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Breaking the Ice: City, Capitol veteran leads Metro Cities group

Name: Patricia Nauman

Title: Executive director, Metro Cities (Association of Metropolitan Municipalities)

Education: Bachelor of Arts, English, College of St. Catherine

Patricia Nauman’s experience in city government and as a Minnesota Senate administrator prepared her for the unique mission of Metro Cities, which represents Twin Cities municipalities at the Metropolitan Council and the state Legislature.

Nauman has been executive director of Metro Cities since 2009 after joining the organization in 2005. Before that, Nauman was a longtime administrator for the Senate’s Taxes and Education committees. Nauman began her career with the city of Columbia Heights Housing and Redevelopment Authority.

“This job brings both of those worlds together in a wonderful way,” said Nauman, who has been at the Capitol for some 25 sessions.

Metro Cities, founded in 1974 as the Association of Metropolitan Municipalities, represents 91 cities and 90 percent of the population in the seven-county metro area.

“Metro Cities is the watchdog and liaison for the cities” at both the council and the Capitol, Nauman said.

Metro Cities supports additional transportation resources and in the most recent session had a bonding proposal to help cities with sewer repairs. Tools for economic development and redevelopment also are among its priorities.

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

A. I like it when somebody says something funny that’s designed to get a laugh, sort of approaches with a joke or a funny comment; somebody who’s got a good sense of humor and is not afraid to show it.

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

A. Right now, biographies of Edna O’Brien, an Irish writer, and Queen Elizabeth — I’m a big fan. I also have the short stories of Lydia Davis.

Q. What is a pet peeve of yours?

A. Seeing people in athletic wear in restaurants. I’m never quite sure: Have they just worked out or is it more just casual wear? I always find myself wondering that. That’s just a factor I’d rather not introduce into my experience.

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

A. I love to travel, France in particular. I’m a definite Francophile and have traveled to several areas of France. I also enjoy walking and like to get a daily walk in. And going out for breakfast.

Q. If someone visits you in your hometown, what’s something you always take them to see or do?

A. I live in Minneapolis and grew up in Columbia Heights. Usually breakfast at the Blackbird Cafe in south Minneapolis. My favorite place to take people is the Museum of Russian Art. It’s a small museum so you can see whatever the collection or exhibition is in an hour, and they always have something really interesting there. They have some really well-thought-out exhibitions. I tend to take a lot of people there when they’re in town.

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

A. The Weinstein Gallery in Minneapolis had exhibitions of [photographers] Gordon Parks and Elliot Erwitt. In Provence [a region in southeastern France] my husband and I recently saw an exhibition in an old stone quarry about the size of four football fields where they project major artworks of Chagall or Klimt or Monet on these stone walls. It just is really cool.

Q. What do you miss most with the Capitol under renovation?

A. People converge on the Capitol, so it’s a good place to catch a lot of people in one place. I do miss that.

Q. What’s your favorite hidden place at the Capitol?

A. With the Capitol closed, I’ve found a new place that’s sort of hidden. It’s a bench on the east side of the Senate building. It’s just kind of tucked away. It’s a nice place for making calls or having a quieter conversation, until someone else comes along.

Q. Is there someone at the Capitol who does a lot of work without getting a lot of credit?

A. The Secretary of the Senate’s Engrossing Office. They basically get all the language of the bills, the law, into its appropriate form. They make sure the language is correct and reflects the action of the bodies.

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