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Timothy James Walz (/ˈwɔːlz/; born April 6, 1964) is an American politician who is the 41st governor of Minnesota, serving since January 2019. A member of the Democratic–Farmer–Labor Party, he served as the U.S. Representative for Minnesota's 1st congressional district from 2007 to 2019.[2] The district comprises the state's southern end, running along the entire border with Iowa; it includes Rochester, Austin, Winona and Mankato.

Tim Walz
Tim Walz official photo.jpg
41st Governor of Minnesota
Assumed office
January 7, 2019
LieutenantPeggy Flanagan
Preceded byMark Dayton
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Minnesota's 1st district
In office
January 3, 2007 – January 3, 2019
Preceded byGil Gutknecht
Succeeded byJim Hagedorn
Personal details
Timothy James Walz

(1964-04-06) April 6, 1964 (age 55)
West Point, Nebraska, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Gwen Whipple (m. 1994)
ResidenceGovernor's Residence
EducationChadron State College (BS)
Minnesota State University, Mankato (MS)
WebsiteGovernor website
Military service
Allegiance United States
Branch/service United States Army[1]
Years of service1981–2005[1]
RankCommand Sergeant Major Army-USA-OR-09b.svg
AwardsArmy Commendation Medal
Army Achievement Medal (2)ArmyAchiveMed.png ArmyAchiveMed.png
Army Reserve Components Achievement Medal (6)
Global War on Terrorism Service Medal

He was first elected in 2006, defeating six-term Republican incumbent Gil Gutknecht. He was reelected five times and served on the Agriculture Committee, Armed Services Committee and Veterans' Affairs Committee. Walz also served 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, who was also the 2014 nominee.[3]

Early life, education and military careerEdit

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.[4] 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.[5]

Walz enlisted in the Army National Guard in 1981, and served over a 24-year career. In 1989, he earned the title of Nebraska Citizen-Soldier of the Year. After a deployment to Italy with his Guard unit, Walz was conditionally promoted to Command Sergeant Major. Walz decided to retire before his most recent six year enlistment was complete when his unit received orders to deploy to Iraq.[6][7] Since Walz did not complete the Sergeants Major Academy, nor did he serve in a Sergeant Major position for the required 24 months, he retired as a Master Sergeant.[7] He resumed teaching as a geography teacher and football coach at Mankato West High School.[5]

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 RepresentativesEdit

Political campaignsEdit

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]

During his 2018 campaign for governor, two senior NCOs of the Minnesota National Guard accused Walz of fabricating facts about his service and lying about his military rank.[11] The allegations were debunked.[12]


Walz freshman portrait
(110th Congress)

Upon his swearing in, Walz became the highest-ranking retired enlisted soldier ever to serve in Congress,[13] 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 served on the House Agriculture Committee,[14] 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.[15] 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.[16]

Representing a district that has traditionally voted Republican, Walz cast votes ranging from moderate to liberal.[17] He voted against the act to Prohibit Federally Funded Abortion Services,[18] and voted to advance the Affordable Care Act out of the House.[19] He has also voted to continue funding for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan,[20] and against the 2008 TARP bill, which purchased troubled assets from financial institutions.[21]

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.[22] 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.[23]

Veterans' issuesEdit

Having served 24 years in the Army National Guard, as a freshman in Congress he was given a rare third committee membership when he was assigned to the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs.[24] 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.[25]

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.[26] 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".[27]

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.[28]

2008 financial crisisEdit

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.[29] 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."[30] 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.[31] 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.[32]

Economic issuesEdit

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".[33] 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".[34][35] Walz also urged assistance for hog and dairy farmers who struggled with lower prices for their commodities in 2008 and 2009.[36]


Walz was a public school teacher for 20 years. He opposes using merit pay for teachers.[37] Voting in favor of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, Walz pointed to its strong provisions in support of public school buildings.[38][39] Walz is on record supporting legislation to lower tuition costs.[40] 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."[41] 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.[42]


Walz supports abortion rights[37] and has a 100% rating from Planned Parenthood.[22] The National Right to Life Committee gave him a rating of zero.[22] In early 2009, Walz voted for the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.[43]

