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Woodbury's Shellito easily wins commissioner confirmation

ST. PAUL -- Larry Shellito became the first Gov. Mark Dayton commissioner to be confirmed as the Senate Thursday voted for him to continue as leader of the state Veterans' Affairs Department.

"I can think of no better leader to serve Minnesota veterans than the one who led them in many of the challenges of the last several years," Sen. Ted Daley, R-Eagan, said before the unanimous Senate voice vote.

Shellito, 65, was state adjutant general seven years, in charge of the National Guard, before retiring last year. Dayton picked him to lead Veterans' Affairs soon after the governor took office this year.

Leaders of the 25 agencies under Dayton's control must receive Senate confirmation if they are to remain in office. Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch, R-Buffalo, on Thursday would not say when other commissioners might be confirmed.

Shellito graduated from what now is Minnesota State University Moorhead. He was a long-time Alexandria Community and Technical College president and now lives in Woodbury.

He began military service in 1968 and served in Vietnam, then spent 37 years in the Minnesota Army National Guard.

When Dayton introduced Shellito as his Veterans' Affairs commissioner, the retired general said that his goal is to make sure more Minnesota veterans know his agency is there to help them.

As National Guard leader, Shellito helped create the Yellow Ribbon Program that helps soldiers return to civilian life when they return from overseas duty.

Don Davis reports for Forum Communications Co.

Don Davis
Don Davis has been the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau chief since 2001, covering state government and politics for two dozen newspapers in the state. Don also blogs at Capital Chatter on Areavoices.