Tim Walz

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Tim Walz
Tim Walz official photo.jpg
Governor of Minnesota
Assuming office
January 7, 2019
LieutenantPeggy Flanagan (elect)
SucceedingMark Dayton
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Minnesota's 1st district
Assumed office
January 3, 2007
Preceded byGil Gutknecht
Succeeded byJim Hagedorn (elect)
Personal details
BornTimothy James Walz
(1964-04-06) April 6, 1964 (age 54)
West Point, Nebraska, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Gwen Whipple
EducationChadron State College (BS)
Minnesota State University, Mankato (MS)
Military service
Allegiance United States
Service/branch United States Army[1]
Years of service1981–2005[1]
RankArmy-U.S.-OR-09c.png Sergeant major[1]
Battles/warsGlobal War on Terrorism[2][3]
AwardsArmy Commendation Medal
Army Achievement Medal (2)
Army Reserve Components Achievement Medal (6)
Global War on Terrorism Service Medal

Timothy James Walz (/ˈwɔːlz/; born April 6, 1964) is an American politician who is the governor-elect of Minnesota. A member of the Democratic Party, he has served as the U.S. Representative for Minnesota's 1st congressional district since 2007.[4] The district comprises the state's southern end, running along the entire border with Iowa; it includes Rochester, Austin, Winona and Mankato.

A retired master sergeant in the Army National Guard, Walz is the highest-ranking enlisted soldier ever to serve in Congress. He was first elected in 2006, defeating six-term Republican incumbent Gil Gutknecht. He was reelected five times and serves on the Agriculture Committee, Armed Services Committee and Veterans' Affairs Committee. Walz also serves on the Congressional-Executive Commission on China.

In March 2017, Walz announced that he would not run for reelection to Congress and instead run for governor of Minnesota. On November 6, 2018, Walz was elected to the governorship, defeating the Republican nominee, Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson.[5]

Early life, education, and career[edit]

Walz was born in West Point, Nebraska, the son of Darlene R. and James F. "Jim" Walz. He is of German, Irish, and Swedish ancestry.[6] The son of a public school administrator and community activist, Walz was raised in Chadron, Nebraska, a rural community in the northwestern portion of the state.

Walz graduated from Butte High School in a class of 25 students, and went on to earn a Bachelor of Science degree in social science education from Chadron State College. Walz's first teaching experience was at the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. He then accepted a teaching position with WorldTeach in the People's Republic of China.[7]

Walz enlisted in the Army National Guard in 1981, and over the course of his 24-year career rose to the rank of command sergeant major. In 1989, he earned the title of Nebraska Citizen-Soldier of the Year. After a deployment to Italy with his Guard unit as part of Operation Enduring Freedom, Walz retired from the Army National Guard and resumed teaching as a geography teacher and football coach at Mankato West High School.[7]

Walz and his wife, Gwen, ran Educational Travel Adventures, accompanying high school juniors and seniors on summer educational trips to China.

U.S. House of Representatives[edit]

Political campaigns[edit]

Walz decided to run for Congress in 2006.[8] He had no opponent for the DFL nomination in the September 12, 2006 primary election. He beat incumbent Republican Gil Gutknecht in the general election on November 7, and took office on January 3, 2007. After the election, Gutknecht was described as having been caught "off guard" and Walz as having "resolved never to get caught like that himself. … He packaged himself as a moderate from Day One, built an office centered on constituent service and carved out a niche as a tireless advocate for veterans."[9]

Walz was reelected in 2008 with 62% of the vote, becoming only the second non-Republican to win a second full term in the district. He won a third term in 2010, defeating State Representative Randy Demmer with 50% of the vote. He was reelected in 2012, 2014, and 2016.[10]


Walz freshman portrait, 2007

Upon his swearing in, Walz became the highest-ranking retired enlisted soldier ever to serve in Congress,[11] as well as only the fourth Democrat/DFLer to represent the 1st District. The others were Thomas Wilson (1887–89), William Harries (1891–93), and Tim Penny (1983–95).

