NEWSBRIEF: Met Council appointees announced

Gov. Tim Walz announced his 16 appointees to the Metropolitan Council on Feb. 25.

The East Side and South-West coverage areas will see two new faces for their respective districts of 13 and 15.

The appointments include Chai Lee, a long-time East Side St. Paulite for District 13. The district covers the East Side of St. Paul, Lilydale, West. St. Paul, South St. Paul, Mendota, Sunfish Lake, Newport, Mendota Heights and St. Paul Park. 

Lee, the son of Hmong refugee parents, worked for the City of St. Paul for six years on the communications team for former Mayor Chris Coleman, working with constituents, running the internship program and helping with administrative work. Since October 2015, he has worked for Nexus Community Partners for the organization’s Boards and Commissions Leadership Institute. He also serves on the St. Paul Capital Improvement Budget Committee.

Phillip Sterner will represent District 15, which covers Inver Grove Heights, Burnsville, Eagan, Rosemount and a majority of Dakota County.

Sterner grew up in Dakota County and served on the City of Rosemount’s Parks and Recreation Commission for six years and its city council for four years. He also served as state representative for District 37B. He has served on various other boards in Burnsville and owns insurance business in Apple Valley. Sterner received his degree from the University of St. Thomas.

According to a press release announcing the appointments, the new members become official March 4, pending confirmation by the Minnesota Senate. The new council members will be sworn in at a special meeting on March 6.

“These 16 individuals reflect the people of our metropolitan region,” said Gov. Walz in the press release. “They bring with them deep experience in the Council’s core work areas, a history of public service, robust business experience, and strong connections to community. I am confident in their commitment to servant leadership and public engagement.”

Some of the work the council will work on over the next four years will include reviewing the nearly 200 comprehensive plans from the counties, cities and townships within the Metropolitan Council’s seven county area, addressing affordable housing needs and overseeing transit projects like the Gold Line Bus Rapid Transit and growing the Metro Mobility bus program. 

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