Welcome to progressive profiles, a series introducing Minnesota’s new progressive legislators.
Minnesota’s progressive champions swept the ballot during the 2022 midterm elections securing
historic control of all three branches of the Minnesota government.
And that’s not at all. The incoming Minnesota legislature is now the most diverse in state history, with 27 lawmakers of color and 11 LGBTQ+ representatives filling the ranks.
Among these victories were seven trailblazing candidates whose new roles in the government shattered glass ceilings across Minnesota.
Let us introduce the newly elected leaders whose leadership has made history and paved the way for a more equitable and representative government for generations to come.
For the first time in 164 years of statehood, Black women will serve in the Minnesota State Senate
This November, millions of Minnesotans made their voices heard, rejecting conservative extremism, opting for diverse leaders with strong policy visions, and taking back progressive control of the Minnesota Senate.
A Black woman has yet to serve in the Minnesota Senate. But, come January 2023, there will be not just one senator-elect who will change that, but three.
Zaynab Mohamed, Senate District 63 (South Minneapolis)
When Zaynab Mohamed won her election, she became one of three first Black women, the first Somali woman, and the youngest woman elected to the Minnesota Senate.
Senator-Elect Mohamed ran a robust campaign advocating for affordable health care, support for Minnesota’s immigrant families, economic justice, and investments in our public schools. We’re thrilled to see where her leadership can take Minnesota!
Erin Maye-Quade, Senate District 56 (Apple Valley, Eagan, Rosemount)
Erin Maye-Quade has been a progressive champion for Minnesotans throughout her career. She previously served in the Minnesota House of Representatives, trailblazing the way for women of color and members of the LGBTQ+ community.
In addition to being one of three first Black women to serve in the Minnesota Senate, Erin Maye-Quade will be the first out lesbian in the Minnesota Senate. She’s part of a historic class of LGBTQ+ representation at the Capitol. Congrats, Erin!
Clare Oumou Verbeten, Senate District 66 (St. Paul, Roseville, Lauderdale, Falcon Heights)
Another trailblazing Black woman in the Minnesota Senate, Clare Oumou Verbeten, has spent her whole career advocating for Minnesota communities. As a state senator, Clare has promised to fight for racial justice, affordable housing, and health care for all. Congrats, Clare!
An incredible step forward for LGBTQ+ representation in Minnesota
Minnesotans elected two LGBTQ+ lawmakers whose victories were a historic first.
Leigh Finke, House District 66A (St. Paul, Roseville, Lauderdale, Falcon Heights)
Leigh Finke will soon be the first openly transgender legislator in Minnesota.
Leigh is committed to expanding protections for trans, queer and LGBTQ people of all ages and ran on a promise to fight to protect abortion in Minnesota. Her election to the Minnesota Legislature is part of a historic wave of transgender lawmakers entering government across the U.S. Congrats, Leigh!
Alicia Kozlowski, House District 8B (Duluth)
Alicia will be the first non-binary legislator in Minnesota! But being the first is no stranger to Representative-elect Kozlowski. aAs a fierce advocate for Northern Minnesota communities, Alicia worked throughout her career to stand up for hardworking Minnesota families and was the first Latina-Ojibwe to serve on the Executive Leadership Team in the City of Duluth’s history.
Their election is an incredible step forward for LGBTQ+ representation in Minnesota.
The first Japanese American to be elected to the Minnesota Legislature
Samantha Sencer-Mura, House District 63A (South Minneapolis)
Samantha is an educator, a working mom, a local community leader, and a fourth-generation Japanese American. She is running on an innovative platform with big visions for Minnesota public schools, racial justice, and climate resilience. We can’t wait to see what her big and bold ideas bring to the legislature.
Minnesota has its first international recording artist legislator
It would be a shame not to include Minnesota’s first hip-hop artist legislator on our list of trailblazers:
María Isa, House District 65B (West St. Paul)
María Isa is a lifelong Minnesotan raised on the West Side of Saint Paul. She is a cultural community organizer, international recording artist, and youth worker.
As a Type 1 diabetic and insulin organizer, María Isa is committed to fighting for affordable health care in Minnesota. Besides making music, María is dedicated to keeping housing affordable for her community, advocating for public schools, and building a green economy. Welcome, María!
Let’s go make progress
We’re thrilled to welcome these new leaders to the table and can’t wait to see how they shape Minnesota over the next two years.
With progressive control of all three branches of Minnesota’s government, the sky’s the limit for passing meaningful, ambitious policy that invests in our communities and dreams big.
Congratulations to the victors from across the state!
Not sure who your legislators are? No worries. Use this link to learn all about your elected officials.
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