LGBT issuesEdit

Walz strongly supports LGBT rights, including federal anti-discrimination laws on the basis of sexual orientation.[37] 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.[22] In 2011, Walz announced his support for the Respect for Marriage Act.[44]


Walz is a longtime supporter of legalizing both medical and recreational cannabis use.[45]

115th Congress Committee assignmentsEdit

Caucus membershipsEdit

  • Chair, Congressional EMS Caucus[46]
  • Co-Chair, National Guard and Reserve Component Caucus[47]
  • Co-Chair, Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus[48]
  • Co-Chair, Congressional Veterans Jobs Caucus[49]
  • Member, LGBT Equality Caucus[50]
  • Congressional Arts Caucus[51]

Governor of MinnesotaEdit


Tim Walz is sworn in as Minnesota's 41st governor at the Fitzgerald Theater in St Paul, Minnesota

Walz was sworn in as governor of Minnesota on January 7, 2019, at the Fitzgerald Theater in Saint Paul. Walz took the oath of office alongside incoming Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan, Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon, Minnesota State Auditor Julie Blaha, and Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, all Democrats.[52] Walz spoke about education and healthcare reform in his inauguration speech.[53]

Personal lifeEdit

Walz and his wife, Gwen, married in 1994. They lived in Mankato, Minnesota for nearly 20 years before moving to Saint Paul with their two children upon his election as governor.[54]

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.[55]

Election campaignsEdit

2006 United States House of Representatives elections in Minnesota, District 1
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Democratic–Farmer–Labor Tim Walz 141,622 53 -
Republican Gil Gutknecht (Incumbent) 126,487 47 -13
2008 United States House of Representatives elections in Minnesota, District 1
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Democratic–Farmer–Labor Tim Walz (Incumbent) 207,748 62.5 +9.5
Republican Brian J. Davis 109,446 32.9 -
Independence Gregory Mikkelson 14,903 4.5 -
2010 United States House of Representatives elections in Minnesota, District 1
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Democratic–Farmer–Labor Tim Walz (Incumbent) 122,390 49.4 -13.1
Republican Randy Demmer 109,261 44.1 +11.2
Independence Steven Wilson 13,243 5.3 +0.8
2012 United States House of Representatives elections in Minnesota, District 1
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Democratic–Farmer–Labor Tim Walz (Incumbent) 193,211 57.5 +8.1
Republican Allen Quist 142,164 42.3 -1.8
2014 United States House of Representatives elections in Minnesota, District 1
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Democratic–Farmer–Labor Tim Walz (Incumbent) 122,851 54.2 -3.3
Republican Jim Hagedorn 103,536 45.7 +3.4
2016 United States House of Representatives elections in Minnesota, District 1
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Democratic–Farmer–Labor Tim Walz (Incumbent) 169,076 50.4 -3.8
Republican Jim Hagedorn 166,527 49.6 +3.9
Minnesota Democratic–Farmer–Labor Party primary results
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic–Farmer–Labor Tim Walz 242,832 41.60%
Democratic–Farmer–Labor Erin Murphy 186,969 32.03%
Democratic–Farmer–Labor Lori Swanson 143,517 24.59%
Democratic–Farmer–Labor Tim Holden 6,398 1.10%
Democratic–Farmer–Labor Olé Savior 4,019 0.69%
Total votes 583,735 100%
Minnesota gubernatorial election, 2018[56]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Democratic–Farmer–Labor Tim Walz/Peggy Flanagan 1,393,096 53.84% +3.77%
Republican Jeff Johnson/Donna Bergstrom 1,097,705 42.43% -2.08%
Grassroots Chris Wright/Judith Schwartzbacker 68,667 2.65% +1.07%
Libertarian Josh Welter/Mary O'Connor 26,735 1.03% +0.11%
n/a Write-ins 1,084 0.04% 0.00%
Total votes 2,587,287 100.0% N/A
Democratic–Farmer–Labor hold

