Some people pick their career; some have a career pick them. For Ann Bloodhart, it feels more like the latter.
Bloodhart, general counsel for the Metropolitan Council since 2017, didn’t even plan on being a lawyer when she entered college at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. She was a pre-med student who took a gap year after graduating to work with at-risk youth in Colorado. Instead of starting medical school, she embraced her love of speech and debate and entered law school.
She spent the early years of her legal career as a private practice litigator with a Twin Cities law firm, then landed in the public sector when she joined the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office in 2001.
In 2009, she joined the Metropolitan Council, the regional policy-making body that focuses on three primary areas: transit, wastewater collection and treatment, and affordable housing. Initially, Bloodhart represented the council in litigation in state and federal court in labor arbitrations, unemployment hearings and veterans’ preference hearings. In 2011, she was named lead attorney for the METRO Green Line extension project.
In 2017, Bloodhart was promoted to general counsel of the Metropolitan Council, replacing her mentor, Don Mueting, who retired. She oversees a team of six attorneys, two assistants and outside counsel when needed. On any given day, she may address issues as broad as the Green Line extension, affordable housing, and sewer construction and industrial waste. That’s in addition to advising the council on open meeting laws, data practices and all the legal areas that pertain to governmental bodies.
“This law doesn’t fit within any particular practice area. I am a real generalist,” Bloodhart says. “I like to say now that I feel like I’m two miles wide and an inch deep. I have the privilege to work with a really talented group of attorneys who are subject matter experts, and who are in the weeds on all of these various projects.”
It’s not the career she imagined for herself, but she says between her time at the attorney general’s office and now at the Metropolitan Council, it has been tremendously rewarding to play a significant role in issues such as development of the Twin Cities light rail system, affordable housing and environmental concerns.
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