Governor Walz picks three labor leaders for seats on Met Council
From the Minneapolis Labor Review, March 22, 2019
SAINT PAUL — Minnesota Governor Tim Walz has appointed three labor leaders to seats on the Metropolitan Council.
The 17-member Met Council shapes regional development policies and operates regional services including Metro Transit and the region’s wastewater treatment system.
The labor leaders named by Walz to the Met Council include Kris Fredson from the Laborers District Council, Abdi Muse from Awood Center, and Ray Zeran from IBEW Local 292.
Labor leaders named to the Met Council by Governor Walz (left to right): Kris Fredson, Laborers District Council; Abdi Muse, Awood Center; Ray Zeran, IBEW Local 292.
Photo: Jeff Syme, Metropolitan Council
Representing the Met Council’s District 14, which includes Saint Paul neighborhoods east of Interstate 35E, Saint Paul resident Kris Fredson currently works as campaigns and member communications director for the Laborers District Council of Minnesota and North Dakota. He is a former political director for the Minnesota AFL-CIO and former member of the City of Saint Paul’s planning commission.
“Regional policy-making, planning and services, investing in 21st century transportation infrastructure and affordable housing, and advancing equity are all necessary for our region to achieve its full potential,” Fredson said.
Saint Anthony resident Abdi Muse will represent the Met Council’s District 8, which includes the city of Saint Anthony and the eastern half of Minneapolis.
Muse is the executive director of Awood Center, a community organization helping the region’s East African immigrants to advocate for their labor rights. He is a former organizer for the Service Employees International Union and a former senior policy aide to Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges.
“I’ve worked outside the system as an advocate and I’ve worked on the inside with policymakers to help make sure government works for the people. That’s where my passion lies,” Muse said. “I have worked all my professional life for inclusive economic development and worker rights.”
The Met Council’s Region 8, which will be represented by Coon Rapids resident Ray Zeran, includes the cities of Andover, Anoka, Bethel, Coon Rapids, East Bethel, Ham Lake, Nowthen, Oak Grove, Ramsey, and St. Francis in Anoka County.
Zeran worked 10 years in the field as a union electrician and is currently political director for International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 292 in Minneapolis. He chairs the Committee on Political Education of the Minneapolis Building and Construction Trades Council and is a member of the Anoka County Workforce Development Board.
Zeran commented about his new role serving on the Met Council: “At the policy level, I think transportation, especially building out transit, is a key issue, and that renewable energy will only become more important in the future. At the personal level, I believe it’s important to open up paths of opportunity — as Metro Transit is doing with its apprenticeship program — so more people can share in the region’s prosperity.”
The Met Council will play a key role in guiding the construction of the Southwest Light Rail line, which will be the largest infrastructure project in the state.
For more information on the new membership of the Met Council, visit https://metrocouncil.org/About-Us/Who-We-Are/CouncilMembers.aspx.