About debra

Community Member

Life-long Member of Our Community

Debra has been married to Joel, a union carpenter, for over 31 years. They are proud parents of two children—Stephanie and Jeremy. Their daughter Stephanie works as an attorney and their son Jeremy has a degree in chemical engineering. 

Debra was an assistant county attorney for Anoka County, a job in which she protected the elderly, battered women, and other crime victims from abuse, fraud and other wrongdoing.

Park Center High School graduate, Class of 1986

Brooklyn Center City Council Member, 1995 - 2000

Brooklyn Center Planning Commission Member, 1992 - 1993

Legislative aide to Senator Linda Scheid, 1996 - 2000

Brooklyn Center Domestic Abuse Intervention Program, Advocate Volunteer, Volunteer Lawyers Network

University of Minnesota, B.A. in Sociology, 1990

Legislative Service

Debra was first elected to the Minnesota House of Representatives in 2000, and has been re-elected every two years since then. She is currently the DFL-Lead for the Public Safety and Crime Prevention Policy and Finance Committee and also serves on the Civil Law and Data Practices and Ways and Means committees. During her time at the legislature, Debra has also served on various committees including K-12 Finance, Taxes, Commerce, and Rules.

· State Representative, 2000 - present

· Chair, House Judiciary Committee, 2013-14

· Deputy Minority Leader, House DFL Caucus, 2010-12

· Chair, House Public Safety Committee, 2008 - 2010

· Chair, House Local Government & Metropolitan Affairs Committee, 2006 - 2008

· Assistant Leader, House DFL Caucus, 2002 - 2004


In 2001, Debra received the “Champion for Racial Justice” award for her leadership toward racial equity.

In 2006, Debra received the “Children’s Champion Award” from the Children’s Defense Fund for promoting the health and well being of Minnesota’s children.

In 2007, the Police and Peace Officers Association named Debra as “Legislator of the Year.”

In 2008, Debra received a “Perfect Score” by Conservation Minnesota.

In 2009, the Minnesota Association of Professional Employees named Debra “Legislator of the Year”.

In 2009, Debra was recognized by the Minnesota Courts for her leadership on improving the administration of justice and untiring efforts to ensure meaningful access to the judicial system for the citizens of Minnesota. Debra also received a Certificate of Appreciation from the Center for Elder Justice and Policy for a law she passed that will protect vulnerable adults from financial exploitation.

In 2015, Debra received the public service award from the Minnesota County Attorney''s Association, which recognized her efforts to enhance the quality of justice in Minnesota.