Gov. Mark Dayton has appointed Lucinda Jesson to be commissioner of the Department of Human Services, the state’s biggest agency.
Jesson, a professor at Hamline University and director of the university’s Health Law Institute, had been assisting with Dayton’s transition team, leading its outreach and appointments efforts. She previously served as deputy attorney general and chief deputy Hennepin County attorney, and has practiced law in the areas of health care, human services and employment.
The agency has an $11 billion budget and more than 7,000 employees. It provides and administers health care coverage, economic assistance and other services for children, people with disabilities and older Minnesotans.
Making the appointment, Dayton said:
“Addressing the significant challenges before us requires [Jesson’s] expertise in health policy and law, her experience managing large organizations, and her ability to bring creativity and innovation to an agency that is on the front lines, working directly with thousands of Minnesotans. Already, I’ve charged her with speeding the delivery of services, including the implementation of the Medicaid expansion, so that we can provide improved and more cost-effective care to those in need.”