The Veterans and Military Affairs Committee held a confirmation hearing this week for Acting Commissioner Larry Herke. As the Acting Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs, Larry Herke has led the department through challenging times due to COVID-19 while spearheading Governor Walz’s push to end veteran homelessness.
Acting Commissioner Herke has a distinguished career with over 30 years in public service. A proud Mankato State grad, his record reflects a lifetime of service to Minnesota and the United States, with deployments to Iraq with the Minnesota National Guard and recently as the Director of Enterprise Sustainability for the State of Minnesota. He is a Legion of Merit and Bronze Star Medal recipient.
Governor Walz appointed Acting Commissioner Herke on Jan. 7, 2019 but has yet to be confirmed by the full Senate. Senate Republicans have held up the confirmation of Commissioner Herke and several other commissioners appointed by Governor Walz to use as leverage when commissioners or state agencies take action that goes against Republican priorities. Holding up the confirmation of an appointee with an unblemished service record for over two years, for the sake of gaining political leverage, is terrible governance and sets a terrible precedent.
The committee voted unanimously to send Acting Commissioner Larry Herke’s confirmation to the Senate floor with a recommendation.