Walz serves on the House Agriculture Committee,[12] Committee on Veterans' Affairs, and the Armed Services Committee. Along with fellow Minnesota Democrat Keith Ellison, Walz opposed President Bush's plan to increase troop levels in Iraq.[13] In his first week as a legislator, Walz cosponsored a bill to raise the minimum wage, voted for stem cell research, voted to allow Medicare to negotiate pharmaceutical prices, and voiced support for pay-as-you-go budget rules, requiring that new spending or tax changes not add to the federal deficit.[14]

Representing a district that has traditionally voted Republican, Walz has cast votes ranging from moderate to liberal.[15] He voted against the act to Prohibit Federally Funded Abortion Services,[16] and voted to advance the Affordable Care Act out of the House.[17] He has also voted to continue funding for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan,[18] and against the 2008 TARP bill, which purchased troubled assets from financial institutions.[19]

Walz received a 100% rating from Planned Parenthood in 2012, from the ACLU in 2011, from the American Immigration Lawyers Association in 2009–10, from the AFL-CIO in 2010, from the Teamsters in 2009–10, and from NOW in 2007. In recent years he has received single-digit ratings from the National Taxpayers' Union, Citizens against Government Waste, Americans for Tax Reform, and Freedom Works. The US Chamber of Commerce gave him a 25% rating in 2010.[20] Walz was ranked the 7th most bipartisan member of the House during the 114th Congress (and the most bipartisan member from Minnesota) in the Bipartisan Index created by The Lugar Center and the McCourt School of Public Policy that ranks members of Congress by measuring how often their bills attract co-sponsors from the opposite party and how often they co-sponsor bills by members of the opposite party.[21]

Veterans' issues[edit]

Having served 24 years in the Army National Guard, Walz is the highest-ranking enlisted soldier to serve in Congress. As a freshman in Congress he was given a rare third committee membership when he was assigned to the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs.[22] Walz has championed enhanced veterans benefits since taking office in 2007. In May of that year the House unanimously passed his "Traumatic Brain Injuries Center Act" to set up five centers around the nation to study traumatic brain injuries and develop improved models for caring for veterans suffering from such injuries.[23]

Walz also supported the GI Bill of 2008, which expanded education benefits for veterans and in some cases allowed them to transfer education benefits to family members.[24] In 2009, Walz gave the keynote address at the American Legion National Convention in Louisville, KY. He spoke about the need for the VA and Department of Defense to work together to make sure that returning service men and women "do not fall through the cracks when they transition to civilian life."[25]

Walz was the lead House sponsor of the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act, which directs the Veterans Administration to report on veteran mental health care and suicide prevention programs. It also gives the VA permission to provide incentives to psychiatrists who agree to join the VA medical system.[26]

2008 financial crisis[edit]

During 2008, Walz repeatedly spoke out against using taxpayer money to bail out financial institutions; in late September he voted against the $700 billion TARP bill, which purchased troubled assets from these institutions.[27] Walz released a statement after the bill's passage, saying, "The bill we voted on today passes the buck when it comes to recouping the losses taxpayers might suffer. I also regret that this bill does not do enough to help average homeowners, or provide sufficient oversight of Wall Street."[28] For the same reasons, in December 2008 he voted against the bill that offered $14 billion in government loans to bail out the country's large automobile manufacturers.[29] In June 2009 Walz introduced a bipartisan resolution calling on the federal government to "relinquish its temporary ownership interests in the General Motors Corporation and Chrysler Group, LLC, as soon as possible" and stated that the government must not be involved in those companies' management decisions.[30]


Despite his votes against bailout bills that loaned taxpayer money to large banks and auto manufacturers, Walz did vote with his Democratic colleagues to support the 2009 American Recovery & Reinvestment Act. As a member of the House Transportation Committee, Walz saw the stimulus bill as an opportunity to work "with his congressional colleagues to make job creation through investment in public infrastructure like roads, bridges and clean energy the cornerstone of the economic recovery plan."[31] Walz has focused heavily on job and economic issues important to his southern Minnesota district, which has a mix of larger employers like the Mayo Clinic along with small businesses and agricultural interests. In July 2009 he voted for the Enhancing Small Business Research and Innovation Act, which he described as "part of our long-term economic blueprint to spur job creation by encouraging America's entrepreneurs to innovate toward breakthrough technological advancements."[32][33] Walz also urged assistance for hog and dairy farmers who struggled with lower prices for their commodities in 2008 and 2009.[34]


