Dear 66B DFLers:
I write to you today as an 8 term State Representative and I realize most folks in Minnesota will know me mostly as just that – a Civil Law and Data Practices person, Tax Committee liaison for Saint Paul, Chair of the Saint Paul Delegation and, of course, lawyer. I’d like to introduce you to where I come from and what drives my passion for service to Saint Paul at the Minnesota Legislature.
I grew up in Brooklyn Park where I matriculated through the Osseo School district. Junior High and High School were especially hard on me and they shaped how I approached my life thereafter in pursuit of justice for those who weren’t able to stand up for themselves. Those teenage hardship years resulted in me attending seminary for three years with the Redemptorists, a Catholic Order of Priests and Brothers whose mission is to minister to the poor and most abandoned in our midst. In 1995, I graduated with Degrees in Philosophy and Psychology and married my college sweetheart, Tina. A few days after the wedding, Tina and I moved to Saint Paul in a 36 foot U-Haul, and rented a 1 bedroom apartment near Hamline University where I attended law school. Tina and I remained married for ten years and were blessed with a daughter whom we named Alice.
I graduated from Hamline Law in 1998 and immediately began working on campaigns for Senator Paul Wellstone, Senator Ellen Anderson, Senator Sandy Pappas, Representative Jim Farrell, Congressman Bruce Vento, and Attorney General Skip Humphrey. It is from these people that I initially learned the necessary skills to which I would apply to my political work for the next 20 years: to comfort the afflicted, and afflict the comfortable.
It hasn’t always been easy. Sometimes, afflicting the comfortable means annoying your friends. And yes, I’ve done that plenty over the years – sometimes in a way that many thought crossed the line of prudence. But I think we all know that without a driving ethos, our communities, our state, and even our DFL party would be morally bankrupt. That ethos has led me to sponsor funding for an audit that led to the Blueprint for Safety – which is now a model for how law enforcement interacts with victims of domestic violence to protect their interests and increase convictions of abusers. It’s also behind my loyalty to our brothers and sisters in labor who, beyond any other single group, remain the most consistent guardians of economic and social justice at the Minnesota Capitol. As a proud 15-year member of AFSCME local 3757, I understood the crucial role for collective bargaining, and I will always support clean contracts for our state employees.
After the 2008 elections, Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher appointed me to lead the newly formed Committee on Data Practices. In that role, I have championed the free speech of protestors and those petitioning their government, constitutional privacy of your personal data, civil rights for our diverse Saint Paul communities, and government transparency in data practices. While this is not the most exciting area of policy, I believe it is an imperative for a free, diverse, and tolerant society.
In 2012, I married Melissa Reed - an amazing woman with a sharp wit and an amazing intellect. The primary division in our home has nothing to do with the fact that she is Jewish and I am Catholic, and everything to do with the fact that she is a lobbyist for Minneapolis and I am a legislator for Saint Paul. :) Melissa is a steadfast community builder, organizer, and policy wonk. Together, we fight side by side for economic and social justice, diverse and vibrant communities, and a sustainable future for our children. We share a home in Como with Alice, who is a junior at Saint Paul Central High School, and Eleanor, who is 20 months. I look forward to getting to know your family, and your concerns for Minnesota's future, in the coming months.
State Representative John Lesch
P.S. I could really use your help in fighting for a DFL majority in the House! Did you know you can contribute $50.00 per person and get a full refund from Minnesota Revenue? Please click here to make a contribution. Click