ST. PAUL – Governor-elect Tim Walz and Lieutenant Governor-elect Peggy Flanagan, Thursday, announced that Sarah Strommen has been appointed as Commissioner of the Department of Natural Resources. She is the first woman to hold the DNR's top administrative position.
“As a sportsman and lifelong member of Pheasants Forever, I know firsthand the importance of this agency and being a steward of our land,” said Walz. “Sarah Strommen built her career integrating science and policymaking across several sectors, and has a deep understanding and appreciation for our natural resources. She embraces our vision for One Minnesota and will work to build consensus among citizens and stakeholders alike.”
Flanagan said Strommen is well qualified. “She knows the ins and outs of the department, while bringing an innovative and collaborative approach to the job.”
Strommen said she's excited and honored by the appointment. “Minnesota has a strong outdoor legacy, and I am excited to work collaboratively with staff, stakeholders, and everyday Minnesotans to enhance our diverse and first-rate outdoor experiences for all.”
Strommen, 46, brings more than 20 years of experience to the Department of Natural Resources, with a focus on integrating the field of biological science with citizen education and public policymaking. After graduating college, Strommen used a Fulbright research scholarship to do field work in Costa Rica, and subsequently earned her Masters degree in environmental management from Duke University. She brings decades of experience in different sectors. Working in the nonprofit sector, Strommen served as the Policy Director for Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness and as Associate Director of the Minnesota Land Trust. She joined the State of Minnesota in 2012, serving as the Assistant Director and Acting Deputy Director for the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources. Since 2015, Strommen has served as Assistant Commissioner for the divisions of Fish and Wildlife and Parks and Trails at the DNR. After serving several terms on the Ramsey City Council, Strommen was elected as Mayor of Ramsey in 2012 – an office she held until May 2018. While in public office, she worked to develop innovative and effective ways of engaging citizens in the local decision-making process.
Strommen grew up in St. Paul and received her Bachelor’s degree from Grinnell College. She now lives in Plymouth with her husband, son, and two dogs.
In the interest of transparency, the incoming Walz-Flanagan Administration is releasing the names of the other finalists considered for the position. They are Tom Landwehr and Keith Parker.
Other appointments announced on Jan. 3 included: Thom Petersen as Commissioner of the Department of Agriculture; Laura Bishop as the Commissioner of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency; Jan Malcolm as Commissioner of Department of Health; Tony Lourey as Commissioner of the Department of Human Services; Janet Johnson as Commissioner of the Bureau of Mediation Services; and Rebecca Lucero as Commissioner of Department of Human Rights.