Senator Sandra L. Pappas
Minnesota State Senate
(651) 296 – 1802
Senator Sandy Pappas was first elected to the Minnesota House of Representatives in 1984, where she served three terms. In 1990 she was elected to the Minnesota State Senate and is now serving her 7th term. Her district includes downtown St. Paul, inner city neighborhoods to the west, north and south of downtown, and the area surrounding the State Capitol.
Currently Senator Pappas is the ranking minority member in the Higher Education Committee and also serves on the Capital Investment and Commerce and Consumer Protection Committees.
As a long time member and former chair of the Higher Education Budget and Policy Committee, Pappas has championed numerous efforts to insure the exceptional quality of Minnesota’s institutions and affordable access to its colleges and universities. She has carried a number of initiatives including funding for the University of Minnesota/ Mayo Biosciences Partnership; the introduction of an accountability framework for the state’s higher ed institutions and the Minnesota Dream Act, which would allow all graduates of Minnesota high schools, including the children of undocumented immigrants, to attend Minnesota colleges and universities at in-state tuition rates. She has increased funding for first-generation college students, increased childcare grants and college access programs.
Beyond her accomplishments in the area of higher education, Pappas is known as a human rights and women’s advocate, a consumer protection watchdog and a protector of the environment. She has passed legislation to prohibit the trafficking of persons; to curtail investment of state pension funds in companies complicit in genocide in the Darfur region of Sudan; to provide emergency contraception for sexual assault victims; to eliminate predatory lending practices, regulate debt settlement companies and to require that state-funded construction and renovation of buildings do not produce an increase in greenhouse gas emissions. As a member of the Capital Investment Committee, she has, over the years, secured funding for a number of projects in St. Paul including the Children’s Museum, Wabasha Bridge, Harriet Island Regional Park, Union Depot, Raspberry Island, Central Corridor Light Rail and the Great River Park along the Mississippi.
Photo courtesy of Senate Media Services
In addition to her Senate responsibilities, Pappas serves on the board for World Without Genocide and is Vice President of the Women Legislators’ Lobby. She is also the chair and founding member of Forward Global Women, an organization that provides leadership training opportunities for women in the Middle East.
Born in Hibbing, Minnesota, Pappas attended the University of Minnesota, graduated from Metropolitan State University, and earned an MPA degree from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. She is married to Neal Gosman, and they have three married daughters — Mina Ruth, Leah Davida, and Sarah Chava. Besides traveling to Israel to visit her fifteen grandchildren, Pappas enjoys attending the theater, biking, reading novels, and spending time with friends.