DFL senators pick Franzen as new leader

a woman stands in front of a podium
Sen. Melisa López Franzen, DFL-Edina, the day after she was elected leader of the Senate DFL caucus.
Tim Pugmire | MPR News

Democrats in the Minnesota Senate have selected Sen. Melisa López Franzen, DFL-Edina, as their new caucus leader. The pick came during a private caucus meeting Monday night.

Franzen is a lawyer and small business owner who was first elected to her suburban senate seat in 2012. She is currently serving her third term.

Franzen grew up in Puerto Rico. She is a member of the Legislature’s People of Color and Indigenous (POCI) caucus.

Franzen replaces Susan Kent, who recently announced she would step down as minority leader and would not seek reelection to her Woodbury senate seat in 2022. Kent said she based those decisions on family matters that need her attention.

Earlier in the summer, Franzen stepped down as assistant minority leader because she was concerned about the way sexual harassment claims involving staff members had been handled. She also called for an independent investigation.

Senate Republicans also have a new leader. They selected Sen. Jeremy Miller of Winona last week to replace Paul Gazelka as majority leader. Gazelka stepped down from the leadership post to run for governor.

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