League of Minnesota Cities honors 35 state lawmakers as 2023 Legislators of Distinction

(ABC 6 News) – The League of Minnesota Cities has selected 20 members of the Minnesota House of Representatives and 15 state Senators as Legislators of Distinction for 2023.

The honor recognizes legislators for specific actions that aided the efforts of Minnesota cities during this year’s legislative session.

Legislators of Distinction are approved annually by the League’s Board of Directors in recognition of the collaboration of state and city officials needed to successfully serve shared communities and meet the unique needs of rural, urban, and suburban residents across Minnesota.

To be eligible for the award, legislators must achieve one or more of the following criteria:

  • Be generally and reasonably accessible to League representatives.
  • Seek input on issues of importance to cities.
  • Listen to League concerns and be receptive to League-provided information on issues.
  • Sponsor and/or support League initiatives.
  • Speak out on behalf of the interest of cities.
  • Demonstrate the importance of partnership between the state and cities.

Senator Carla Nelson (R-Rochester) was honored as one of the Legislators of Distinction.

According to Sen. Nelson’s office, she was the chief author of a proposal to provide policy and technical changes to the local sales tax process that would benefit cities. She also co-authored several proposals to support additional tax increment financing authority and changes that benefit small cities. She also regularly checked in with League staff on issues regarding local control and opposed unfunded mandates placed on local governments.

“I am honored to receive the League of Minnesota Cities Legislator of Distinction award,” Senator Nelson said. “I care deeply about ensuring that all of our cities, big and small, have the resources and support they need to thrive, innovate, and grow. The League of Minnesota Cities has been an invaluable partner in this mission. I’m proud to stand with the League as we work to shape policies that will allow all Minnesotans to enjoy a high quality of life no matter where they call home.” 

Award winners received a letter of appreciation and a certificate. A copy of the acknowledgement letter was also sent to the mayor of each city in the legislator’s district.

The Legislators of Distinction for 2023 are listed below:


  • Rep. Patty Acomb, DFL — Minnetonka, District 45B
  • Rep. Esther Agbaje, DFL — Minneapolis, District 59B
  • Rep. Jeff Brand, DFL — St. Peter, District 18A
  • Rep. Mike Freiberg, DFL — Golden Valley, District 43B
  • Rep. Aisha Gomez, DFL — Minneapolis, District 62A
  • Rep. Kaohly Her, DFL— St. Paul, District 64A
  • Rep. Frank Hornstein, DFL — Minneapolis, District 61A
  • Rep. Michael Howard, DFL — Richfield, District 51A
  • Rep. Jim Joy, R — Hawley, District 04B
  • Rep. Ginny Klevorn, DFL — Plymouth, District 42B
  • Rep. Erin Koegel, DFL — Spring Lake Park, District 39A
  • Rep. Larry Kraft, DFL — St. Louis Park, District 46A
  • Rep. Leon Lillie, DFL — North St. Paul, District 44B
  • Rep. Dave Lislegard, DFL — Aurora, District 07B
  • Rep. Danny Nadeau, R — Rogers, District 34A
  • Rep. Jim Nash, R — Waconia, District 48A
  • Rep. Matt Norris, DFL — Blaine, District 32B
  • Rep. Marion Rarick, R — Maple Lake, District 29B
  • Rep. Roger Skraba, R — Ely, District 03A
  • Rep. Dean Urdahl, R — Grove City, District 16A


  • Sen. Jim Carlson DFL — Eagan, District 52
  • Sen. Steve Cwodzinski DFL — Eden Prairie, District 49
  • Sen. Scott Dibble DFL — Minneapolis, District 61
  • Sen. Nick Frentz DFL — North Mankato, District 18
  • Sen. Heather Gustafson DFL — Vadnais Heights, District 36
  • Sen. Grant Hauschild DFL — Hermantown, District 03
  • Sen. Foung Hawj DFL — St. Paul, District 67
  • Sen. John Jasinski, R — Faribault, District 19
  • Sen. Matt Klein DFL — Mendota Heights, District 53
  • Sen. Erin Murphy DFL — St. Paul, District 64
  • Sen. Carla Nelson, R — Rochester, District 24
  • Sen. Sandra L. Pappas DFL — St. Paul, District 65
  • Sen. Lindsey Port DFL — Burnsville, District 55
  • Sen. Jordan Rasmusson R — Fergus Falls, District 09
  • Sen. Ann Rest DFL — New Hope, District 43