New Met Council Chair May Face Pushback From Republicans

The incoming chair will face waves of opposition from Republican leaders.

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Met Council
Image Credit: Office of Gov. Mark Dayton

ST. PAUL, Minn. — The Met Council has new leadership. On Tuesday, Gov. Mark Dayton announced that current Chair Adam Duininck will step down from his role as head of the Met Council.

In his place, Dayton announced the appointment of Minnesota State Rail Director Alene Tchourumoff to head the Met Council.

Dayton gave a glowing review of Duininck, who according to the Star Tribune, will start a new role as head of government affairs for the union North Central States Regional Council for Carpenters in August.

“Under his [Duininck’s] outstanding leadership, the Twin Cities Metropolitan Area has continued to make significant progress toward a comprehensive transit system, which will play an essential role in the future success of our state,” Dayton said in a published release. “I wish him well in his future endeavors.”

Tchourumoff has spent much of her adult life working in infrastructure and transportation, she has served as State Rail Director since 2016. Before her current role, she worked for the Public Works Department in Hennepin County and as a financial and strategic policy advisor at the U.S. Department of Transportation while working for Deloitte Consulting.

“Alene [Tchourumoff] is a great choice for the Met Council. She has strong technical knowledge, good people skills and a can-do attitude,” former Under Secretary for Policy at the U.S. Department of Transportation Roy Kienitz said of Tchourumoff. “She will be a fantastic leader for the region.”

Her can-do attitude will be put to the test as leading Republicans in the state have been steadfast in their efforts to abolish the Met Council, or at the very least limit its scope of authority.

Sen. Dave Osmek of Mound, who is expected to announce his candidacy for governor this summer, had been pushing pieces of legislation to reign in, and more recently, abolish the Met Council.

On the last day of session, Osmek turned in a 214-page piece of legislation which states, “A bill for an act relating to local and state government; abolishing the Met Council.” Osmek has been pushing for reformation of the Met Council since 2015.

Jeff Johnson, a repeat gubernatorial candidate, produced a video calling for the reformation of the Met Council. The video gained more than 20,000 views at the time. In the video, Johnson calls for the rebuilding of the Met Council.  

In Washington, Rep. Jason Lewis is also doing his part to ensure the council goes no further. In March, a bill authored by Lewis passed through the Transportation & Infrastructure Committee in the United States House of Representatives.

“Under the rule, the Met Council, a Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO), could have expanded their boundaries and taxed the suburbs to help fund downtown projects,” Lewis told Alpha News at the time. “We’re protecting the ability of local decision makers to do what works for their own communities.”  

 

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