Minnesota State Representative Diane Loeffler

About Diane Loeffler

Diane is a lifelong resident of Northeast Minneapolis. She was born while her parents cared for her grandmother at 27th and Jackson Street. She attended Waite Park Elementary, Northeast Junior High and Edison High School. Diane went to college with the help of union scholarships and graduated from Augsburg with a major in social science (a blend of history, economics, and sociology) and a minor in education. She continued her education with graduate classes at the University of Minnesota and through her selection as a Policy Fellow of the Institute for Educational Leadership.

A major influence was the life of Diane’s aunt Lil. Lil was born with Down’s Syndrome at a time when the practice was to send “the retarded” away to then-dreadful state hospitals. Her grandparents were immigrants from Sweden and would have none of that. So Lil stayed at home while her sisters and brothers went to school. Lil’s dream of someday going to school came true when she was 35 years old and volunteers organized a program in a church basement. The beginning of government funded day training programs soon transformed Lil’s life and led to her first paycheck. We are only three decades into special education and it has made valued citizens and taxpayers of people we once “warehoused”. Lil’s life taught Diane the power of government policies to open doors of opportunity and ignited her passion to use public policy as a way of improving people’s lives.

Diane's career has been spent in public service. She has worked as a budget and policy analyst on education issues for the State of Minnesota, on city finance and tax issues for the City of Minneapolis and the League of Minnesota Cities, and in Human Services, Health and Training and Employment for Hennepin County. She currently works for Hennepin County in health care policy analysis on issues of services to seniors and persons with disabilities, health promotion and protection, and how to ensure more persons have access to affordable and effective health coverage.

Diane's volunteer time has been spent in making a difference in Northeast Minneapolis. There she has led efforts to save a local library, address ground and air pollution, improve housing, develop youth programs, and actively been involved in Central Avenue and riverfront redevelopment, park planning, and crime prevention. Project by project, year by year Diane’s demonstrated her dedication to not just talking about problems, but leading efforts to address them.

Diane became a homeowner with the purchase of a large classic triplex that she began restoring in the Windom Park Neighborhood. A fundraising project of the Minnesota Environmental Education Board introduced her to her spouse, Mike Vennewitz. Mike works in pollution prevention and energy conservation.