Joanell Dyrstad

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Joanell M. Dyrstad
43rd Lieutenant Governor of Minnesota
In office
January 7, 1991 – January 3, 1995
Governor Arne Carlson
Preceded by Marlene Johnson
Succeeded by Joanne Benson
Personal details
Born (1942-10-15) October 15, 1942 (age 71)
St. James, Minnesota
Political party Independent Republican
Spouse(s) Marvin Dyrstad
Profession businessperson, politician

Joanell M. Dyrstad (born October 15, 1942) was the 43rd Lieutenant Governor of Minnesota. She served January 7, 1991 to January 3, 1995 and was elected with Governor Arne Carlson. She ran for the U.S. Senate seat in 1994 but lost in the primary to Rod Grams. She served as an Independent Republican (this was the official name of the state's Republican Party from 1975 – 1995).

Born and raised in St. James, Minnesota, Dyrstad (née Sletta) spent most of her adult life in Red Wing, where she served as mayor from 1985 to 1991. While serving as mayor, Dyrstad served on the local United Way chapter's board and was a member of the Minnesota League of Cities board. She also operated a local drugstore with her husband, Marvin. She is often credited with leading efforts to revitalize the historic riverfront of downtown Red Wing.

Though not the first female lieutenant governor in Minnesota, she did mark a first by being the first lieutenant governor in the state, and perhaps the nation, to deliver part of a state's State of the State address when she spoke for Governor Arne Carlson in 1991.

Though certainly an underdog in her 1994 attempt for the U.S. Senate, she ran an aggressive campaign in the Republican primary against Congressman Rod Grams, comparing Grams, a former news reporter, to bumbling fictional TV anchor Ted Baxter from the Minnesota-based TV program The Mary Tyler Moore Show. However, many have credited her defeat in the 1994 primary to her pro-choice & pro-gun control stances, which are often considered liberal in the Republican Party.

In the 2006 gubernatorial election, Dyrstad endorsed Independence Party nominee Peter Hutchinson over the more conservative Republican incumbent, Tim Pawlenty.[1]

She has been married to Marvin Dyrstad since 1965. They have two grown children, Troy and Anika.

Electoral history[edit]

  • 1994 Race for U.S. Senate (Republican Primary)
  • 1990 Race for Governor/Lieutenant Governor


  1. ^ [1] Star Tribune
Political offices
Preceded by
Marlene Johnson
Lieutenant Governor of Minnesota
Succeeded by
Joanne Benson