Walz was a public school teacher for 20 years. He opposes using merit pay for teachers.[35] Voting in favor of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, Walz pointed to its strong provisions in support of public school buildings.[36][37] Walz is on record supporting legislation to lower tuition costs.[38] In a February 12, 2009 speech, he said that the most important thing to do "to ensure a solid base for [America's] economic future … is to provide the best education possible for [American] children."[39] He has received strong backing for these policies from many interest groups, including the National Education Association, the American Association of University Women and the National Association of Elementary School Principals.[40]

Women's issues[edit]

Walz supports abortion rights[35] and has a 100% rating from Planned Parenthood.[20] The National Right to Life Committee gave him a rating of zero.[20] In early 2009, Walz voted for the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.[41]

LGBT issues[edit]

Walz strongly supports LGBT rights, including federal anti-discrimination laws on the basis of sexual orientation.[35] In a 2009 speech he called for an end to the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy. Walz voted in favor of the Matthew Shephard Hate Crimes Act and the Sexual Orientation Employment Nondiscrimination Act. In 2007, he received a 90% grade from the Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest LGBT organization.[20] In 2011, Walz announced his support for the Respect for Marriage Act.[42]

Recreational marijuana[edit]

Walz is a longtime supporter of legalizing both medical and recreational marijuana use.[43]

115th Congress Committee assignments[edit]

Caucus memberships[edit]

  • Chair, Congressional EMS Caucus[44]
  • Co-Chair, National Guard and Reserve Component Caucus[45]
  • Co-Chair, Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus[46]
  • Co-Chair, Congressional Veterans Jobs Caucus[47]
  • Member, LGBT Equality Caucus[48]
  • Congressional Arts Caucus[49]

Personal life[edit]

Walz and his wife, Gwen, married in 1994. They reside in Mankato, Minnesota, with their two children.[50]

Walz's brother, Craig, was killed by a falling tree during a storm in 2016. He was survived by his wife Julie, and their son, Jacob, who suffered severe injuries but survived.[51]

Election campaigns[edit]

Walz campaigning for governor in 2017


Minnesota gubernatorial primary, 2018
Party Candidate Votes %
DFL Tim Walz 242,531 41.62
DFL Erin Murphy 186,685 32.04
DFL Lori Swanson 143,116 24.56
DFL Tim Holden 6,385 1.10
DFL Olé Savior 4,021 0.69
Total votes 582,738 100


Minnesota's 1st Congressional district election, 2016 [52]
Party Candidate Votes %
DFL Tim Walz (incumbent) 169,074 50.34
Republican Jim Hagedorn 166,526 49.58
Write-in 277 0.08
Total votes 335,877 100
Democratic hold


2014 First Congressional District of Minnesota Elections
Party Candidate Votes % ±
DFL Tim Walz (Incumbent) 122,851 54.19 -3.33%
Republican Jim Hagedorn 103,536 45.67 -
Write-in Others 308 0.14 -


2012 First Congressional District of Minnesota Elections
Party Candidate Votes % ±
DFL Tim Walz (Incumbent) 193,211 57.52% +8.2%
Republican Allen Quist 142,164 42.33 -
Write-In Others 505 0.01 -


2010 First Congressional District of Minnesota Elections
Party Candidate Votes % ±
DFL Tim Walz (Incumbent) 122,390 49.4% −13.1%
Republican Randy Demmer 109,261 44.1% -
Independent Steven Wilson 13,243 5.3% -


2008 First Congressional District of Minnesota Elections
Party Candidate Votes % ±
DFL Tim Walz (Incumbent) 207,748 62.5 +9.5%
Republican Brian J. Davis 109,446 32.9 -
Independence Gregory Mikkelson 14,903 4.5 -


2006 First Congressional District of Minnesota Elections
Party Candidate Votes % ±
DFL Tim Walz 141,622 52.82 -
Republican Gil Gutknecht (Incumbent) 126,487 47.18 -13

