Suzie Nakasian was elected to the City Council of Northfield, Minnesota in 2010, and was re-elected by wide margins in 2014 and 2018. Her District includes Northfield’s historic east side neighborhood and Carleton College. Prior to holding elected office, Suzie served as an appointed member of the Northfield Environmental Quality Commission, the Northfield Convention and Visitors’ Bureau (CVB), and the Northfield Planning Commission and Zoning Board of Appeals.
While on the City Council, she has served as an active participant on regional governance boards including the Rice and Steele County Public Safety Dispatch (911) Center, the Mill Towns State Trail Joint Powers Board and most recently, as Chair of the Southern Minnesota Association of Regional Trails (SMART).
In addition to her experience an elected leader, Suzie is well known as organizer of successful regional grass roots initiatives including The Northfield Work Force Development Initiative (which widened vocational education opportunities within the Northfield School District, 2014); Northfield Grass Roots Transit Initiative (2009+ which introduced a number of local and regional public and private transit solutions including the launch of the Northfield Twin Cities Metro Express Bus); the Greater Northfield Sustainability Coalition (founded around Suzie’s dining room table in 2011); The Community Outreach Team for Northfield TORCH: Tackling Obstacles Raising College Hopes (2011); and The Buckthorn Menace Art Installation (2007: you will have to look up that one).
Suzie is perhaps most widely known for her grass roots organizing in support of the return of regional passenger rail service on the connected network of existing rail corridors now designated for passenger rail in the Minnesota Statewide Rail Plan. Intent on restoring some form of reliable regional public transit to communities south of the 7 County Metro, Suzie organized regional stakeholders (schools, businesses, colleges, seniors, chambers) from across southern Minnesota in a robust grass roots advocacy campaign that succeeded in amending the Statewide rail Plan with a new passenger rail corridor designation – connecting South central Minnesota (Albert Lea, Owatonna, Faribault) to both of the Twin Cities using existing rail line through Northfield. That done, Suzie is now working to secure the Legislative funds needed to complete the study of the line.
Earlier this month, Suzie announced her campaign for the DFL endorsement for Minnesota Senate District 20, formerly held by Senator Kevin Dahle! She is currently enjoying in conversation with constituents across the District from St Peter to Northfield, and will soon launch a formal launching a campaign website this month.
Suzie will bring to the Minnesota Legislature a decade of rich experience as a local elected official and community organizer; professional skills and political acumen that she has honed over the course of her career in national politics; and perhaps most importantly, a demonstrated ability to listen, and to work effectively with leaders on both sides of he political aisle.
A native of Westchester County, New York, Suzie moved to Northfield with her young family in 2013. Prior to re-locating to Northfield, Suzie worked for 15 years as the organizer and director of constituent engagement and fundraising campaigns for non profit organizations including Statue of Liberty Ellis Island Foundation, and for the U. S. Senatorial campaigns of moderate Republican leaders including Senators Jack Danforth and Kit Bond (R-MO) and Senator Pete Wilson (R-CA); and for the Presidential Campaign of U. Senator Bob Dole (R-KS). Uncomfortable with the “shift of winds” in the Republican Party, Suzie left politics in 1990 to satisfy a longstanding interest in theological education. She completed two Masters Degrees in the inter-disciplinary area of Psychology and Religion, and was working on a doctorate (William James) at the time she relocated to Northfield. She has worked as an Adjunct Professor for the Carleton Religion Department and as an interim staff psychotherapist with the Carleton Wellness Center while raising her two “above-average+ Minnesota kids.
Suzie’s run for wider office in SD 20 is the perfect fit for her rich experience, and leaderly skills and interests!!! Look for more news and information on Suzie’s Campaign to follow this month.
Thank you for your interest in Suzie’s work!
Suzie is easily reached by email firstname.lastname@example.org.