Lt. Governor Peggy Flanagan Named BSU’s 38th Distinguished Minnesotan
Peggy Flanagan, Minnesota’s 50th lieutenant governor, is the recipient of Bemidji State University’s 38th Distinguished Minnesotan honor. Flanagan is the highest ranking Indigenous woman elected to executive office in U.S. history and is the first American Indian to hold statewide office in Minnesota.
Serving as lieutenant governor to Minnesota Governor Tim Walz since 2018, Flanagan’s platform priorities continue to be children, families, communities of color, American Indians and low-income and working people.
Lt. Governor Flanagan is a 2002 graduate of the University of Minnesota, where she earned degrees in American Indian studies and child psychology. An advocate for Minnesota’s children, families and people of color, Flanagan began her career at Wellstone Action, an organization since renamed Re:power, dedicated to continuing the legacy of the late Senator Paul Wellstone’s inclusive politics. After her nearly decade-long employment at Wellstone Action, she was named the executive director of Children’s Defense Fund – Minnesota, a non-profit child-advocacy organization, where she continued her work to improve the lives of Minnesota’s families.
In 2015, Flanagan was elected to the Minnesota House of Representatives for the communities of St. Louis Park, Golden Valley, Plymouth and Medicine Lake. During this time, Flanagan served as the DFL lead on the Child Care Access and Affordability subcommittee and co-founded the People of Color and Indigenous caucus with fellow DFL legislators. The caucus looks to improve the education, health and economic opportunities for people of color and indigenous communities across the state and continues to be a legislative priority to this day.
In October, Flanagan visited the Bemidji State University campus for a conversation with American Indian students about everyday challenges including child care, support for single parents and bringing Indigenous students and history to the forefront of Minnesota State education curriculum.
A member of the White Earth Band of Ojibwe, Flanagan praised the accomplishments of American Indian students and reflected on her own time and struggles as an undergraduate student.
The Distinguished Minnesotan award acknowledges the contributions of current or former residents of the state who have performed exemplary service to the people of Minnesota or the United States.
Traditionally, the Distinguished Minnesotan addresses graduating seniors at Bemidji States Commencement ceremony but due to COVID-19, the ceremony will be held at a later date.