MINNEAPOLIS/ST. PAUL (June 11, 2013)—University of Minnesota Extension economist Laura Kalambokidis will assume duties as Minnesota state economist in August.
She'll replace Extension colleague Tom Stinson, who has held the post since 1987. Kalambokidis' appointment was announced recently by Jim Schowalter, commissioner of Minnesota Management & Budget.
Kalambokidis' career and research has focused on public sector economics; she's worked in Extension since joining the university in 2000. A professor of applied economics at the university, she is known for developing tools to ascertain the value of public and nonprofit programs.
The Extension experience she and Stinson share provides added qualifications for the state economist's role, Kalambokidis said. In part, it's because Extension is focused on the economic well-being of the entire state.
"Also, forecasting is a data-driven process and people in our line of work can get caught up in the technology. The ability to listen is essential," she said. "One of the key values of Extension is listening as much as talking, and engaging with the public. Outreach is one of the things that makes Extension so effective and creates such a strong platform for the state economist."
The state economist's responsibilities include preparation of a twice-yearly state revenue forecast. The forecast is used by the Legislature and governor for budgeting, planning and tracking, as well as for bond rating agencies and others that assess the state's overall financial health.
The position is contracted between the state and the university. The state economist is a non-partisan position. "It is an important element of Minnesota's budget process that the revenue forecasts are produced by an independent state economist," Kalambokidis said.
Extension Dean Bev Durgan said Kalambokidis' appointment reflects the trust Minnesotans place in Extension.
"As Extension thanks our colleague, Tom Stinson, we are pleased to know that another Extension professional will continue his exemplary service to Minnesota. Laura Kalambokidis' public-spirited credentials and professionalism will be a credit to the office of the state economist," Durgan said.
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