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "Once a Soldier... Always a Soldier" (PDF). Legislative Agenda. Association of the United States Army. 2011. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 21, 2013. Retrieved January 28, 2013.
  2. ^ "Elections 2008". Chicago Sun-Times. October 23, 2008. Archived from the original on July 16, 2011. Retrieved October 24, 2008.
  3. ^ Coolican, J. Patrick (November 6, 2018). "Tim Walz defeats Jeff Johnson in high-stakes election for Minnesota governor". Star Tribune. Retrieved November 6, 2018.
  4. ^ "Ancestry® | Genealogy, Family Trees & Family History Records". Retrieved August 13, 2018.
  5. ^ a b "Tim Walz for US Congress". Archived from the original on December 13, 2006. Retrieved January 8, 2007.
  6. ^ Bauman, Christine (October 31, 2018). "Former National Guardsmen: Tim Walz Is Misleading The Public About His Time In Service". Alpha News. Retrieved December 23, 2018.
  7. ^ a b "Answer Man: Is Walz's rank rank?". Retrieved December 23, 2018.
  8. ^ Ed Felker. "Walz stays mum on choice for No. 2 House leader". Retrieved November 16, 2006.
  9. ^ James Hommann (October 14, 2010). "Tim Walz confident about survival". Politico. Retrieved August 17, 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. ^ Behrends, Thomas. "The Truth About Tim Walz". Retrieved December 23, 2018.
  12. ^ Heusdens, Blair. "Answer Man: Is Walz's rank rank?". Retrieved January 8, 2019.
  13. ^ "Minnesota Congressman Tim Walz to Deliver Democratic Radio Address". Tim Walz. Archived from the original on April 25, 2007. Retrieved May 17, 2007.
  14. ^ "Walz, Ellison, get first committee assignments". Star Tribune. January 8, 2007. Archived from the original on January 12, 2007. Retrieved January 8, 2007.
  15. ^ Diaz, Kevin (January 8, 2007). "Minnesota delegation offers cool response". Star Tribune. Retrieved January 9, 2007.[dead link]
  16. ^ Fischenich, Mark (January 7, 2007). "Walz eager to dig into legislative issues". Community Newspaper Holdings, Inc. Archived from the original on September 9, 2012. Retrieved January 12, 2007.
  17. ^ "Minnesota's 1st Congressional District". OpenCongress. Archived from the original on September 17, 2011. Retrieved July 12, 2010.
  18. ^ "Project Vote Smart — Representative Walz on H Amdt 509 – Prohibiting Federally Funded Abortion Services". Retrieved July 12, 2010.
  19. ^ "Project Vote Smart — Representative Walz on HR 3962 – Health Care and Insurance Law Amendments". Retrieved July 12, 2010.
  20. ^ "Project Vote Smart — Representative Walz on HR 2642 – Funding for Military Operations in Iraq and Afghanistan". Retrieved July 12, 2010.
  21. ^ "Project Vote Smart — Representative Walz on HR 1424 – Financial Asset Purchase Authority and Tax Law Amendments". Retrieved July 12, 2010.
  22. ^ a b c d "Representative Timothy 'Tim' J. Walz's Special Interest Group Ratings". Project Vote Smart. Retrieved March 13, 2019.
  23. ^ The Lugar Center - McCourt School Bipartisan Index (PDF), The Lugar Center, March 7, 2016, retrieved April 30, 2017
  24. ^ "Project Vote Smart — Representative Timothy J. 'Tim' Walz — Walz Receives Rare Third Committee Appointment". January 18, 2007. Retrieved July 12, 2010.
  25. ^ "Project Vote Smart — Representative Timothy J. 'Tim' Walz — Walz's TBI Legislation Unanimously Passes House". May 24, 2007. Retrieved July 12, 2010.
  26. ^ "Project Vote Smart — Representative Walz on HR 2642 – GI Bill, Funding for Midwest Flood Cleanup, Extension of Unemployment Benefits, and Other Provisions". Retrieved July 12, 2010.
  27. ^ "Project Vote Smart — Representative Timothy J. 'Tim' Walz — Congressman Walz Gives Keynote Address At American Legion National Convention". August 26, 2009. Retrieved July 12, 2010.
