan, Big Lake; Beth Elstad, Duluth; Pamela Lanhart, Burnsville; Jeffrey Lind, Bemidji; Bobby Marines, Rochester; Anderson Saint Georges, Detroit Lakes; Kimberly Stokes, Britt; William Messinger, Wendy Jones and Fiyyaz Karim, St. Paul, Kate Noffke , St. Paul; and Farhia Budul, LaTricia Tate, Arden Two Bears, Travis Winship and Auumn Dillie, Minneapolis.
Walz signed legislation during the 2022 Legislative Session establishing the role of Addiction and Recovery Director, the Subcabinet on Opioids, Substance Use, and Recovery, and its corresponding Advisory Council. The advisory council will meet to identify opportunities for and barriers to the development and implementation of policies and strategies to expand access to effective services for Minnesotans. The advisory council will also examine services and supports needs and provide opportunities for Minnesotans who have experienced addiction.
Other appointees have also been named recently. James McKinstra, Moorhead, was reappointed to the Minnesota Board on Aging. The Minnesota Board on Aging develops, coordinates, evaluates, and administers federal and state funds for programs for the aging, makes grants to seven area agencies on aging and nonprofit agencies, and serves as an advocate for older persons.
Dave McAuliffe, North Branch, was reappointed to the Minnesota Commission of the Deaf, DeafBlind, and Hard of Hearing as Metro Advisory Committee representative. The Commission of the Deaf, DeafBlind, and Hard of Hearing serves as the principal agency of the state to advocate on behalf of deaf, deafblind, and hard of hearing Minnesotans by working to ensure those persons have equal access to the services, programs, and opportunities available to others.
Trevor Turner, Minneapolis, was reappointed to the State Rehabilitation Council as a current or former recipient of vocational rehabilitation services. Kyle Van Acker, Ham Lake, was reappointed as Governor’s Workforce Development Board Representative. The State Rehabilitation Council’s duties include guiding decisions about Minnesota’s Vocational Rehabilitation Services (VRS), coordinating between VRS and centers for independent living and other state councils with interest in issues pertaining to disability and employment, and reporting to the governor and the U.S. Department of Education on the status of vocational rehabilitation programs.
Joseph Dailey, Prior Lake, was reappointed to the Statewide Independent Living Council. The Minnesota Statewide Independent Living Council (MNSILC) works collaboratively with the Centers for Independent Living to create, monitor, review, and evaluate the State Plan for Independent Living. MNSILC coordinates activities with other entities in the state that provide services similar or complementary to independent living services.
Angelique Piper of Ramsey and Panou Xiong, Minnetonka, were reappointed to the Ombudsman Committee for Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities
The Ombudsman Committee for Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities advises and assists the ombudsman in developing policies, plans, and programs to benefit persons with mental illness, developmental disabilities, chemical dependence, and emotional disturbance.
Oluwagbenga Ogungbe, Oakdale, was reappointed to the Board of the Minnesota State Academies. The Board of the Minnesota State Academies governs the State Academies for the Deaf and Blind. It promotes academic standards based on high expectations and an assessment system to measure academic performance toward the achievement of those standards.