Biography Senator Melisa Franzen

Senator Melisa Franzen is currently serving her second term in the Minnesota State Senate after her election in 2012, and subsequently in 2016. She represents Senate District 49 which includes the communities of Bloomington, Eden Prairie, Edina, and Minnetonka. Senator Franzen currently serves on the Taxes and the Transportation and Public Safety Finance Committees. She has previously served as the Vice Chair of the Health and Human Services Committee, on the Education Policy Committee and was a member of the Capitol Area Architectural and Planning Board.

Senator Franzen is a small business owner and is the Co-Founder and President of NewPublica, a public relations and strategic communications firm based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Senator Franzen was previously an attorney at Target Corporation for eight years where she held various positions in Government Affairs and Community Relations. She earned her Master of Public Policy with a concentration in Economic and Community Development from the Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota and her J.D. at Hamline University School of Law.

She has been a lifelong volunteer in her community growing up in Puerto Rico where she was active in Girl Scouts and 4H. Senator Franzen is also the former President of the Minnesota Hispanic Bar Association and Regional Vice President of the Hispanic National Bar Association, and formerly served on the Board of Directors for the Girl Scouts of Minnesota and Wisconsin River Valleys as well as the Comunidades Latinas Unidas en Servicio (CLUES).

Senator Franzen’s legislative proposals reflect her strong advocacy for quality early childhood education, ensuring a well-trained educated workforce, and closing the achievement gap. She also understands the value of making sustainable investments in transportation infrastructure. Her key policy interest remains her work in health care policy and believes access to health care should be affordable, transparent and accountable to the patient. She is leading efforts to reform the prior authorization process for medications.

She resides in Edina with her husband, Nathan, and their two sons Philip and Arthur. They enjoy traveling and going up north to their cabin in Finland, Minnesota.

Professional Experience

  • President & Co-Founder, NewPublica
  • Attorney, Target Corporation


  • Juris Doctor, Hamline University School of Law
  • Master of Public Policy, Concentration Economic and Community Development, Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota


  • Board of Directors, Girl Scouts of Minnesota and Wisconsin River Valleys
  • President, Minnesota Hispanic Bar Association
  • Founder, Law Student Endowment Fund Scholarship, Hamline University School of Law

Awards & Recognitions

  • Minnesota Medical Association, 2016 James H. Sova Memorial Award, honors a nonmedical professional who has made a significant contribution to the advancement of medicine, for her work on the medication prior authorization reform legislation
  • Minnesota Academy of Family Physicians (MAFP) Legislative Achievement Award for 2016
  • Minnesota Association of Resources for Recovery and Chemical Health (MNARRCH): Legislator of the Year Award in 2015
  • Parent Aware for School Readiness: Early Education Four Star Legislator in 2015
  • Hunger Solution: Hunger Hero in 2014
  • American Heart Association: Legislator of the Year in 2014
  • HUSL Latino Law Student Association: Juris Fiesta Founders Award in 2014
  • Voices for Racial Justice: Champion for Racial Equality/The Outstanding Leadership Award from 2013-2014
  • Opportunity Partners Ability Redefined: Thank-You/Letter of Appreciation in recognition of her for outstanding leadership in 2014
  • Youth Intervention Programs Association: Youth Intervention Champion in 2013
  • Cancer Action Network: Rookie of the Year in 2013