Axelina Swenson fights for MAPE members while serving on Governor’s Technology Advisory Council

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Local 701 Vice President Axelina Swenson is proud to have been selected to serve on the Governor’s Technology Advisory Council and just as proud to have the opportunity to look out for her MAPE colleagues. 

Swenson was appointed by Gov. Tim Walz last February to represent state union employees on the Governor’s Technology Advisory Council. She also serves on three subcommittees: Artificial Intelligence, Customer Experience and Project to Product. Swenson said it’s key for a MAPE member to be on all three subcommittees. ”It is important to ensure employees are paid competitively and fairly within the state system, and current employees don’t have to fight for proper classifications. My goal is to be there to make sure we are having those critical conversations early in the decision-making process – I am there to look out for all MAPE employees, not only those in IT roles.”     

She said the subcommittee looking at artificial intelligence (AI) is discussing AI in our workspaces and employing AI within the state, “One thing I want to make sure is that we are negotiating for the protection of staff, and we still have ‘human in the loop’ decision-making. There are places where I want to make sure MAPE staff are given protection from job replacement by AI.” Swenson said there are concerns of several start-ups trying to privatize this work. 

Accessibility is another interest of Swenson’s, “I want to make sure our procurement process has a way to make sure IT products are accessible prior to entering a contract. Vendors sometimes say their product is accessible but when we try to implement it, find out it is not.”   

Swenson said members of the Governor’s Technology Advisory Council are forward-thinking and she’s surprised “there is a positive perspective on the future of State IT and the ways we work together on programs and products. I’m pleased getting things done.”  

She also said MAPE’s success on this council wouldn’t be possible without former MAPE member Kassie Church representing MAPE employees on the council, and her leadership of the Project to Product subcommittee.