Gov. Mark Dayton has picked Hamline University professor Lucinda Jesson to direct the Department of Human Services. The office will make the announcement official later this morning.
Jesson is a former prosecutor and deputy attorney general who helped Governor Dayton with his transition. Jesson, who directs Hamline’s Health Law Institute, will have one of the toughest jobs in state government. Health care costs are growing more rapidly than other portions of state government and subsidized health programs may be a top target as Dayton and the Legislature look to erase a $6.2 billion projected budget deficit. Jesson will be expected to manage those cuts and implement the state’s transfer of 95,000 people to Medicaid.
Former Governor Tim Pawlenty’s DHS Commissioner said the Medicaid expansion would take up to ten months to do. Dayton, who signed an executive order allowing for the expansion, said that timeline is unacceptable.
Morning Edition’s Cathy Wurzer did an interview with Jesson (who goes by Cindy). You can listen to it here: