Tina Smith

Tina Smith
48th Lieutenant Governor of Minnesota
Assumed office
January 5, 2015
Governor Mark Dayton
Preceded by Yvonne Prettner Solon
Personal details
Born (1958-03-04) March 4, 1958
Albuquerque, New Mexico,
Political party Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party
Spouse(s) Archie Smith
Children Sam
Alma mater Stanford University
Dartmouth College

Tina Flint Smith[1] (born March 4, 1958 in Albuquerque, New Mexico) is a Minnesota politician, a former Chief of Staff to Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton, and the 48th and current Lieutenant Governor of Minnesota, since 2015. As Lt. Governor, Smith has been high-profile member of Gov. Dayton’s administration and a key participant in legislative negotiations.[2]


Prior to going to college, Smith worked on the Trans-Alaskan Pipeline in Prudhoe Bay, Alaska. She graduated from Stanford University with a degree in political science, and later earned a master's degree in business administration from Dartmouth College.[3]

Smith moved to Minnesota in the 1980s for a job at General Mills in marketing.[4] She later started her own marketing firm, and served as a Vice President of Planned Parenthood of Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota.[5] From 2006 through 2010, Smith served as Chief of Staff for Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak.

In 2010, she managed Rybak’s bid for governor until he lost the DFL endorsement to Margaret Anderson Kelliher. Smith later joined Mark Dayton’s campaign for governor as senior advisor and Transition co-chair for Dayton's 2010 gubernatorial campaign. Dayton appointed Smith as chief of staff when he took office in 2011.[6]

Since taking office as Lt. Governor in January 2015, Smith has spent time traveling around Minnesota to highlight priorities of Gov. Dayton’s Administration, including: funding for optional preschool for all four-year-olds, transportation infrastructure, and rural broadband internet access. She also chairs the Destination Medical Center Corporation Board in the City of Rochester, Minnesota.[7]

In 2016, CQ Roll Call named Smith one of America’s Top 25 Most Influential Women in State Politics, citing her high-profile role in the Dayton Administration. Minnesota political observers speculate that she will run for governor of Minnesota in 2018.[8]


DFL Candidate for Lt. Governor Tina Smith speaks at a 2014 campaign rally in Eagan, Minnesota.

When Dayton's running mate from 2010, Lt. Gov. Yvonne Prettner Solon, announced she would not seek re-election, Dayton passed over better-known political officeholders, citing Smith's work on shepherding the new Minnesota Vikings Stadium through the legislature, as well as her work on supporting the Destination Medical Center Project with the Mayo Clinic and the City of Rochester, MN.

Smith stepped down as chief of staff to campaign for Lt. Governor. She was nominated by acclamation at the DFL state convention, and she and Dayton faced only token opposition in the gubernatorial primary.

Dayton led in the polls throughout the campaign, and won re-election relatively comfortably, defeating Republican Jeff Johnson by six percentage points.


  1. Belden, Doug (February 4, 2014). "Dayton picks chief of staff Tina Smith as running mate". St. Paul Pioneer Press. Retrieved November 29, 2014.
  2. Grow, Doug (May 9, 2016). "Why there has never been a lieutenant governor like Tina Smith". MinnPost. Retrieved August 12, 2016.
  3. "Tina Smith: Minnesota's Next Lieutenant Governor". MarkDayton.org. Mark Dayton for a Better Minnesota. Archived from the original on July 2, 2014. Retrieved November 5, 2014.
  4. Condon, Patrick (October 10, 2016). "Lt. Gov. Tina Smith's high-profile role fuels speculation about her political future". Star Tribune. Retrieved August 12, 2016.
  5. Bierschbach, Briana (February 4, 2014). "Veteran behind-the-scenes player Tina Smith steps forward as Dayton's running mate". MinnPost. Retrieved November 5, 2014.
  6. Bierschbach, Briana (February 2, 2015). "The rise of Tina Smith". MinnPost. Retrieved August 12, 2016.
  7. Condon, Patrick (October 10, 2016). "Lt. Gov. Tina Smith's high-profile role fuels speculation about her political future". Star Tribune. Retrieved August 12, 2016.
  8. Wilkins, Emily (March 18, 2016). "From Top Lieutenant to Lt. Governor". MinnPost. Retrieved August 12, 2016.
Political offices
Preceded by
Yvonne Prettner Solon
Lieutenant Governor of Minnesota
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