Joanell Dyrstad

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Joanell 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 75)
St. James, Minnesota, U.S.
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, serving from January 7, 1991, to January 3, 1995. She was elected with Governor Arne Carlson. In 1994 Dyrstad ran for the U.S. Senate but lost the Independent Republican primary to Rod Grams.


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 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 Minnesota's first female lieutenant governor, Dyrstad was the first lieutenant governor in the state, and perhaps the nation, to deliver part of a State of the State address when she spoke for Governor Carlson in 1991.

In 1994, Dyrstad ran an aggressive campaign in the Independent Republican primary for U.S. Senate against Congressman Rod Grams. She compared Grams, a former news reporter, to bumbling fictional TV anchor Ted Baxter from the Minnesota-based TV program The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Many[who?] have credited her defeat to her liberal stances on abortion and gun control, which alienated her from many conservative Republicans.

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

Joanell and Marvin Dyrstad have been married since 1965. They have two 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