Longtime lawmaker Margaret Kelliher named MnDOT commissioner

Updated Jan 10, 2019
Margaret Anderson Kelliher is MnDOT’s new commissioner.Margaret Anderson Kelliher is MnDOT’s new commissioner.

Minnesota’s governor-elect, Tim Walz, has appointed Margaret Anderson Kelliher as commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT).

“As I travel across Minnesota, I hear often about the pressing need to repair our crumbling roads and bridges,” says Walz. “We must take action to ensure Minnesotans can travel safely and that businesses can compete in the 21st century economy.”

The governor-elect says Kelliher understands the importance of addressing the diversity of transportation needs across the state.

In 2008, as speaker of the Minnesota House of Representatives, she led a move that increased the state’s gas tax for the first time in 20 years. Walz has consistently voiced support for a new gas tax in the state.

“Margaret is a proven and dedicated leader who will build coalitions to improve our state’s transportation system,” says Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan. “She has the skills, dedication, and years of knowledge to tackle our state’s most pressing transportation needs.”


Kelliher: known for bringing people together

“The work that we can do together; staff, stakeholders, community members and working with the legislature to ensure a sustainable transportation system for Minnesota’s future needs is exciting and will require us to build on the legacy of strong investment and create our transportation and transit system of the future,” she says in a news release.

Tim Mackey, president and business manager for the labor union known as LIUNA of Minnesota and North Dakota, also weighed in, saying that “Margaret Anderson Kelliher is the right person to lead MNDOT and to fix Minnesota’s roads, bridges and transportation infrastructure in order to ease congestion and improve safety.

“In the Legislature, ” Mackey continues, “Margaret demonstrated her ability to bring people together and get things done. With deep ties to Greater Minnesota, Anderson Kelliher embodies the Walz-Flanagan Administration’s commitment to One Minnesota, which is vital to creating the transportation system Minnesotans deserve.”

Margaret Anderson Kelliher, 50, grew up in southern Minnesota on a family farm near Mankato, which the state’s fifth largest city outside of the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area. That enabled her to see firsthand the need for transportation funding throughout greater Minnesota.


Proven success leading transportation investments

Kelliher served twelve years in the Minnesota House, including two terms as the Minnesota House speaker. She also served ten years on both the Transportation Policy and Transportation Finance committees. As House speaker, Kelliher oversaw the successful Transportation and Transit Funding package in 2008, creating an investment of new and dedicated funds into Minnesota’s bridges, roads and transit system.

At the time of passage, the legislation was a groundbreaking investment in the multimodal transportation and transit system in Minnesota and nationally.

Kelliher has served on many volunteer community boards including chairing the Governor’s Broadband Task Force, Minnesota State (formerly Minnesota State Colleges and Universities or MnSCU), Greater Metropolitan Workforce Development Council and Textile Center Board of Minnesota.

She graduated from Gustavus Adolphus College with a BA in political science and Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government with a master’s degree in “Public Affairs Mid Career.”  Married with two adult children, she lives in Minneapolis.