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Progressive Profiles: The Trailblazers Part 2.

Welcome to part 2 of 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.

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. 

Hmong refugees enter the Minnesota Legislature 

Since 1979, Minnesota has welcomed more than 109,000 refugees directly, and many others have moved to Minnesota from other states. As a result, St. Paul has the largest Hmong community in the United States. Refugees and immigrants are a vital part of the Minnesota community, and this year two former refugees were elected to represent their communities in the Minnesota Legislature. 

Ethan Cha, House District 47B (Woodbury) 

Born in a Thai refugee camp, Representative-Elect Cha came to Minnesota as a child. After many years of hard work, Ethan is now a small business owner, father of two, and a grassroots organizer in Woodbury. As a lawmaker, Representative-Elect Cha will bring invaluable perspective on the experience of refugees and immigrants in Minnesota. 

Congratulations on the victory, Ethan!

Liz Lee, House District 67A (Saint Paul Eastside)

Kaozouapa Lee, or Liz Lee was born in Saint Paul after her family migrated from the refugees camps of Thailand after the civil war in Laos displaced her family. From delivering papers as a teenager on the Eastside of Saint Paul to Yale University, Representative-Elect Lee has an impressive record of advocating for communities of color and securing meaningful results. 

As a legislator, Liz is dedicated to reinvesting in students and education, funding safe and accessible infrastructure, and fighting for economic and social justice. Congratulations on your victory, Liz!

Minnesota LGBTQ+ candidates are victorious 

The 2023-2024 Minnesota Legislature will host a historic class of LGBTQ+ representation at the Capitol.

Brion Curran, House District 36B (Birchwood Village, Gem Lake, White Bear Lake, Vadnais Heights)

From Vadnais Heights, Minnesota, Brion is a passionate health & human services employee, former police officer, social justice advocate, public education supporter, and a proud member of the LGBTQ+ community. 

Brion has spent her career advocating for public safety initiatives that support all of our communities and protect the human rights and dignity of Minnesotans. 

Brion’s election is an incredible step forward for LGBTQ+ representation in Minnesota. Congratulations, Brion. We can’t wait to see what you accomplish in office.

Black lawmakers are bringing invaluable voices to the session

Mary Frances Clardy, House District 53A (Inver Grove Heights, Sunfish Lake, Lilydale, and portions of West Saint Paul and Mendota Heights)

Mary Frances Clardy is part of Minnesota’s historic wave of Black women entering the Legislature. Representative-Elect Clardy is a current Inver Grove Heights school board member, educator, and disability advocate. Her work focuses on supporting Minnesota schools, teachers, and students, advocating for affordable housing, legalizing Marijuana, and investing in mental health and disability services. 

Congratulations, Representative-Elect Clardy!

Samakab Hussein, House District 65A (Saint Paul, Rondo, Frogtown, and Rice Street)

Samakab Hussein is Saint Paul’s first-ever Somali American candidate to win a major party endorsement for elected office. As a longtime advocate for the city’s East African community, Representative-Elect Hussein prides himself on building bridges between people from different backgrounds and getting results. 

Samakab is passionate about investing in innovative approaches to crime and public safety, ending police brutality, and uplifting community voices in the legislative process. Congrats and welcome to the Legislature, Samakab! 

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.

And sign up to stay up to date about opportunities to get involved and share your voice in the coming year! 


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