Walz sees strong likelihood of Dayton cabinet holdovers

Gov.-elect Tim Walz said there is a “strong possibility” that some top members of Gov. Mark Dayton’s administration will remain on the job when he takes office in January, at least temporarily.

Walz told MPR News on Friday that he wants to ensure that there are no gaps in critical roles, particularly public safety and state finance-related posts. Walz has yet to name any of the roughly two dozen agency commissioners who will help run the executive branch.

“We’re leaving that process open for people to apply until the 7th of December. I’m out encouraging people. I’ll be going around the state this week encouraging people to serve Minnesota to come in,” Walz said. “Then that will start reducing down to the numbers and then I will be doing the interviews with finalists. So I hope we will have some names coming out early to mid December.”

This is the first time that a Democrat was elected to succeed a two-term DFLer as governor. Some Dayton commissioners have said they’re open to working under Walz.

Walz is due to take his oath on Jan. 7. He has until mid-February to produce a proposed two-year budget that could approach $50 billion.

Walz has delegated one search to his two children: the hunt for a first dog.

He said he expects the family will adopt a rescue animal to go along with the rescue cat they have now. He promised his son, Gus, a dog if he was elected governor.

“He is still asking and we are still looking,” Walz said. “My wife seems to think later rather than sooner. Gus has different thoughts.”

Walz added, “I kind of have put him and Hope on the mission of finding that puppy or that dog and get him moved over there.”