Gov. Tim Walz has created an economic council to recommend ways to build back an economy impacted by a years-long pandemic, as well as create a long-term economy that provides broad-based prosperity.

The Governor's Council on Economic Expansion was established by executive order Tuesday, Sept. 14, and includes 15 leaders from labor, business, philanthropic and nonprofit groups.

"As we continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic and look toward the future, we must take bold action to build back Minnesota's economy stronger than before, with people — our strongest asset — at the center of the blueprint," Walz said in a statement.

The council will recommend actions that can be taken by the public, private and nonprofit sectors. It will also suggest policy changes and spending proposals that can be enacted during the 2022 legislative session.

The council will be co-chaired by Jeff Ettinger, former Hormel CEO, and Paul Williams, CEO and president of the Project for Pride in Living.

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"We know the impact of the pandemic has fallen especially hard on communities of color and Minnesotans with low incomes," Williams said. "Together, we can build on a thriving economy that will help everyone in our state emerge stronger."

Commissioner of Human Services Jodi Harpstead said the pandemic has led to a rethinking of how "our economy can work to support all Minnesotans."

Other members include:

  • Scott Burns, CEO and co-founder, Structural;
  • Brett Carter, executive vice president and chief customer and innovation officer, Xcel Energy;
  • Joe Fowler, president, Minnesota Building and Construction Trades Council;
  • Jodi Hubler, vice chair, Medical Alley Board of Directors;
  • Brenda Hilbrich, executive vice president, SEIU Healthcare Minnesota;
  • Neel Kashkari, president and CEO, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis;
  • Marcus Owens, executive director, African American Leadership Forum;
  • Tuleah Palmer, president and CEO, Blandin Foundation;
  • Joo Hee Pomplun, executive director, Alliance for Metropolitan Stability;
  • Nonoko Sato, executive director, Minnesota Council of Nonprofits;
  • Traci Tapani, co-president, Wyoming Machine; Bharti Wahi, executive director, Children’s Defense Fund-Minnesota, and
  • Penny Wheeler, CEO, Allina Health.