After more than 30 years in the Minnesota House of Representatives, Rep. Carlos Mariani (DFL-St. Paul) has decided not to run for re-election.
Currently serving his 16th term, Mariani said in a statement he would not run for the District 65B seat he has held since 1991.
“Serving in the state legislature for over three decades has been the privilege of my life. Representing one of the most racially and economically diverse districts in the state honored me with the expectation to be on the front edge of lawmaking for social justice and policy transformation,” Mariani said. “As a proud Latino, I sought to bring forward the hopes and dreams of communities of color and Indigenous communities to make state government a meaningful tool to be used to help meet their, and all our needs for a better life.”
Mariani currently chairs the House Public Safety and Criminal Justice Reform Finance and Policy Committee and also serves on the House Ways and Means Committee. He has served on variety of committees during his time in the Legislature and also held leadership positions within the DFL caucus.
Mariani cited his work to address “many of the cutting-edge racial equity and social justice issues of our times encompassing major reforms of Minnesota law on immigration, education, and public safety,” as accomplishments he is most proud of including immigration reform, public school racial integration, heritage language preservation, and authoring the Minnesota Police Accountability Act.
“Throughout my term in office, and with the encouragement of the voters in District 65B, I have often challenged conventions even if it means pushing my political allies and friends and risking losing the office I held,” he said. “… For eight years I was the only Latino in our state Legislature. For over a decade there were only between four and six elected people of color in that branch of our government. Thankfully, there are now over two dozen total in both parties. I may well be the longest-serving Latino state legislator in the nation, but occupying that space came with little recognition and usually meant working from a perspective largely unknown to most other legislators.”
Mariani said today’s legislative environment is “greatly different” than when he began but that “while there is appropriate concern over the extreme partisanship we see today, I believe the Capitol is a stronger reflection of the fuller strength of our society and state. More women inhabit our Legislature, more Black, Latino, Asian and Indigenous people serve, and there is more openness of members proudly claiming their GLBTQ identities. The ingredients for governance by and for the people have never been stronger.
“I acknowledge the generation of legislators who proceeded and taught me, most of them were white, rural men who had a fierce vision for fairness and good governance. I am thankful for the racially diverse peers – both white allies and especially the People of Color and Indigenous (POCI) Caucus – I have since served with who sought new ways of thinking to meet the needs of all people. I am indebted to Minnesota’s labor and human rights movement, and to the faith and social justice communities. And I reserve my humblest gratitude to the citizens of Saint Paul who believed in me - as I believed in them - and supported me through 16 election cycles.”
A full list of current legislators not seeking re-election or running for another position has been compiled by the House Legislative Reference Library.