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Once a Soldier... Always a Soldier" (PDF). Legislative Agenda. Association of the United States Army. 2011. Archived from the original (PDF) on 21 October 2013. Retrieved 28 January 2013.
  2. ^ "Corrections". Minneapolis Star Tribune. 11 May 2008. Retrieved 28 January 2013. A story on Page 04B last Sunday incorrectly described Democratic Rep. Tim Walz's military service. He is a veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom, the Afghanistan war, during which he served in Italy providing supply-line security.
  3. ^ "Walz Vows to Stand Up for Veterans". Congressman Tim Walz. United States House of Representatives. Retrieved 28 January 2013. Before retiring, Walz served overseas in Italy with his battalion in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
  4. ^ "Elections 2008". Chicago Sun-Times. 2008-10-23. Archived from the original on 2011-07-16. Retrieved 2008-10-24.
  5. ^ Coolican, J. Patrick (November 6, 2018). "Tim Walz defeats Jeff Johnson in high-stakes election for Minnesota governor". Star Tribune. Retrieved November 6, 2018.
  6. ^ "Ancestry® | Genealogy, Family Trees & Family History Records". freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com. Retrieved 2018-08-13.
  7. ^ a b "Tim Walz for US Congress". Archived from the original on 2006-12-13. Retrieved 2007-01-08.
  8. ^ Ed Felker. "Walz stays mum on choice for No. 2 House leader". Retrieved 2006-11-16.
  9. ^ James Hommann (14 October 2010). "Tim Walz confident about survival". Politico. Retrieved 17 August 2012.
  10. ^ "Democrat Tim Walz re-elected to Congress in southern Minnesota, defeating GOP's Jim Hagedorn". Star Tribune. November 4, 2014. Archived from the original on November 8, 2014. Retrieved November 8, 2014.
  11. ^ "Minnesota Congressman Tim Walz to Deliver Democratic Radio Address". Tim Walz. Archived from the original on 2007-04-25. Retrieved 2007-05-17.
  12. ^ "Walz, Ellison, get first committee assignments". Star Tribune. 2007-01-08. Archived from the original on 2007-01-12. Retrieved 2007-01-08.
  13. ^ Diaz, Kevin (2007-01-08). "Minnesota delegation offers cool response". Star Tribune. Retrieved 2007-01-09.[dead link]
  14. ^ Fischenich, Mark (2007-01-07). "Walz eager to dig into legislative issues". Community Newspaper Holdings, Inc. Archived from the original on 2012-09-09. Retrieved 2007-01-12.
  15. ^ "Minnesota's 1st Congressional District". OpenCongress. Archived from the original on 2011-09-17. Retrieved 2010-07-12.
  16. ^ "Project Vote Smart — Representative Walz on H Amdt 509 – Prohibiting Federally Funded Abortion Services". Votesmart.org. Retrieved 2010-07-12.
  17. ^ "Project Vote Smart — Representative Walz on HR 3962 – Health Care and Insurance Law Amendments". Votesmart.org. Retrieved 2010-07-12.
  18. ^ "Project Vote Smart — Representative Walz on HR 2642 – Funding for Military Operations in Iraq and Afghanistan". Votesmart.org. Retrieved 2010-07-12.
  19. ^ "Project Vote Smart — Representative Walz on HR 1424 – Financial Asset Purchase Authority and Tax Law Amendments". Votesmart.org. Retrieved 2010-07-12.
  20. ^ a b c d "Representative Timothy 'Tim' J. Walz's Special Interest Group Ratings". Project Vote Smart.
  21. ^ The Lugar Center - McCourt School Bipartisan Index (PDF), The Lugar Center, March 7, 2016, retrieved April 30, 2017
  22. ^ "Project Vote Smart — Representative Timothy J. 'Tim' Walz — Walz Receives Rare Third Committee Appointment". Votesmart.org. 2007-01-18. Retrieved 2010-07-12.
  23. ^ "Project Vote Smart — Representative Timothy J. 'Tim' Walz — Walz's TBI Legislation Unanimously Passes House". Votesmart.org. 2007-05-24. Retrieved 2010-07-12.
  24. ^ "Project Vote Smart — Representative Walz on HR 2642 – GI Bill, Funding for Midwest Flood Cleanup, Extension of Unemployment Benefits, and Other Provisions". Votesmart.org. Retrieved 2010-07-12.
  25. ^ "Project Vote Smart — Representative Timothy J. 'Tim' Walz — Congressman Walz Gives Keynote Address At American Legion National Convention". Votesmart.org. 2009-08-26. Retrieved 2010-07-12.
