Gov. Tim Walz and Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan have announced appointments to the Governor’s Council on an Age-Friendly Minnesota. The Governor’s Council on an Age-Friendly Minnesota, established by Executive Order 19-38, will coordinate state and private-sector partners’ efforts to work across sectors, including state government, non-profits, communities, tribes, businesses, and others, to ensure Minnesota is an age-friendly state.
“As Minnesota’s population ages, we must face the opportunities and challenges this demographic shift presents,” said Walz. “The Governor’s Council on an Age-Friendly Minnesota will help us fulfill our vision of building communities that are respectful, inclusive, and supportive of everyone’s needs at every age.”
“The elders in our lives are a critical part of the fabric of our communities,” said Flanagan. “Whether they are grandparents or neighbors, mentors or volunteers, they are essential to our shared success. When we lift up the older adults in our communities, we lift up all Minnesotans.”
Members are Faron Jackson, Sr., Cass Lake; Anthony Taylor, Jocelyn Ancheta and Debra Howze, St. Paul; Rajean Moone, Woodbury, and Dian Rae Lopez, Alexandria.
Walz also designated Sherrie Pugh as chair. Sherrie Pugh has been designated to serve as the Minnesota Board on Aging’s representative on the Governor’s Council on an Age-Friendly Minnesota. The council’s membership also includes leaders representing nine state government entities.
Walz and Flanagan have also announced appointments and reappointments to other groups with ties to Minnesota’s disability community.
Marty Duncan, St. Peter, was reappointed to serve as superintendent member of the Board of the Minnesota State Academies. The board governs the state academies for the deaf and blind. The board promotes academic standards based on high expectations and an assessment system to measure academic performance toward the achievement of those standards.
The Statewide Independent Living Council also has new and returning members, Christy Caez Claudio, Minneapolis, fills an advocate seat. Claudio replaced Linda Lingen. Lingen, a St. Paul resident, moved into a council seat as the State Rehabilitation Council representative. Lingen replaces Anita Olson.
Bonnie Danberry, Mankato, is an independent living center representative. Danberry replaced Melissa Doherty.
Julia Washenberger, St. Paul, was appointed as a public member, replacing Mark Smaaladen. Nancy Yaklich, Bloomington, was appointed as a parent member, replacing Crystal Fairchild.
Gloria LaFriniere, Naytahwaush, was reappointed to an advocate council post.
The Statewide Independent Living Council is a federally mandated council under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. The council jointly develops and the State Plan for Independent Living. It monitors, reviews, and evaluates the implementation of the state plan, and also works collaboratively with the Centers for Independent Living and coordinates activities with other entities in the state that provide services similar or complementary to independent living services.