Equity and the Environment in the Walz Administration

This event took place in the past. For more information on our Policy Forum Series, click here.

Join Environmental Initiative, Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan, and leaders from the Walz Administration to discuss their environmental priorities for this session and how they will be integrating the Walz Administration’s commitment to equity into their work.

The  Walz Administration has made addressing racial and economic disparities a central part of their “One Minnesota” platform. “One Minnesota” envisions a state where “people whose lives are most impacted by public policy choices have a seat at the table,” and policies are designed to “protect our environment, invest in renewable energy and jobs, and maintain our roads, bridges, and transit across the state.” Lt. Gov. Flanagan will be joining us for this event to provide opening remarks on the State’s commitment to equity, and how that relates to the ongoing environmental work of the Commissioners and staff members who will be speaking.

This event will also:

  • Address the relationship between equity, environmental policies and programs, and regulation
  • Highlight the top policy priorities of new Commissioners and members of their staff
  • Discuss opportunities to advance equity, inclusion, and environmental protection


“Equity and the Environment in the Walz Administration” will be an opportunity for those across the environmental community to hear from the Walz Administration and make connections between social equity and environmental policies, programs, and regulation. We have invited Commissioners and members of their staff from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, Minnesota Department of Commerce, Minnesota Department of Health, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency to discuss specific priorities for their departments. For more information on what to expect, please read more about our policy forum series.

We will be having two panels of speakers:


We will be joined by the following commissioners for a conversation on specific policy and programatic priorities:

  • Commissioner Laura Bishop, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency
  • Commissioner Steve Kelley, Minnesota Department of Commerce
  • Commissioner Jan Malcolm, Minnesota Department of Health
  • Commissioner Thom Petersen, Minnesota Department of Agriculture
  • Commissioner Sarah Strommen, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources


We will be joined by the following State staff members for a conversation on how a focus on equity and inclusion is shaping the implementation of policies and programs:

  • Levi Brown, Tribal Liaison Manager of the Office of Government Affairs, Minnesota Department of Transportation
  • Michelle Gransee, Manager of the State Energy Office, Minnesota Department of Commerce
  • Tom Hogan, Director of the Environmental Health Division, Minnesota Department of Health
  • Rachel Hopper, State Parks and Trails Visitor Services and Outreach Manager, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
  • Helen Waquiu, Director of Public Engagement and Tribal Liaison, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency


Agenda is subject to change.

  • 8:00       Registration, Networking, and Refreshments
  • 8:30       Welcome from Environmental Initiative and Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan
  • 9:15        Visioning with State Commissioners: State leaders will discuss emerging opportunities and departmental priorities to advance equity and inclusion while ensuring continued environmental protection.
  • 10:45     Break
  • 11:00     Implementing Equity in Environmental Policy: State department staff in environmental agencies discuss how policies, programs and environment are interacting with equity in implementation.
  • 12:30     Event End


If you are interested in this event, please contact Lillie Benowitz at 612-334-3388 ext. 8107.