Senator Melisa Franzen (DFL-Edina) represents District 49, which includes the communities of Edina and Bloomington. She was first elected to the Minnesota Senate in 2012, reelected in 2016, and is serving her second term. She serves on the Transportation Finance and Policy Committee, as well as on the Tax Committee.
1. Tell us about what you do for a living when you’re not serving as a legislator.
When I’m not serving as a legislator, I work at a small public affairs and media relations company that I own called New Publica. We offer PR consulting, as well as advising on issue campaigns. One of the ad campaigns we’ve most recently worked on was the MinneMinds initiative.
2. What about in your spare time? Any hobbies or interests that we would be surprised to know you enjoy?
My family and I are currently going on hiking adventures in the district, and every weekend we try to go somewhere new. I think my favorite place right now though is Highland Park, that’s just a fantastic place.
3. Why is the health technology community important to you?
I think the health technology community is important because of its impact to my district. Many of my constituents work in the industry, and without the industry, we would certainly be worse off without the innovation, as well as good, high paying jobs and investment that help to keep Minnesota’s economy strong.
4. What are some of your legislative priorities for this session?
I’d say there are two things that I’ve really been working towards this session. The first is Prior Authorization, which affects every Minnesotan, as access to drugs as well as cost are issues for nearly everyone, regardless of socioeconomic status. I’m disappointed that we haven’t been able to have these bills heard in the House this year. The other initiative that I’ve been working towards is getting a transportation bill passed, but not just any package – it needs to be a robust, sustainable bill that allows for efficient use so that we can continue to grow jobs and our state economy.
5. Use one word to describe yourself as a Senator.
I have a commitment to this job, even though it can be challenging at times, because at the end of the day, I genuinely believe that we can affect change, and the things that we work towards and do can and will make a difference. As long as I think I can make a difference, I’ll continue to serve.