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#249 Susan Allen brings Native American voice to politics

By Cathryn Wellner / January 22, 2012

A lot of the crazy things happening in politics these days make me teeter between despair and disbelief. So when a piece of good news comes along, I just have to share it.

This one came to me from Julia Dinsmore. She is one of my inspirations, so when she sends me one of her reasons for hope, I pay attention.

This time it’s several firsts:

  • election of Susan Allen, a Native American, lesbian woman, as Minnesota State Representative for House District 61B
  • a swearing-in ceremony that starts with a drumming circle
  • an honour song and a whole lot of hugs, right there in the legislature

Bringing not only her skills but also her culture and spirit to the state legislature changes that body’s dynamics. No matter what difficulties she may face in bringing about the changes she envisions, she has brought intention and prayer into the room.

According to her campaign site, Allen is Lakota, Dakota and Anishinabe. She is an attorney with experience in tax and tribal law. She knows what it is like to face discrimination and climb her way over and around barriers.

She has dreams for her district, where so many live on the margins. In her speech she said,

I am eager to get to work to address the needs of our district. In our district we have a disproportionate representation of children living in poverty. I am eager to get started on creating jobs, closing the achievement gap, working for a fair tax system so that the wealthy of us pay their fair share, and protecting our environment.

Susan Allen gives me hope. She has smarts, grace, and commitment. I look forward to the day when people who are part of the LGBT community, are visible minorities, have disabilities or now wear other labels are judged only by the quality of their character. Susan Allen brings that day nearer.

Thank you, Julia, and thank you, Susan Allen.


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