At a Glance
- Career History: Minnesota Senator (2001-2007), Minnesota State Auditor (1991-1995), Minnesota Commissioner on Energy and Economic Development (1983-1886), teacher and social worker (1969-1975)
- Birthday: January 26, 1947
- Hometown: Minneapolis, Minn.
- Alma Mater: Yale University, B.A.
- Religion: Presbyterian
- State/District Office: Office of the Governor, 130 State Capitol75 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., St. Paul, MN 55155, 651-296-3391
- Web site
Path To Power
The heir to the Dayton's department store empire, Dayton's first jobs after college at Yale University were teaching science in the New York City public schools and working as a counselor for Boston at-risk youth. He began his political career as a legislative aide to Sen. Walter Mondale (D) in 1975. In 1978, he joined the Minnesota governor's staff and was named the acting commissioner of the Department of Economic Development.
He first ran for U.S. Senate in 1982, winning the primary but losing the general election. Between 1983 and 1986, he served as the Minnesota energy and economic development commissioner. He unsuccessfully ran for governor in 1987 and was elected state auditor in 1990, a position he held until 1995.
A socially-progressive governor, Dayton favors adding an Equal Rights Amendment to the Minnesota constition, calling it "long overdue." He has also expressed specific interest in honoring and supporting the interests of Minnesota's communities including Hmong, Somali, Latino, Native American and African American.
As a U.S. senator, Dayton voted to increase prescription-drug coverage for senior citizens.
As a candidate in Minnesota's Democratic-Farmer-Labor party, Dayton was heartily supported by labor and professional unions during his gubernatorial campaign. Former President Bill Clinton raised money for Dayton in December 2010 while a vote recount was taking place.