Margaret Anderson Kelliher

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Margaret Anderson Kelliher
MAK Headshot (cropped).jpg
Commissioner of Minnesota Department of Transportation
Assumed office
January 7, 2019
57th Speaker of the Minnesota House of Representatives
In office
January 3, 2007 – January 4, 2011
Preceded bySteve Sviggum
Succeeded byKurt Zellers
Minority Leader of the Minnesota House of Representatives
In office
June 20, 2006 – January 3, 2007
Preceded byMatt Entenza
Succeeded byMarty Seifert
Member of the Minnesota House of Representatives
from the 60A district
In office
January 1999 – January 4, 2011
Preceded byDee Long
Succeeded byMarion Greene
Personal details
Born (1968-03-11) March 11, 1968 (age 52)
Mankato, Minnesota, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)David Kelliher
EducationGustavus Adolphus College (BA)
Harvard University (MPA)

Margaret Anderson Kelliher (born March 11, 1968) is an American politician, current Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Transportation, and a former member of the Minnesota House of Representatives. A member of the Minnesota Democratic–Farmer–Labor Party, she represented District 60A, which includes portions of the city of Minneapolis in Hennepin County, located in the Twin Cities metropolitan area. First elected in 1999, she served until 2011, also serving as the Speaker from 2007 to 2011. She is the second woman (after Dee Long) to hold the position of House speaker. She was an unsuccessful candidate for the DFL nomination for Governor of Minnesota in the 2010 gubernatorial election, losing to former Senator Mark Dayton. On June 5, 2018, she registered as a candidate for the DFL nomination to the U.S. House of Representatives in Minnesota's 5th congressional district, going on to lose in the primary.

Political career[edit]

Kelliher worked as a legislative staffer for then-Speaker Robert Vanasek and then-Senate President Allan Spear before being elected to the legislature herself.[1][2]

Anderson Kelliher served as Minority Whip from 2003 to 2006, and in January 2006 became the first Assistant Minority Leader of the Minnesota House. In June 2006, she was selected by her caucus to succeed Rep. Matt Entenza as Minority Leader, assuming the position after the legislative session came to a close. After the Democrats won control of the House in the 2006 election, she was selected by her caucus to be Speaker starting in January 2007.[3] She succeeded Rep. Steve Sviggum in that position. On January 6, 2009, she was re-elected Speaker for the 2009–2010 biennium.

Anderson Kelliher was appointed by Governor Tim Walz to serve as the Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Transportation

A woman wearing a suit with a Margaret Anderson Kelliher for Governor button.
Kelliher campaigning for governor in 2010

2010 gubernatorial campaign[edit]

On September 16, 2009, Anderson Kelliher announced that she would seek the DFL endorsement for governor in 2010. She joined a field that included two other former house minority leaders, Democrat Matt Entenza and Republican Marty Seifert.[4]

On April 24, 2010, Anderson Kelliher was endorsed by the DFL state convention to serve as the party's candidate for governor. Anderson Kelliher won after her closest rival, Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak, dropped out after the sixth convention ballot.[5] This made her the first woman to earn major-party endorsement for a gubernatorial election in Minnesota.

While Kelliher won the party's endorsement, she still had to win the Democratic primary. On August 10, 2010, Kelliher lost a narrow primary election to former U.S. Senator Mark Dayton, ending her campaign.[6]

Political positions[edit]

During her 2010 primary campaign Kelliher announced several policy and budget initiatives. In July 2010, she proposed that the state of Minnesota should borrow 2 billion dollars over 5 years to stimulate the construction industry in Minnesota;[7] however, she did not support using general fund dollars to build a new Vikings Stadium.[8]

Personal life[edit]

Anderson Kelliher grew up on a dairy farm in rural Blue Earth County, Minnesota. After graduating from Mankato West High School, she received a B.A. in history and political science from Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minnesota, and a Master of Public Administration from Harvard University. Anderson Kelliher and her husband, David Kelliher, have two children, Patrick and Frances.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Speaker of the House Margaret Anderson Kelliher Minnesota House of Representatives
  2. ^ Profile: New House Majority Leadership Archived September 27, 2007, at the Wayback Machine Jeff Fecke, Minnesota Monitor, November 15, 2006
  3. ^ Two Minneapolis lawmakers will lead Legislature Archived September 27, 2007, at the Wayback Machine Janet Kubat Willette, Agri News, November 14, 2006
  4. ^ "Kelliher announces that she's running for governor". Archived from the original on September 23, 2009. Retrieved May 12, 2017.
  5. ^ "DFL endorses House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher for governor". Archived from the original on April 29, 2010. Retrieved May 12, 2017.
  6. ^ AP: Dayton Wins DFL Nomination For Governor[permanent dead link]
  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on October 12, 2012. Retrieved July 31, 2010.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  8. ^ [1][dead link]

External links[edit]

Minnesota House of Representatives
Preceded by
Steve Sviggum
Speaker of the Minnesota House of Representatives
Succeeded by
Kurt Zellers
Preceded by
Matt Entenza
Minnesota House Minority Leader
Succeeded by
Marty Seifert
Preceded by
Dee Long
State Representative from Minnesota District 60A
Succeeded by
Marion Greene
Party political offices
Preceded by
Mike Hatch
Endorsed Gubernatorial Candidate,
Minnesota DFL State Convention

Succeeded by
Most Recent Endorsee