Jeff brings the perspective of an experienced State Senator with a demonstrated history of working collaboratively within the state legislature and various state agencies to his government relations and policy work.
Jeff’s work over twelve years as a three-term State Senator and two-term State Representative, as well as his professional background in housing policy, provide him with a deep understanding of the legislative process and relationships with key stakeholders. During his time in the MN Senate, he served as the Deputy Caucus Leader.
Jeff has been a go-to state legislator on several issues, including health and human services and equity policy and funding. As a State Senator, he advocated for policy and funding changes impacting his Senate district. Equity policy and funding are issues Jeff was involved with long before his election to the Minnesota Senate. These issues included moving Minnesota forward in the areas of economic justice, increased access to high quality health care for all Minnesotans and addressing the educational opportunity gap.
Specifically, Jeff has been at the center of important legislation throughout his time in the legislature. He authored legislation for an increase in the statewide minimum wage, continuously advocated for increased funding of the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) and passed a guaranteed school lunch program for all children, regardless of ability to pay. He authored the African American Family Preservation Act, which protects the best interests of African American children and promotes the stability and security of African American Families. More recently, he successfully pushed for an increase of the Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP), which had not been increased since 1986. In 2015, he co-chaired the Select Committee on Disparities and Opportunities to find practical solutions to Minnesota's racial disparities, which has to date appropriated over 100 million dollars for target investments in communities of color.
While serving as a Minnesota State Senator representing District 62, he was a member of the commerce and consumer protection finance and policy, human services reform finance and policy, finance, and health and human services finance and policy committees. Jeff’s work on these committees helped improve the lives of all Minnesotans, and particularly, Minnesota’s communities of color.
Jeff is a political contributor on the weekly PBS show Almanac and KSTP’s At Issue where he discusses the political topics of the week and provides in-depth political analysis on all things Minnesota. In the aftermath of George Floyd’s death, Jeff’s expertise and empathy were sought by not only local media, but also the MN Democratic party. Jeff also hosted a podcast, “Call of the Senate,” where he interviewed legislative stakeholders regarding key legislation and other matters important to Minnesotans.
He has prior career experience as a county services worker, housing advocate and nonprofit manager.
Jeff is not licensed to practice law. His practice is limited to government relations consulting, which includes state and local lobbying.
- Statewide Minimum Wage increase
- Restrictive Covenant legislation
- School Lunch For All
- Equity appropriation totaling 100 million in his last term
- Grow Your Own Teachers of Color
- Increase in Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP)
- Equity bonding, including American Indian Center, Native American Community Clinic, Indigenous Peoples Task Force, Dreamland (38th and Chicago)
- Commerce and Consumer Protection Finance and Policy Committee
- Human Services Reform Finance and Policy Committee, Ranking Minority Member
- Health and Human Services Finance and Policy Committee
- Finance: Subcommittee on Equity, Chair
- Capital Investment Committee
- Rules and Administration: Subcommittee on Elections
- State and Local Government Committee
- Energy, Utilities and Telecommunications Committee
- Metropolitan State University
- Bethel University
- Member Spotlight, National Black Professional Lobbyists Association, January 2023
- Legislator of the Year, Minnesota Housing Partnership, 2020
- Legislator of the Year, Minnesota Association of Resources for Recovery and Chemical Health (MARRCH), 2020
Civic & Professional
- Habitat for Humanity, Board of Directors, 2022-present
- Alliance for Twin Cities Boys & Girls Club, Board of Directors, 2022-present
- The Monitors Club, Board of Directors, 2022-present
- Minnesota Government Relations Council, Board of Directors, 2022-present
- National Black Professional Lobbyists Association, 2022-present
- National Caucus of Black Legislators, Member, 2010 - 2020; Corporate Roundtable Member, 2021-2023
- Minnesota State Senator, DFL, District 62, Assistant Minority Leader, 2011-2021
- State Senate Deputy Majority Leader, 2013-2016
- Minnesota House of Representatives, DFL, District 61B, 2008-2011
- Health Connection, Regional Manager, 2005-2008
- African American Leadership Forum, Board Member, 2018-2021
- Hunt Institute, Fellow, 2016-present
- Alliance of the Boys and Girls Club, Board Member, 2021-present
- Monitors African American Civic Engagement organization, Board Member of Social and Civic Club
- Council for Minnesota of African Heritage, Board Member, 2016-2020
- Milbank Foundation Reforming State Government, Steering Committee Member, 2016-2020
- Community Action of Minneapolis, Board Member, 2008-2014
- City of Lakes Community Land Trust, Founding Member, 2002-2008
- Bryant Neighborhood Association, Board Member, 2002-2008
- Powderhorn Park Neighborhood Association, Board Member, 1996-2000
News & Insights
Publications & Presentations
Panelist, Legislative Update Panel, 2023 Affordable Housing Summit, May 9, 2023
Presenter, Building Relationships and Influence, Navigating Minnesota's Legislative Process - The Keys to Effective Lobbying CLE, February 10, 2023
Quoted in “Balance of power on the line in Minnesota Legislature, U.S. Congress,” Kare11, November 01, 2022
Quoted in “How policing, police reform became defining issues in Keith Ellison’s reelection campaign,” MinnPost, October 28, 2022
Quoted in “Scott Jensen seeks to win Twin Cities voters with pitch on crime,” StarTribune, August 27, 2022
Quoted in “Two years after Floyd’s death, Black Minnesotans say little has changed,” The Washington Post, May 22, 2022
Quoted in “Minneapolis’ new City Council president shares plan to bridge divides,” Axios Twin Cities, January 11, 2022
Quoted in “New task force digs into why Black women face disproportionately high rates of violence,” StarTribune, November 21, 2021
Contributor, Analysis of Minnesota's 2023 Legislative Session, At Issue with Tom Hauser, May 21, 2023
Panelist, Final Days of the 2023 Legislative Session, Almanac - Political Panel, May 19, 2023
Panelist, Former Legislative Leaders, Almanac - Political Panel, March 3, 2023
Contributor, Some Big Poll Numbers, Almanac - Political Duo, September 9, 2022
Podcast Host, Call of the Senate