Published on April 23, 2012 by Amy
Susan Allen (born March 27, 1963) is a Minnesota lawyer and politician from Minneapolis, and a member of the Minnesota House of Representatives. A member of the Minnesota Democratic–Farmer–Labor Party, Allen represents District 61B, a southside district encompassing the Powderhorn and Bryant neighborhoods of Minneapolis. She won a special election to the seat on January 10, 2012 and took the oath of office on January 19.
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The daughter of an Episcopal priest, Allen graduated from Augsburg College in Minneapolis in 1992. She later earned a J.D. from the University of New Mexico Law School (1995) and an LL.M. from William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul (1999). She became a practicing attorney in 1997 and a partner of her law firm in 2004. A Native American, Allen specializes in serving Indian tribes, helping them draft tribal laws in a wide range of areas.
When state representative Jeff Hayden was elected to the Minnesota Senate in October 2011, he vacated his seat in the House of Representatives. Allen was one of four DFLers to put themselves forward for the seat and, at the DFL nominating convention held on November 12, she received the party’s endorsement on the third ballot. She nevertheless faced a primary election on December 6, facing three opponents, two of whom had suspended their campaigns after losing at the convention. Allen won the nomination handily, taking over 82% of the vote in the primary. In the general election held on January 10, 2012, she faced only one opponent, who ran under the “Respect” label, beating him 56–43%.
Allen is a member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe and is the first Native American woman to serve in the Minnesota Legislature. She is also openly gay, making her the first openly lesbian Native American to win election to a state legislature. In the legislature, she is one of three openly gay members, alongside Rep. Karen Clark and Sen. D. Scott Dibble, both DFLers.