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Breaking the Ice: Cynthia Bauerly got an early start preparing for role

Name: Cynthia Bauerly

Title: Minnesota revenue commissioner

Education: B.A. from Concordia College in Moorhead, J.D. from Indiana University School of Law-Bloomington, Master of Public Affairs from Indiana University’s School of Environmental and Public Affairs.

A campus visit by Paul Wellstone helped propel Revenue Commissioner Cynthia Bauerly into public service. Bauerly, though, had been preparing for such a role since she focused on leadership development and public speaking during her 4-H days in central Minnesota.

With April 15 approaching, Bauerly, revenue commissioner since January 2015, spends some of her time visiting tax-preparation sites to thank volunteers who help some of the 2.9 million Minnesotans who will file returns.

Bauerly’s experience also includes serving as a commissioner of the Federal Election Commission from 2008 to 2013 and as chair of the agency in 2011.

Q: What’s the best way to start a conversation with you?

A: I love it when people just come up and introduce themselves and tell me what they’re doing at the Capitol and what they’re interested in.

Q: Who was the first presidential candidate you voted for and why?

A: The first presidential candidate I voted for was Bill Clinton. The first federal candidate that I remember having such a striking experience with was when Paul Wellstone brought his bus to Moorhead, where I was a college student. That was sort of a very transformative experience. He talked about helping people in a way that really connected with me and helped solidify the thought that I had about finding a place in public service.

Q: What books are on your bedside table or e-reader?

A: During session I spend good deal of time reading revenue estimates and bill texts. But I do have a book group, so they keep me also reading other things. Recently I just finished up “Sins of Our Fathers,” by Shawn Otto, a fascinating read.

Q: What is a pet peeve of yours?

A: I hate being late. It drives me crazy. When I was in 4-H when I was a kid the working motto was if you’re early, you’re on time; if you’re on time you’re late; if you’re late, you’re left.

Q: What’s a favorite activity outside your job?

A: My family is still in central Minnesota. I used to work in Washington and one of the biggest motivations for moving back home to Minnesota was to be close to family. I have a younger brother and a younger sister and they each now have children, so it’s really wonderful to spend time with them.

Q: If someone visits you in your hometown, what do you always take them to see or do?

A: I grew up outside of St. Cloud, between Sauk Rapids and Foley, so there’s not a hometown there. I consider St. Cloud sort of where I grew up. There’s a beautiful garden there called Munsinger Gardens that’s right along the Mississippi River, across the river from St. Cloud State University. My favorite activity would be to go to the DQ on Highway 10, then go to the park to eat my ice cream. That’s what I would bring someone visiting me from out of town to do.

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