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Labor 2012

Melisa Franzen: Urges
re-focus, ‘creating jobs should be number one priority’

From the Minneapolis Labor Review, October 26, 2012

By Steve Share, Minneapolis Labor Review editor

EDINA — “I’ve been doorknocking thousands of doors, talked with thousands of people. People are frustrated with the state of politics in Minnesota,” says Melisa Franzen, Senate District 49 candidate in Edina and Bloomington.

Franzen is endorsed by the Minnesota AFL-CIO and the DFL Party.

“We need to elect people who are willing to work with all sides and are open and responsive,” she says.

“Our legislature hasn’t been doing its job,” she says, pointing to the last two sessions of the legislature. “I don’t think we’re focusing on the right things… Creating jobs should be our number one priority.”

She says restoring funds for education, moving forward with health care reform and investing in renewable energy will be among her other top concerns.

Franzen grew up in Puerto Rico in a family of union members. Her father was a policeman, two aunts were teachers, another aunt was a nurse, a cousin was a union electrical worker. In Puerto Rico, she says, she learned how strong unions were important to “the balance of power between unions and government or unions and private employers.”

After graduating from college in Puerto Rico, she came to Minnesota in 2001 with a scholarship to attend the Humphrey Institute at the University of Minnesota and earned a master’s degree in public affairs in 2003.

That’s when she met her future husband, Nathan Franzen, a Little Falls native. “I fell in love not only with my husband but also Minnesota,” she says, “and embraced everything” — including ice fishing, snowmobiling, and trips in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area.

Franzen went on to earn a law degree from Hamline University Law School in 2006. She currently works as an attorney for Target Corporation and is involved with real estate and public affairs.

Six years ago, Franzen says, “when we decided to grow roots and settle in we picked Edina because of the schools and the great quality of life.”

Franzen is making her first run for public office. She notes that she entered the race for Senate District 49 before the incumbent, Geoff Michel, announced he would not run.

Franzen’s opponent is Republican Keith Downey, who seeks to move to the Senate after two terms in the House attacking teachers, public employees, and unions.  In the 2012 session of the legislature, Downey earned a zero rating from the Minnesota AFL-CIO, voting against working families on each of 16 votes scored.

Melisa Franzen website:

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