Walz reappoints Phillips at Iron Range Resources & Rehabilitation

Mark Phillips

Today, Gov.-elect Tim Walz will reappoint Mark Phillips the commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation.

Phillips took the reins of the agency midway through Gov. Mark Dayton’s administration. I wrote about his tenure and speculated about the agency’s future in a Nov. 28 post. I did not know at the time that Phillips would be pushing for reappointment. His efforts were successful.

Phillips is a safe choice for Walz in navigating the perilous politics of the Iron Range. He’s broadly liked by people who interact with the agency. He’s also steered the agency away from the “swing and miss” mistakes of previous years, focusing on small projects and livability initiatives. In fact, the Iron Range Resources newsletter has even begun to inspire posts at this blog, which never happened before.

Probably most important to Walz, Phillips won’t upset the delicate power balance on a changing Iron Range. Old school Range DFLers, new Republican board members, mining advocates and budding new technocrats. All with egos the size of Giants Ridge.

Oh, and Giants Ridge bleeds cash.

Have I mentioned it’s not an easy job?

The Walz-Flanagan Administration appears to be making some ambitious moves with some of its commissioner selections, auguring for big policy pushes ahead. They likely don’t want a lot of hassle at Iron Range Resources, so Phillips gets another go as commissioner.


  1. Bill Hansen says

    Commissioner Phillips has done a great job. He is a walking encyclopedia of economic development in northeastern Minnesota.

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