The Minnesota Legislature is comprised of 201 individual members, each charged with representing their districts and bringing the voices of their constituents to the Capitol. When she was elected to the Minnesota House of Representatives in 2010, Rep. Rena Moran was one of only 7 legislators who identified persons of color — and the only Black woman in the legislature.
Five successful campaigns, scores of committee hearings, hundreds of constituent meetings, and a decade later, Rep. Moran has been a champion for child protection, affordable and accessible healthcare, and equity and justice. She has served in her party’s leadership, founded and co-chaired the legislature’s POCI (People of Color & Indigenous) Caucus, and chaired the influential House Health and Human Services Committee. In 2020, Speaker Melissa Hortman appointed Rep. Moran Chair of the House Ways and Means Committee — the panel that oversees taxes, spending, and bonding and negotiates the state budget — making her one of the most powerful leaders at the Minnesota Capitol.
Today, the number of Black women currently serving in the legislature has increased, but is still countable on one hand. We spoke with Rep. Moran about the changing dynamics in the legislature, her leadership Co-Chairing the Special House Select Committee on Racial Justice and key takeaways from its recent report, how to advance race equity through the budget, and what she describes as her “yes moment” — the moment she decided to run for office.