The woman behind Mark Dayton: Yvonne Prettner Solon

11:43 PM, Jan 3, 2011   |    comments
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  • The woman behind Mark Dayton: Yvonne Prettner Solon
  • The woman behind Mark Dayton: Yvonne Prettner Solon

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- She helped Governor Mark Dayton win the election yet not many know who she is.

Last May when Dayton picked Yvonne Prettner Solon to be his future lieutenant governor, she was a state senator from Duluth. Prettner Solon ran for and won a special election in 2002 to fill her late husband Sen. Sam Solon's seat.

Before that, she was a city councilor. Prettner Solon says she never planned on having a political career.

"I looked into boards and commissions to find where I could make my mark and when an at-large seat became available on the Duluth city council I ran for it. I never dreamed that I would receive such a positive response let alone win that election," she said during her inauguration speech on Monday.

Prettner Solon helped Dayton sweep the primary and the general election. Now, she's expected to help the democratic governor win over the republican controlled legislature. Political experts say Prettner Solon could be the right person to help Dayton on many levels.

"She brings a relationship with the legislature, with the business community and independence on key issues like health care, education that Dayton needs as he establishes his own relationships," Blois Olson, a longtime political observer, said.

Lieutenant governors have traditionally been hands-off but many predict Prettner Solon will be a very active partner when it comes to things like health care and job creation policies.

"Yvonne Prettner Solon will bring a connection for Mark Dayton to the legislature. He's never been a state legislature. He's never been a state senator, never been a state rep and this is something his administration probably needs," Olson, said.

RELATED: Mark Dayton sworn in as Minnesota Governor

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