February 21, 2024

Minnesota DFL Announces 2024 Humphrey-Mondale Award Winners

ST PAUL – Today, the Minnesota DFL announced the five award recipients that will be honored at the 12th Annual Humphrey Mondale Dinner. Named after inspirational former DFL leaders, the Mondale, Humphrey, Wellstone, Freeman, and Growe awards are given to honor five Minnesotans who have shown an extraordinary dedication to building a better Minnesota.

“It is an honor to recognize these leaders for their leadership and dedication at this year’s Humphrey-Mondale Dinner,” said DFL Chairman Ken Martin. “Each of them has given so much time, love, and energy fighting to improve Minnesotans’ lives. Many of the victories DFL leaders delivered last year would not have been possible without their tireless work. From grassroots organizing to representing their communities in government, each leader has made invaluable contributions to the DFL and to Minnesota. I am looking forward to formally presenting all of them with their respective awards at the Humphrey Mondale Dinner.”

The Hubert H. Humphrey Award for Dedication and Leadership to the Minnesota DFL: Heidi Kraus Kaplan

Heidi Kraus Kaplan has served as executive director of the Minnesota DFL since April 2021, where her leadership helped power Democrats to win full control of state government in 2022. Previously, Kraus Kaplan worked as National Operations Director on Senator Amy Klobuchar’s 2020 presidential campaign. Kraus Kaplan is a veteran of DFL and national Democratic politics, having worked for five different presidential campaigns, then-Senator Mark Dayton, Minnesota Senate Majority Leader Larry Pogemiller, and several years in different roles at the Minnesota DFL.

Kraus Kaplan is the first person that Ken Martin hired when he became Chairman of the Minnesota DFL in 2011.

The Joan and Walter Mondale Award for Public Service:  Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan

A longtime social justice advocate and member of White Earth Band of Ojibwe, Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan’s activism and public service have left an indelible mark on Minnesota. Flanagan has served the people of Minnesota in many capacities as a board member on the Minneapolis Board of Education, as a Minnesota State Representative representing District 46A, and now as Lieutenant Governor of Minnesota. During her time in the legislature, she fought tirelessly for affordable healthcare, quality education, and environmental protection. Now as Lieutenant Governor she worked toward the establishment of the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Relatives Office and increased investments in childcare, affordable housing, and community projects. During last year’s legislative session, she was a driving force for progress on economic security for Minnesota’s working families. Some of the policy victories she helped deliver include free school meals, affordable housing, and a nation-leading child tax credit.

The Paul D. Wellstone Award for Lifetime Commitment to Organized Labor:  Bethany Winkels

Bethany Winkels is Executive Director of the Minnesota AFL-CIO, and the importance of her contributions to the numerous pro-worker victories that defined last year’s legislative session cannot be overstated. Winkels first joined the AFL-CIO in 2016 before becoming executive director in 2020. Winkels took a leave of absence in 2018 to work on the campaign of now-Governor Tim Walz. Winkels has campaigned and organized on behalf of several other campaigns and causes, both in Minnesota and across the country – including working to elect Senator Elizabeth Warren and raising the minimum wage in Minnesota. She is a proud alumna of Wellesley College and lives in St. Paul with her husband Alex and their two daughters.

The Orville L. Freeman Award for Distinguished Service to Greater Minnesota and Agricultural Issues: Jovita Morales

Jovita Morales has dedicated her activist career to empowering immigrants, women, and people of color to organize and use their collective power for justice. She has been an active volunteer and community organizer in 2005, and in 2008, she began to bring Latina women in East Phillips together to form Latinas Creativas, now known as Minnesota Immigrant Movement. A pillar of her community and fearless leader, Morales spent much of the past decade fighting for Driver’s Licenses for All after experiencing the consequences of not being able to access a license in the aftermath of the 35W bridge collapse. Her advocacy helped bring that effort across the finish line during last year’s legislative session. Morales’ work brought her to communities across Greater Minnesota, where she has been a powerful organizing force.

The Joan Growe Award for Distinguished Commitment to Expanding Access to Democracy and Justice in Minnesota: Rep. Emma Greenman

Rep. Emma Greenman has been a champion of democracy and voting rights for the past twenty years. Before her tenure as Minnesota state representative for 63B, she served Minnesota communities as an organizer and voting rights lawyer, bringing her people-first approach to creating positive change. Last year, she authored the Democracy for the People Act, which allows 16-and-17-year-olds to pre-register to vote and restores voting rights to formerly incarcerated persons. Her work as an organizer, lawyer, and legislator has made her an invaluable voice on elections and the freedom to vote. At a moment when our democracy is facing unprecedented threats, she is the right leader at the right time.

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