The Potluck

Sen. Melisa López Franzen elected Senate DFL minority leader, becoming first Latina caucus leader

By: - September 13, 2021 7:36 pm

State Sen. Melisa Franzen, DFL-Edina, speaks on the Senate floor earlier this year. Photo by A.J. Olmscheid/Minnesota Senate

Sen. Melisa López Franzen of Edina has been elected Senate minority leader, becoming the first Latina to lead the Senate DFL caucus. 

Franzen, 41, a third-term senator, is the new face of the caucus and will lead Senate Democratic lawmakers as they navigate redistricting and try to win back a majority in 2022. 

She succeeds Sen. Susan Kent, DFL-Woodbury, after Kent stepped down from leadership and announced she would not seek reelection to her Senate seat so she can focus on family. 

Franzen had previously resigned her position as assistant minority leader over Kent’s handling of a harassment complaint now under independent investigation.

Franzen is an attorney who previously worked for Target and has a consulting business. She is a native of Puerto Rico. 

She is expected to hold her first press conference as minority leader on Tuesday afternoon.

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Ricardo Lopez
Ricardo Lopez

Ricardo Lopez is the senior political reporter for the Reformer. Ricardo is not new to Minnesota politics, previously reporting on the Dayton administration and statehouse for The Star Tribune from 2014 to 2017, and the Republican National Convention in 2016. Previously, he was a staff writer at The Los Angeles Times covering the California economy. He's a Las Vegas native who has adopted Minnesota as his home state. In his spare time, he likes to run, cook and volunteer with Save-a-Bull, a Minneapolis dog rescue group.