  26. ^ 114th Congress (2015) (January 7, 2015). "H.R. 203 (114th)". Legislation. GovTrack.us. Retrieved June 18, 2016. Clay Hunt SAV Act
  27. ^ "Project Vote Smart — Representative Walz on HR 3997 – Financial Asset Purchase Authority". Votesmart.org. Retrieved 2010-07-12.
  28. ^ "Project Vote Smart — Representative Timothy J. 'Tim' Walz — Walz Votes Against Bailout Plan". Votesmart.org. 2008-09-29. Retrieved 2010-07-12.
  29. ^ "Project Vote Smart — Representative Walz on HR 7321 – Automotive Industry Financing". Votesmart.org. Retrieved 2010-07-12.
  30. ^ "Project Vote Smart — Representative Timothy J. 'Tim' Walz — Walz Introduces Resolution Calling for Exit Strategy of the Federal Government's Ownership of Car Companies". Votesmart.org. 2009-06-26. Retrieved 2010-07-12.
  31. ^ "Project Vote Smart — Representative Timothy J. 'Tim' Walz — Walz Votes to Create Millions of Jobs Through House Economic Recovery Plan". Votesmart.org. 2009-01-28. Retrieved 2010-07-12.
  32. ^ "Project Vote Smart — Representative Timothy J. 'Tim' Walz — Rep. Tim Walz Votes to Create Small Business Jobs, Spur Economic Growth". Votesmart.org. Retrieved 2010-07-12.
  33. ^ http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2009/roll486.xml
  34. ^ "Project Vote Smart — Representative Timothy J. 'Tim' Walz — Walz Urges Swift Action to Assist Dairy Producers". Votesmart.org. Retrieved 2010-07-12.
  35. ^ a b c "Project Vote Smart — Representative Timothy J. 'Tim' Walz — Issue Positions (Political Courage Test)". Votesmart.org. Retrieved 2010-07-12.
  36. ^ "Project Vote Smart — Representative Walz on HR 3221 – Student Aid Program Modifications". Votesmart.org. Retrieved 2010-07-12.
  37. ^ "Project Vote Smart — Representative Walz on HR 1 – Appropriations, Tax Law Amendments, and Unemployment Benefit Amendments ("Stimulus Bill")". Votesmart.org. Retrieved 2010-07-12.
  38. ^ "Project Vote Smart — Representative Timothy J. 'Tim' Walz — Rep Walz Announces New Program to Make College More Affordable". Votesmart.org. Retrieved 2010-07-12.
  39. ^ "Project Vote Smart — Representative Timothy J. 'Tim' Walz — School Funding". Votesmart.org. 2009-02-12. Retrieved 2010-07-12.
  40. ^ "Project Vote Smart — Representative Timothy J. 'Tim' Walz — Interest Group Ratings". Votesmart.org. 2010-05-14. Retrieved 2010-07-12.
  41. ^ "Bill Text – 110th Congress (2007–2008) – THOMAS (Library of Congress)". Thomas.loc.gov. Retrieved 2010-07-12.
  42. ^ Ameigh, Sarah. "North Carolina's Anti-LGBT Measure: A Reactionary's Response to Progress". american humanist. american humanist. Archived from the original on 30 September 2011. Retrieved 25 September 2011.
  43. ^ https://www.southernminnesotanews.com/rep-walz-wants-recreational-marijuana-legalized-minnesota/
  44. ^ "EMS Caucus". Retrieved 2017-03-23.
  45. ^ "Membership". Retrieved 2016-06-18.
  46. ^ "Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus 114th Congress". Retrieved 2016-06-18.
  47. ^ "Congressional Veterans Jobs Caucus Members". Archived from the original on 2016-06-11. Retrieved 2016-06-18.
  48. ^ "Members". LGBT Equality Caucus. Retrieved 2017-03-23.
  49. ^ "Membership". Congressional Arts Caucus. Retrieved 13 March 2018.
  50. ^ "Full Biography". Honorable Tim Walz. 2012-12-11. Retrieved 2018-08-15.
  51. ^ Sederstrom, Noel. "Walz family gathers at St. Mary's in Duluth as rescued teen faces multiple surgeries". Retrieved 2018-08-15.
  52. ^ "November 8, 2016 General Election Unofficial Results". Minnesota Secretary of State. November 8, 2016. Retrieved November 20, 2016.

External links[edit]

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Gil Gutknecht
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Minnesota's 1st congressional district

Succeeded by
Jim Hagedorn
Party political offices
Preceded by
Mark Dayton
Democratic nominee for Governor of Minnesota
Most recent
Political offices
Preceded by
Mark Dayton
Governor of Minnesota

Taking office 2019
Current U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Adrian Smith
United States Representatives by seniority
Succeeded by
Peter Welch