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Breaking the Ice: Former legislative assistant settles into House

Name: Jamie Becker-Finn

Title: Representative, District 42B

Education: Bachelor of Arts, psychology, University of Minnesota; law degree, William Mitchell College of Law

Freshman Rep. Jamie Becker-Finn, DFL-Roseville, is new to elective office but no stranger to the Capitol, thanks to having worked two years as a legislative assistant.

“It’s fun to be on the other side and be someone sitting at the table who actually is allowed to speak,” Becker-Finn said of her recent experience in a committee hearing.

Becker-Finn already is chief author of a bill that would appropriate $23.5 million in bond money for interchange construction at Interstate 694 and Rice Street. Her district covers Little Canada, Vadnais Heights, Gem Lake and parts of Roseville and Shoreview.

Becker-Finn, who ran for an open seat, is an assistant Hennepin County attorney who serves as a domestic violence prosecutor.

She grew up in Cass Lake. Her father is an enrolled member of the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe. “I jokingly tell people that I’m ‘Norw-Indian,’” Becker-Finn said. “I’m pretty much 100 percent Minnesotan.”

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

A. Other than authentically asking about my kids, I’m a huge Vikings fan, Wild fan and Minnesota United fan, so those are easy ways to get a conversation started.

Q. Who was the first presidential candidate you voted for and why?

A. Al Gore. I’m kind of a nerd, so I appreciate the intelligence and really long-term perspective that Al Gore brings to most situations.

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

A. I’m a big reader. If I’m going to make time for something outside of work and being with my kids it’s probably going to be reading. I’m finally getting around to reading Louise Erdrich’s latest (“LaRose”). My go-to when I need to clear my head is Harry Potter.

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

A. Reading. Slower times when I can completely be present with my kids. They’re at really fun ages. My daughter is 2½, really extroverted and outgoing and talkative. My son’s in kindergarten.

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

A. Weather permitting, I like to take people to Star Island. It’s an island in Cass Lake. I’m from Cass Lake on the Leech Lake Reservation. Star Island is unique in that it has a lake within it. So it’s an island within a lake that has its own lake within the island, Lake Windigo.

Q. Has an event or person inspired you?

A. My parents, who have always been great role models. Both of them chose careers where they get to help people and contribute to the community and they both do additional things that they aren’t required to do toward making their communities better. I’m also a very big fan of President Obama. I am one of the candidates endorsed by President Obama. That was a really special thing. I’ve always been inspired by his story and how he carries himself as a politician, and his message of hope and community organizing is really powerful.

Q. Where do you like to eat lunch?

A. I’ve worked in downtown Minneapolis for many years now and am a big fan of food trucks. My favorite one is MidNord Empanada. I don’t know if they make it over to St. Paul. Tatanka Truck is another really good one.

Q. What’s something very few people know that about you?

We have two corgis, two funny-looking, short-legged dogs. These are actually paintings of my dogs [on her office walls]. One of them, she’s almost 12 and the other one is 8.

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