Commissioner Mary Jo McGuire was elected to the County Board in 2012 and represents all or parts of six suburban communities in Ramsey County, Minnesota.

Mary Jo has been active in NACo from the start of her county career and serves on a number of committees and commissions. She is a long-time member of the Justice and Public Safety Steering Committee, serving at various times as Vice-Chair of the subcommittees, Juvenile Justice and Law Enforcement.

She is also the vice-chair of Programs & Services. Mary Jo was honored to be the Chair of the Healthy Counties Advisory Board in 2019-20, and is currently a vice-chair of both Healthy Counties and the Parks, Open Space, & Trails Subcommittee. She serves on the Arts and Culture Commission and is a member of the Large Urban County Caucus (LUCC) and Women of NACo (WON).

Mary Jo is also proud to serve on a number of Ramsey County board committees, including chair of the Legislative Committee and the Suburban Ramsey Family Collaborative and is co-chair of Active Living Ramsey Communities. She is also a member of the Twin Cities’ Metropolitan Council’s Transportation Advisory Board, the Mosquito Control Commission, the Ramsey/Washington Recycling and Energy Board and the Ramsey County League of Local Governments. She is in leadership at the Association of Minnesota Counties and serves on the Public Safety and the Education & Research Committees.

Prior to her career in county government, Mary Jo served 16 years in the Minnesota State Legislature, 14 in the House and 2 in the Senate. While in the state legislature, she worked passionately for our communities, receiving many local honors and awards, notably “Best Elected Official” by the Roseville Review and “Freshman Legislator of the Year” by Politics in Minnesota.

Commissioner McGuire is a lifelong resident of Ramsey County and is honored to represent the community where she was born and raised. She has a BA in Business Administration from the College of St. Catherine, a JD from Hamline University School of Law, and an MA in Public Administration from the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government. She is trained as a “qualified neutral” in dispute resolution cases. Mary Jo currently serves on the Roseville Community Foundation and is a member of Rotary, the Optimist Club and the League of Women Voters.

Mary Jo loves the outdoors and is active in all four seasons. She enjoys swimming, hiking, biking, kayaking and skiing. She has recently added pickle ball to her list of activities. Mary Jo also likes to dance and play bridge.

About Mary Jo

Highly respected leader with extensive experience in public policy, negotiation and consensus building. Current County Commissioner and former state legislator with 25 years experience as an elected official. Trained mediator and effective advocate with proven results in program evaluation, policy analysis, and conflict resolution. Enthusiastic, energetic, and experienced at making connections, creating relationships, and making things happen. Passionate about building communities that promote and serve the common good.

  • Strategic and creative thinker with effective communication skills
  • Current County Commissioner in my ninth year
  • 16-year State Legislator with direct public policy and intra-governmental experience
  • Proven ability to develop strong relationships, negotiate differences and resolve conflicts
  • Highly skilled at identifying effective options

Elected Experience

Ramsey County Commissioner, District 2; January 2013 – present

  • Vice Chair of County Board
  • Chair of Legislative Committee
  • Secretary-Treasurer of Association of Minnesota Counties (AMC) 2015-2019
  • 2nd Vice President, AMC, 2019-present

State Senator, Minnesota Senate, District 66; February 2010 – December 2012

  • Established working relationships with community leaders and stakeholders to develop, negotiate, and pass legislation

State Representative, Minnesota House of Representatives, District 54A; 1989-2003

  • Assistant Majority Leader, 1993-94, Caucus Steering Committee member, 1993-2002.
  • Negotiated numerous financial and policy matters
  • Established working relationships with community leaders and stakeholders to develop, negotiate, and pass legislation
  • Analyzed program reports and funding requests from state agencies and community organizations

Policy and Professional Experience

Adjunct Professor, Masters in Organizational Leadership Dept. (MAOL) and Dept. Of Political Science; St. Catherine University, St. Paul, Minnesota, 2000-present

  • Course instructor: Ethics and Leadership in Graduate MAOL Degree program
  • Designed and taught: “Leadership in the Public Forum”

Associate Director; Learning Law and Democracy Foundation;
State Coordinator, Project Citizen; St. Paul, Minnesota, June 2006 – 2010

  • Directed state-wide program with mission to educate teachers and advance curriculum designed to motivate and enable young people to learn the rights and accept the responsibilities of being citizens
  • Trained civics and government teachers
  • Spoke/Presented on importance of civic education

Public Policy Consultant; 2003 – 2010

  • Advised constituency and special interest groups on issues of civic engagement, community empowerment, advocacy and public policy at state and federal level
  • Drafted legislation and policy resolutions for clients
  • Negotiated clients’ financial and policy matters with policymakers and interest groups
  • Facilitated strategic planning, goals articulation and visioning for various non-profit boards and public sector clients
  • Presented on leadership, advocacy, and conflict resolution

Adjunct Professor, Dept. of Legal Studies; Hamline University, St. Paul, Minnesota, Winter/Spring, 2006 – 2008

  • Designed and Taught course: “The Legislative Process”
  • Taught course: Legal Interviewing

Contract Analyst; Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., 2006 – 2007

  • Responsible for drafting, negotiating, and analyzing contracts
  • Managed vendor relationships in conjunction with the business


Harvard Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, 1998

  • Master of Arts, Public Administration

Hamline University School of Law, St. Paul, Minnesota; 1988

  • Juris Doctor

The College of St. Catherine, St. Paul, Minnesota; 1978

  • Bachelor of Arts, Business Administration, Concentration: Management

Special Honors

  • Hamline University School of Law Distinguished Alumna Award – for commitment to ethical leadership and service, 2003
  • Service to Youth Award, Northwest Youth and Family Services
  • Child Care Champion, Lifetime Achievement Award, Child Care Works, 2002
  • Best Politician (awarded locally and voted on by constituents) 1995, 1996, 2000
  • Bush Leadership Fellow 1995 – 1998

Community Service

  • League of Women Voters, 1988-present
  • Roseville Rotary, Member 2012 – present
  • Roseville Area Optimist Club, Member and Advisory Board Member, 2017 – present
    • Member of Civic Education and Engagement Committee
    • Member of Character Education and Development Committee
  • Suburban Ramsey Family Collaborative, Executive Board Member, 2013 – present
  • Roseville Community Foundation, Member, 2016-present
  • Northeast Youth and Family Services, Director, 2003 – 2018
  • Minnesota Political Science Association, Board Member, January 2009 – 2015
  • St. Paul/Twin Cities Chapter of the American Red Cross, Director, 2002 – 2010

Mary Jo loves the outdoors and is active in all four seasons. She enjoys swimming, hiking, biking, kayaking and skiing. She has recently added pickle ball to her list of activities. Mary Jo also likes to dance and play bridge.