  28. ^ 114th Congress (2015) (January 7, 2015). "H.R. 203 (114th)". Legislation. Retrieved June 18, 2016. Clay Hunt SAV Act
  29. ^ "Project Vote Smart — Representative Walz on HR 3997 – Financial Asset Purchase Authority". Retrieved July 12, 2010.
  30. ^ "Project Vote Smart — Representative Timothy J. 'Tim' Walz — Walz Votes Against Bailout Plan". September 29, 2008. Retrieved July 12, 2010.
  31. ^ "Project Vote Smart — Representative Walz on HR 7321 – Automotive Industry Financing". Retrieved July 12, 2010.
  32. ^ "Project Vote Smart — Representative Timothy J. 'Tim' Walz — Walz Introduces Resolution Calling for Exit Strategy of the Federal Government's Ownership of Car Companies". June 26, 2009. Retrieved July 12, 2010.
  33. ^ "Project Vote Smart — Representative Timothy J. 'Tim' Walz — Walz Votes to Create Millions of Jobs Through House Economic Recovery Plan". January 28, 2009. Retrieved July 12, 2010.
  34. ^ "Project Vote Smart — Representative Timothy J. 'Tim' Walz — Rep. Tim Walz Votes to Create Small Business Jobs, Spur Economic Growth". Retrieved July 12, 2010.
  35. ^
  36. ^ "Project Vote Smart — Representative Timothy J. 'Tim' Walz — Walz Urges Swift Action to Assist Dairy Producers". Retrieved July 12, 2010.
  37. ^ a b c "Project Vote Smart — Representative Timothy J. 'Tim' Walz — Issue Positions (Political Courage Test)". Retrieved July 12, 2010.
  38. ^ "Project Vote Smart — Representative Walz on HR 3221 – Student Aid Program Modifications". Retrieved July 12, 2010.
  39. ^ "Project Vote Smart — Representative Walz on HR 1 – Appropriations, Tax Law Amendments, and Unemployment Benefit Amendments ("Stimulus Bill")". Retrieved July 12, 2010.
  40. ^ "Project Vote Smart — Representative Timothy J. 'Tim' Walz — Rep Walz Announces New Program to Make College More Affordable". Retrieved July 12, 2010.
  41. ^ "Project Vote Smart — Representative Timothy J. 'Tim' Walz — School Funding". February 12, 2009. Retrieved July 12, 2010.
  42. ^ "Project Vote Smart — Representative Timothy J. 'Tim' Walz — Interest Group Ratings". May 14, 2010. Retrieved July 12, 2010.
  43. ^ "Bill Text – 110th Congress (2007–2008) – THOMAS (Library of Congress)". Retrieved July 12, 2010.
  44. ^ Ameigh, Sarah. "North Carolina's Anti-LGBT Measure: A Reactionary's Response to Progress". american humanist. american humanist. Archived from the original on September 30, 2011. Retrieved September 25, 2011.
  45. ^ "Rep. Walz Wants Recreational Marijuana Legalized in Minnesota". September 7, 2017. Retrieved March 13, 2019.
  46. ^ "EMS Caucus". Retrieved March 23, 2017.
  47. ^ "Membership". Retrieved June 18, 2016.
  48. ^ "Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus 114th Congress". Retrieved June 18, 2016.
  49. ^ "Congressional Veterans Jobs Caucus Members". Archived from the original on June 11, 2016. Retrieved June 18, 2016.
  50. ^ "Members". LGBT Equality Caucus. Archived from the original on April 2, 2017. Retrieved March 23, 2017.
  51. ^ "Membership". Congressional Arts Caucus. Archived from the original on June 12, 2018. Retrieved March 13, 2018.
  52. ^ Frost, Evan; Staff, MPR News. "Photos: The Walz Administration takes oath of office". Retrieved January 10, 2019.
  53. ^ "Tim Walz sworn in as Minnesota's next governor". Star Tribune. Retrieved January 10, 2019.
  54. ^ "Full Biography". Honorable Tim Walz. December 11, 2012. Retrieved August 15, 2018.
  55. ^ Sederstrom, Noel. "Walz family gathers at St. Mary's in Duluth as rescued teen faces multiple surgeries". Retrieved August 15, 2018.
  56. ^

External linksEdit