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Breaking the Ice: Sen. Frentz prioritizes schools, bipartisanship

Name: Nick Frentz

Title: Senator, District 19

Education: B.A., law and society, Macalester College; J.D., William Mitchell College of Law

 

As excited as Sen. Nick Frentz, DFL-North Mankato, was to begin his term, the freshman legislator finds the reality is even better.

“It’s fantastic; the people that work here, the issues that are important to Minnesotans, the whole thing,” Frentz said.

Frentz, an attorney, said his goals at the Capitol include protecting education in his district and statewide and improving bipartisanship.

“I would likewise love to be an agent for some better cooperation between metro and greater Minnesota or as we always called it, ‘outstate,’” Frentz said.

Frentz, who has deep roots in the Mankato area, nonetheless was born thousands of miles from his hometown.

 

Q. What’s the best way to start a conversation with you?

A. “Hey Nick, what’s up?” That’s really the best way to do it.

Q. What books are on your bedside table or e-reader?

A. One is a book called “The Lost Airman” about a downed American airman, shot down over France, who with the help of the French Resistance makes his way eventually to escape back to the States in 1944. That’s a favorite area for me to read in, military history. The other one is “The Senator Next Door,” by Senator Amy Klobuchar.

Q. What is a pet peeve of yours?

A. I do not like being interrupted when I read the newspaper. The same for the last 30 years: I read the Mankato Free Press, the Minneapolis Star Tribune in the mornings and the Wall Street Journal at lunch.

Q. What’s a favorite activity outside your job?

A. I’ve always enjoyed working with youth activities in particular sports as a coach, an administrator and a fan. I’m still active on two boards outside of work in the Senate, youth football in Mankato and North Mankato and a high school hockey league here in the cities, the Upper Midwest High School Hockey Elite League.

Q. If someone visits you in your hometown, what would you take them to see or do?

A. I take them to see the older neighborhoods in Mankato and North Mankato, the houses from the 1800s and the neighborhoods. The part of town that my father’s from, the houses go back 120 years. I like the history of that town.

Q. Has an event or person been an inspiration to you?

A. No question, my two parents each in their own way. Very much encouraged me to be myself.

Q. What’s one way to end partisan polarization?

A. Your constituents have to come first before your political party. That was the No. 1 thing I heard in my district. Why can’t they work together better? Why isn’t there compromise? Will you go there and work for the good of the district more than the good of a specific political party?

I think a spirit of working together is a feature of successful organizations, and if you’re going to ask how we’re going to do good things for the people of Minnesota why wouldn’t you want your Legislature to work the same way?

Q. What is the last arts or cultural event you attended?

A. I attended the cultural festival at the Xcel Energy Center (on Jan. 17) with the Wild versus the Devils. It was a cultural disappointment as the Wild lost 4-3. But culturally I enjoyed the heck out of it. I went with my nephew.

Q. What is the highlight or lowlight of your daily commute to work?

A. Turning down John Ireland (Boulevard) and seeing the Capitol. I cannot tell you how inspiring it is.

Q. What is something few people know about you?

A. My father was in the United States Army and stationed in Japan. My mother took a boat over there in June of 1963 and then gave birth to me. So I was born in northern Japan. No birther jokes please! It was a two-week boat ride. This is a lady that’s eight and a half months pregnant. She said this is the first child, the first grandchild, the first great-grandchild so there was as much fanfare as they could put up for a baby in 1963.

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