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Diversity & Inclusion: Susan Allen

Susan Allen announced last December that she wouldn’t seek re-election to her seat in the Minnesota House of Representatives. While her practice at Jacobson Law Group will surely benefit from her full-time attention, she will also be leaving the House as a more inclusive body that has worked to help various disadvantaged populations.

“It was worth taking time out of my legal career to not only work on social justice issues but also to bring a voice to indigenous people,” said Allen. “That was missing when I first came to the Legislature.”

Indeed, the House now has more than a dozen representatives of color, as opposed to just a few when Allen was first elected in 2012. Allen was the first Native American woman to serve in the Legislature, following a career as an activist.

Since Allen won her seat, three more Native American women have joined the House: Reps. Jamie Becker-Finn, Peggy Flanagan and Mary Kunesh-Podein. That group added their names to more than a dozen bills that specifically addressed issues related to the native community.

An enrolled member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, Allen will return to a thriving career representing tribal governments, gaming enterprises and tribal business entities on matters including tribal and corporate governance, commercial transactions, contracts and tax issues.

“Indigenous people tend to be forgotten and hidden,” she said. “Or if they’re given attention, it’s negative.

“Both in my practice and during my time in the House, I’ve tried to give them a voice so that people understand the issues they face.”

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