Peter McLaughlin is the incumbent candidate for the District 4 Commissioner, and he has served on the board since 1991.

Before becoming a commissioner, McLaughlin served three terms in the Minnesota Legislature, eventually becoming Assistant House Majority Leader for the DFL. He was chief author on the Parental Leave law, legislation establishing the State Jobs Program (Minnesota Emergency Employment Development), and State Dislocated Worker Program.

In addition to his elected role, McLaughlin is a founding member of the Phillips Partnership and the Midtown Community Works Partnership, which focus on infrastructure, housing, and jobs in the Phillips neighborhood of Minneapolis and along the Midtown Greenway corridor.
McLaughlin received a bachelor’s degree from Princeton University in 1971 and a master’s degree from the Graduate School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota in 1977.


As a commissioner, McLaughlin helped win approval for several actions to combat crime, including: expanded use of juvenile work squads and adult Sentencing To Serve work crews; funding for four special neighborhood-based probation officers for South and North Minneapolis; creation of a drug court building new jail cells; additional juvenile detention beds; putting inmates to work and working closely with the District Court on the Adult Gun Policy and the Juvenile Gun Education Program.
Source: Phillips Partnership

When announcing his bid for mayor of Minneapolis in 2004, McLaughlin named as a priority supporting police: “We need a stable level of funding and support for law enforcement. We can’t let that sort of bounce up and down, or as it’s done recently, go down.”
Source: MPR News, 12/16/04

Signed 2016 letter to Congress in support of Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act.
Source: National Association of Counties, 1/28/16

Named the priority of decriminalizing marijuana, which “has dragged too many into the criminal justice system.”
Source: ISAIAH Hennepin County Candidate Forum, 9/23/18

Supported $275,000 fund for legal representation of immigrants in Hennepin County facing deportation: “We can’t call the federal government today for help on immigration issues … We are stepping in, as a local government … to provide assistance so that due process is protected,” said McLaughlin.

Source: Star Tribune, 8/21/18

Has called for ending any cooperation with ICE. “‘We don’t participate with ICE in the departments that we control,’ McLaughlin said, explaining how the board took disciplinary action against one probation officer who contacted the federal agency recently — a measure he said was possible because that officer was under commissioners’ purview.”
Source: MinnPost, 9/24/18

“‘We need to find a way to get control of the sheriff, and that is possible, but it’s going to take a new sheriff to work with us,’ McLaughlin said. He’d rather the position be appointed — not elected by voters.”
Source: MinnPost, 9/24/18

McLaughlin co-chaired Mayor Jacob Frey’s affordable housing committee.
Source: Star Tribune, 12/12/17

Called for a multi-pronged approach to addressing the Hiawatha Homeless Encampment: “The long-term answer is a combination of additional low barrier housing for people with chemical health problems (now in the works), shelter beds, more affordable housing and better access to chemical and mental health treatment. Creation of alternative housing with services tied to the medical system and structural changes in programs to more effectively combat the scourge of chemical and mental health problems can help mobilize healthcare resources. Additional reforms of the tenant-landlord relationship would also improve prospects for some residents. Integrating a jobs component would round out a comprehensive approach.”
Source: Candidate’s Letter on the Hiawatha Encampment

“I oppose efforts to privatize over 740 homes, 42 high rises, demolish Glendale Townhomes that would displace over 11,000 low-income people of color, immigrants, refugees, elders, and disabled out of Minneapolis.”
Source: Twin Cities Transit Riders Union Candidate Survey

“I will continue to support increased investments in affordable housing through the County Affordable Housing Incentive Fund, County Supportive Housing Incentive Fund, further expansion of our investment in NOAH [naturally occurring — or unsubsidized — affordable housing], a combination of housing rehabilitation funding for existing residents, additional county funding of legal assistance to tenants, statutory changes to protect tenants from eviction at will and additional county investment in affordable housing in areas facing market changes.”
Source: Twin Cities Transit Riders Union Candidate Survey

“When we approved the sales tax for the Target Field for the Twins, we got authority from the legislature to spend $2 million a year on library hour expansion and $2 million [for] youth sports facilities, that’s where this money is coming from,” Hennepin County Commissioner Peter McLaughlin said.
Source: WCCO News, 2/28/15

A referendum “doesn’t make a bad idea any better,” said Hennepin County Commissioner Peter McLaughlin, who voted for Target Field but dislikes the Vikings stadium proposal. “I don’t believe in government by referendum. It lets elected officials off the hook for making judgments about these things.”
Source: Star Tribune, 4/5/11

McLaughlin is proponent of expanded public transit, especially light rail, stating “there is no bigger magnet for development than rail.”
Source: American Council of Engineering Companies of Minnesota, 11/15/17

Pushed unsuccessfully for increased burning of solid waste rather than dumping in landfills. But without city support, the county dropped its bid and pushed for organics collection instead. According to the Star Tribune, “McLaughlin and the county had argued that increased incineration was better than putting garbage in a landfill, saying that aligned with MPCA goals. When working at capacity, the 27-year-old HERC can turn 1,212 tons of trash into heat and electricity per day.”
Source: Star Tribune, 2/4/14

Authored a resolution “direct[ing] county staff to develop a strategy for organic waste collection for all county households.”
Source: MPR, 9/4/09

Supports expansion of light rail and bus rapid transit.
Source: Candidate’s website

“Co-led the approval and secured funding to create the Midtown Greenway, the #1 Urban Bikeway in America, and the Midtown Community Works Partnership, which catalyzed scores of developments and public realm improvements in and around the Greenway.”
Source: Our Streets Mpls Candidate Questionnaire

Supported name restoration of Bde Maka Ska from Lake Calhoun: “‘It’s not going to change the world, but I think it will be a positive contribution to our county and to the whole state of Minnesota to recognize the history of the Dakota people here in Hennepin County,’ Commissioner Peter McLaughlin said before the vote.”
Source: Southwest Journal, 11/22/17

On the opening of a new playground centered on the Civil Rights Movement and African American history at MLK Park: “The County contributed financially to the park, to the playground … We did it out of the sales tax money that we put in place for the ballpark – Target Field – and so that’s why we can invest in this. We made it a priority and we’re proud to fund it … We’ve been funding soccer fields, baseball fields and other playgrounds all over Hennepin County, but this one I am particularly proud of because of the history and the way it came about, and the community forging and creating this idea and moving ahead.”
Source: Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder, 8/25/15

Supported Cedar Riverside Opportunity Center to connect community members to education, job training, and employment.
Source: Minnesota Daily, 10/31/16

Supported resolution calling for Washington football team to change its name: “ … the Hennepin County Board passed a resolution calling for the Washington franchise to change its nickname to one ‘that is not racist and derogatory,’ Commissioner Peter McLaughlin said in a statement.”
Source: Red Lake Nation News, 10/30/14


The Twin Cities Daily Planet is a flagship media arts project of Twin Cities Media Alliance that amplifies and connects marginalized voices; this voter guide is an extension of the Daily Planet elections coverage. Every year we’re moving towards a possibility of a more diverse legislature. And with it, we hope comes increased opportunities for communities historically shut out of political processes and power to imagine and enact policies to create a Minnesota that benefits all its constituents.