Whether on the local, state, or national level, Minnesotans made history in 2018. In one of the most important midterm elections in history, Minnesotans showed up to elect the most diverse state legislature ever, and new leaders to continue fighting for progressive values.
Here are the top 5 Minnesota history makers from 2018:
5. Maria Regan Gonzalez
While Hispanic and Latinx communities have been growing across the state for years, no Minnesota city had ever elected a Latina mayor. That all changed in 2018 when Richfield elected former city councilmember Maria Regan Gonzalez as their new mayor. Born to an Irish-Swedish father from Mora, Minnesota and a Mexican immigrant mother, Maria Regan Gonzalez knows how to unify people of different cultures and life experiences. She says her background makes her a great fit to lead Richfield, a city that is growing increasingly diverse. At 33, she is also one of Minnesota’s youngest mayors.
4. Angie Craig
Angie Craig is a true story of perseverance. Raised by her mother and grandmother in a mobile home park, she worked two jobs to put herself through college and became one of Minnesota’s leading businesswomen. In 2018, she made history by becoming the first openly gay person to represent Minnesota in congress. With four sons, she is also Congress’s first openly gay mom. During a time when the rights of women and LGBTQ people are under attack by the Trump administration, it’s important to have strong LGBTQ voices in government, like Angie Craig’s.
3. Ilhan Omar
After her historic win in the Minnesota state legislature in 2016, Ilhan Omar wasted no time getting to work for Minnesota communities. Just two years later, Omar was elected congressperson for Minnesota’s 5th district, making her one of the first muslim women in congress (alongside Rashida Tlaib of Michigan), the first Somali-American, and the first woman of color to represent Minnesota. Omar has been an outspoken advocate for immigrants, refugees, and people of color in the face of the Trump administration’s hurtful and fearful rhetoric, and will continue to fight for all Minnesotans, no matter what they look like or where they come from.
2. Peggy Flanagan
Peggy Flanagan is no stranger to making history. She was the first Native American woman to address the Democratic National Convention as an official speaker in 2016, and was one of only two Native American state representatives in Minnesota at the time of her election to the Minnesota state legislature. In 2017, she formed the POCI (People of Color and Indigenous) caucus with other state legislators to reduce academic and economic disparities that affect communities of color, and in 2018, she was elected Lt. Governor alongside Governor-Elect Tim Walz. As our Lt. Governor-Elect, she is the highest-ranking Native woman elected to an executive office in the country, and will continue to advocate for Minnesota families.
None of these historic elections could have happened without Minnesota voters, who stepped up in 2018 to keep Minnesota at #1 in voter turnout. In 2018, turnout in Minnesota was higher than any midterm election since 2002, with help from a record high number of ballots submitted early. Every single Minnesota voter helped to make history in 2018. Thanks!