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MHP is proud to recognize these champions with the 2021 Legislative Leader Award. These legislators stood out as housing champions, by advancing MHP’s policy initiatives and drawing attention to affordable housing as an issue of public importance, delivering persuasive arguments and taking action for impactful policies and investments. All of our awardees demonstrated a deep resolve to make a difference for Minnesotans. 

MHP 2021 Legislative Leaders  

Senator Carla Nelson (R-26, Rochester) 

As Chief Author of the Affordable Housing Tax Credit, Sen. Carla Nelson played an integral role in establishing and investing in a historic, new program. The tax credit is the largest new investment to a development program in over a decade.  Sen. Nelson went above and beyond to build momentum and support among legislator colleagues. In committee she developed a thoughtful and persuasive argument for establishing a mechanism to support public-private partnerships to support housing development. Her leadership in the Legislature and her willingness to engage with MHP and MHP’s stakeholders displayed a desire to take action to solve affordable housing challenges. Sen. Nelson’s partnership with MHP over the last four years on the Affordable Housing Tax Credit was a long-term, consistent contribution to preserving and expanding resources that lead to safe, stable and affordable housing. 

Representative Kaohly Vang Her (DFL-64A, St. Paul) 

Throughout the 2021 Legislative Session Representative Kaohly Her supported bills and positions that were consistent with MHP’s policy agenda. As Chief Author of the Source of Income Protections bill she helped promote equity in housing policy solutions. She developed a thoughtful and persuasive argument to shape the public narrative around the importance of protecting prospective renter households from discrimination. In carrying this important piece of legislation, she exposed issues and educated legislator colleagues. Throughout session, Rep. Her worked closely with MHP and MHP’s partners to strategize and build momentum for affordable housing solutions. In the Housing, Judiciary, and Taxes Committees she consistently spoke up in support of resources and policies that lead to safe, stable and affordable housing. Representative Her also chief authored the base rate increase to Housing Supports, which was passed into law this year.  

MHP 2021 Legislative Rising Star 

Representative Esther Agbaje (DFL-59B, Minneapolis) 

Representative Agbaje championed efforts to prevent displacement and preserve home by chief authoring legislation to fund the acquisition and rehabilitation of Naturally Occurring Affordable Housing (NOAH). Throughout session, Rep. Agbaje used her position on the Housing, Capital Investments, and Taxes Committees to advance policies and funding that support lowest-income households. Her public questions, comments, and testimony advanced housing issues and persuaded lawmakers colleagues. Rep. Agbaje was committed to working with community partners and advocates, including MHP.