Walz appoints new Department of Commerce commissioner

Gov. Tim Walz on Thursday appointed Grace Arnold as commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Commerce, the office that protects consumer rights.

The news release cited Arnold’s strong experience in health care and insurance policy and her role as temporary commissioner, as well as her prior service as deputy commissioner of insurance at the department.

Arnold replaces Steve Kelley, whose appointment was rejected in September 2020 in a power struggle between the Republican majority in the state Senate and Walz, a Democrat.

“Commissioner Grace Arnold is deeply committed to the prosperity and well being of all Minnesotans, and she is an effective, consumer-focused, and steady leader — particularly during one of the most challenging periods in Minnesota history,” Walz said in a statement announcing Arnold’s appointment. “I am proud to appoint her to this critical role of protecting consumers and ensuring a strong, equitable, and resilient Minnesota. As we work to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and build a stronger future, Commissioner Arnold is the right leader for Minnesota.”

The department is the state’s consumer protection agency that oversees and regulates more than 20 industries, including insurance, financial institutions, energy, real estate, and telecommunications.

“It is my great honor to lead the dedicated public servants at the Department of Commerce who work every day to create a better Minnesota for generations to come,” Arnold said in the statement. “Together, we can achieve a 100% clean energy future, protect our seniors from fraud, safeguard consumers, and create a strong and fair marketplace where all Minnesotans can thrive.”

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