Mayo Sees No Conflict with Smith as Lt. Gov Candidate

Updated: 02/04/2014 9:52 PM
Created: 02/04/2014 6:37 PM
By: Steph Crock

(ABC 6 News) -- Governor Mark Dayton announced Tuesday Tina Smith will be his running mate as Lieutenant Governor.

The name may sound familiar, Smith is currently the Governor's Chief of Staff and also Board Chair of the Destination Medical Center Corporation. Smith is now resigning as Chief of Staff to start campaigning alongside Governor Dayton.

"I just sent her a note this morning saying congratulations on that but I hope she's able to stay on as chair of the board, the DMCC Board," said Rochester Mayor and DMCC Board Member Ardell Brede.

We won't know until November if she'll even get the position of Lieutenant Governor. We're told she will, however, continue as DMCC Chair. "The governor called to ask me that, and I was pleased to learn that she will continue in her role as the DMCC," said President and CEO of Mayo Clinic Dr. John Noseworthy.

"I'm not so sure that it would've gotten done without her helping with all of that," said Mayor Brede.

Even Governor Dayton gave her credit for it saying in a release Tuesday ..."She led the effort to make the first-of-its-kind Destination Medical Center."

With a role so close to the governor's side, will this be a conflict of interest? Republicans in December called her dual-role then a "massive ethical concern." "There may be a time, budgetary and in the policy

realm, where she's going to face some very tough decisions where her loyalties are probably going to have to be divided," says Republican Representative Peggy Scott from Andover.

Mayor Brede, however, doesn't agree. "I don't see where that is a conflict at all. She is an appointee by the governor, and like I said, that already had come up once and I didn't think it went anywhere," he said.

Mayo officials say they've made sure it’s okay. “We looked at that. We had our group evaluate that to make sure and there was not, so that’s a good thing," said Dr. Noseworthy.

In Smith's announcement Tuesday she speaks of dedication beyond her efforts in the ‘med-city.’ "I'm going to be listening to Minnesotan’s from all different parts of the state and helping to lay the groundwork with all of you, not only for a winning campaign, but for another four 4 years of progress," said Smith at the press conference.