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Kunesh, Mary K.

House 2017-2020 (District 41B); Senate 2021-2022 (District 41); Senate 2023-Present (District 39)

Party when first elected:  Democratic-Farmer-Labor

Counties Served:  Anoka, Hennepin, Ramsey

BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION

Date of Birth: 11/20/1960
Birth Place: St. Paul, Minnesota
Birth County:
Birth Country: United States
Date of Death:
Gender: Female
Religion:
Reported Minority: American Indian
Other Names:
Former Name: Kunesh-Podein
City of Residence (when first elected): New Brighton
Occupation (when first elected): Library Media Specialist

EDUCATION

St. Catherine's University, St. Paul; B.A.; Elementary Education, 1995
St. Cloud State University; M.A.; Information Media, 2010

OTHER GOVERNMENT SERVICE

Municipal Board/Commission: New Brighton (Parks, Recreation and Environment, Chair); 2010 to 02/2017

FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS

Spouse: Tim
Children: Three children: Elianne, Louisa, Elie
Family Members Who Have Served in the Minnesota Legislature:

GENERAL NOTES

Special legislative concerns: Education, civil justice, environment, American Indian issues.

During her State Representative tenure her name was Mary Kunesh-Podein.

She is the first indigenous woman to serve in the Minnesota Senate.

She refers to herself as a person of Lakota heritage on her 2020 campaign website.

Her "mother and grandfather [were] enrolled members of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe." (Minnesota Lawyer, April 27, 2017)

She was a founding member of the Native American and People of Color & Indigenous (POCI) caucuses.

She has 12 siblings (she is nine of thirteen kids) in her family and has a twin.

Total Days Served: 2221

SESSIONS SERVED

93rd Legislative Session (2023-2024)

  Session Details
Body: Senate
District: 39
Elected: 11/8/2022
Residence: New Brighton
Term of Office: 1/3/2023 to 1/6/2025
Counties Represented: Anoka, Hennepin, Ramsey
Occupation: Library media specialist/legislator
Party: Democratic-Farmer-Labor
Bills Authored: Chief Author     Author
Committees:
  • Agriculture, Broadband &Rural Development
  • Education Finance (Chair)
  • Education Policy
  • Environment, Climate & Legacy
Leadership Position: Assistant Majority Leader

92nd Legislative Session (2021-2022)

  Session Details
Body: Senate
District: 41
Elected: 11/3/2020
Residence: New Brighton
Term of Office: 1/5/2021 to 1/2/2023
Counties Represented: Anoka, Hennepin, Ramsey
Occupation: Library media specialist/legislator
Party: Democratic-Farmer-Labor
Bills Authored: Chief Author     Author
Committees:
  • Education Finance and Policy
  • Mining and Forestry Policy
  • Redistricting
Leadership Position: Assistant Minority Leader

91st Legislative Session (2019-2020)

  Session Details
Body: House
District: 41B
Elected: 11/6/2018
Residence: New Brighton
Term of Office: 1/8/2019 to 1/4/2021
Counties Represented: Anoka, Hennepin, Ramsey
Occupation: Educator
Party: Democratic-Farmer-Labor
Bills Authored: Chief Author     Author
Committees:
  • Education Policy Minutes
  • Ethics Minutes
  • Ways & Means: Education Finance Division Minutes
  • Ways & Means: Health and Human Services Finance Division Minutes
Leadership Position: Assistant Majority Leader

90th Legislative Session (2017-2018)

  Session Details
Body: House
District: 41B
Elected: 11/8/2016
Residence: New Brighton
Term of Office: 1/3/2017 to 1/7/2019
Counties Represented: Anoka, Hennepin, Ramsey
Occupation: Library Media Specialist
Party: Democratic-Farmer-Labor
Bills Authored: Chief Author     Author
Committees:
Video
2020 Departing House Member Speeches (Video) 2020



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