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Power & The New Establishment

Power & The New Establishment
Photo by Thomas Strand
Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak (8),
Vikings punter Chris Kluwe (21),
and KARE-11 meteorologist Belinda Jensen (55)
on the Walker Art Center's rooftop patio

(page 1 of 4)

Minnesotans don't talk about power. Your neighbor might be your boss—might be the boss of a lot of people—but you don’t make a big deal about it and neither does she. We’re not impressed by authority. Not like Chicagoans or New Yorkers. We talk instead of community, which stokes our civic pride and our sense of equality, sometimes at the expense of realizing grand visions, celebrating leadership, and offering Martin Scorcese something—anything—to make a movie about. Well, somebody’s in charge. And like everything else, that somebody is changing. It’s no longer just the guy with the biggest cigar. It’s the woman with the website, the dude on a bike, the student in the wheelchair, the punter with balls. Here, in a snapshot of Twin Cities influence—debatable and incomplete by its very nature—our list of 75 leaders now calling the shots.

The 75 Most Influential People in the Twin Cities

[1] Gregg Steinhafel CEO of Target Corp. If all he did was sign the paychecks of some 28,000 Minnesotans as head of the state’s largest private employer, he’d still be top dog. But his own paychecks comprise the highest straight salary among local CEOs, and he’s greatly expanded Target’s Twin Cities footprint. There’s no escaping the company’s benevolent rule—bullseye.

[2] Mark Dayton Governor. His real test: leading with a DFL majority.

3] Amy Klobuchar U.S. Senator.  Most popular senator in the country and arguably for good reason.

[4] Al Franken U.S. Senator. Destined for an easier election in 2014.

[5] Greg Page CEO of Cargill. Head of the country’s largest private company and a major voice in how to feed a projected 9 billion people.

[6] Paul Thissen Speaker of the House. Leads with the first DFL-majority trifecta—House, Senate, and governorship—since 1990.

[7] Zygi Wilf Owner of the Minnesota Vikings. Shook a stadium out of empty state pockets.

[8] R.T. Rybak Mayor of Minneapolis. Emerged from a recession and the city-squeezing Pawlenty era with miraculous budget discipline, while stoking a billion-dollar building boom, keeping the Vikings in town, and helping keep Obama in the White House (as a vice-chair of the Democratic National Committee). It’s hard to imagine Minneapolis without him, and if he gets his wish—a political or executive job that keeps him in town—we won’t have to.

[9] Barbara Johnson President of the Minneapolis City Council. Without Johnson’s support, no Vikings stadium in Minneapolis.

[10] Chris Coleman Mayor of St. Paul. A key backer of the Central Corridor line and a fierce advocate for his city’s most impoverished neighborhoods, Coleman has earned the endorsement of Hillary Clinton and, in 2014, he’s expected to head the National League of Cities.

[11] Stephen Hemsley CEO of UnitedHealth Group. UnitedHealth Group ascended to the Dow Jones Industrial Index last fall, the only healthcare insurer on the list and the second Minnesota firm, with 3M.

[12] John Nienstedt Archbishop of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. A doctrinaire in an epic battle to hold the Catholic line.

[13] Marilyn Carlson Nelson Outgoing chair of Carlson. The wealthiest Minnesotan (along with her sister, Barbara) and an influential booster of businesswomen.

[14] Barbara Carlson Gage President of the Carlson Family Foundation. A major philanthropist in support of children.

[15] Joe Mauer Catcher, Minnesota Twins. Adrian Peterson may play better, but no local athlete is better for business.

[16] Eric Kaler President of the University of Minnesota. Keeping quality while fighting privatization.

[17] Linda Cohen Chair of the University of Minnesota Board of Regents. Demanding accountability.

[18] Gail Boudreaux CEO of UnitedHealthcare. Managing more than 50,000 employees, overseeing the health benefits of some 37 million people, and moving up Fortune’s list of the most powerful women.

[19] Mary Brainerd CEO of HealthPartners. HealthPartners’ merger with Park Nicollet, combining insurance and medical care, offers a glimpse of the future.

[20] Ralph Burnet City shaper. Synonymous with real estate and owner of the Foshay Tower’s W Hotel and Le Meridien Chambers hotel (featuring his art collection), Burnet has done more than any other mogul to shape Minneapolis’s image as a forward-thinking place.

Comments may be edited for length, clarity, or appropriateness.

Old to new | New to old
Jan 30, 2013 03:44 pm
 Posted by  Kay

where is Keith Ellison? A rapper and a basketball player before him? I do not agree with this at all.

Feb 1, 2013 10:23 am
 Posted by  LocalMusicFan

Dessa being on this list and Prince and slug not being on this list is a joke. At least she was very last - I am all for art being deemed influential, but it wasnt until Dessa started using her sexuality that she got noticed. Ugh and I also agree with Kay - like Keith Ellison or not he is pretty influential as a Minnesotan... Dessa is just the flavor of the year - I know 10 better female rappers and 20 better female singers just in the twin cities that nobody has head of.

Feb 1, 2013 10:29 am
 Posted by  KMF_OnlineEd

For a brief explanation from writer Tim Gihring regarding this article, why now, and why some of these individuals (and not others), listen to his interview on The Current:

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