Peter McLaughlin joined the Hennepin County Board in 1991.
He coordinated the regional effort with the help of labor, business and the community in successfully lobbying for light rail transit (LRT) funding which led to the opening of Minnesota’s first light rail line, the Hiawatha Line, now called the METRO Blue Line in 2004. In 2008, he was instrumental in establishing a dedicated funding source to expand the region’s transit system of light rail, commuter rail and bus rapid transit lines. He presently serves as chair of the Counties Transit Improvement Board, which invests revenues from the five-county metro sales tax for transitways and advocates for expansion of the transit system.
Among other transportation-related accomplishments, he helped develop a comprehensive county bicycle transportation plan and create a bicycle gap funding program to expand non-motorized transportation options for county residents and workers. In 2008, he secured $1 million in funding for infrastructure improvements to eliminate “gaps” in Hennepin’s network of bicycling facilities as part of the county’s 5-year capital improvement plan for 2008-2012. He is also a leading advocate for the construction of Target Field Station in downtown Minneapolis, which serves multiple light rail, commuter rail and intercity passenger rail lines, as well as pedestrians, bicyclists, and bus riders. Passed additional funding for road and bridge projects through a county-wide wheelage tax.
Commissioner McLaughlin’s leadership and achievements during his tenure on the county board reflect a strong commitment to public service and encompass the broad range of county programs and services. A passionate advocate for the environment, he authored the resolution making Hennepin County one of the founding members of Cool Counties, a national initiative committing counties throughout the United States to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by the year 2050. He won approval for several bold actions to combat crime, including creation of a drug court; expanded juvenile work squads and adult Sentence-To-Serve work crews; 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. He sponsored board actions to develop and endorse Accelerating Graduation by Reducing Academic Disparities (A-GRAD), a long-range plan to ensure all Hennepin County youth graduate from high school.
In addition to many other accomplishments, Mr. McLaughlin is actively involved in many community service organizations and innovative initiatives aligning efforts of the public and private sectors. He is a founding member of the Phillips Partnership and the Midtown Community Works Partnership, which have guided transformative investments in infrastructure, housing and jobs in the Phillips neighborhood of Minneapolis and along the Midtown Greenway corridor, respectively, over the past 15 years.
Prior to joining the County Board, McLaughlin served three terms in the Minnesota Legislature, rising to the post of Assistant House Majority Leader. He was the chief author on several key pieces of legislation, including the Parental Leave law, and legislation establishing the State Jobs Program (MEED), and State Dislocated Worker Program.
Mr. McLaughlin received his bachelor’s degree from Princeton University in 1971 and his Masters degree from the Graduate School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota in 1977.