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Staff Snapshots | Melissa Mapes

November 1, 2023
  • Hometown: Anoka, Minn.
  • Role: Engrossing secretary for the Minnesota Senate
  • Years of legislative service: 19

“If you need to take a step backwards in any project or discussion, that’s fine, but never take two steps when you could have taken one.”

Melissa Mapes Minnesota

Why did you choose to work at the Legislature?

I’ve always been passionate about history and civics, and I realized in college I was interested in government—not just politics, but government. After college and internships, I knew I wanted to work at the state Capitol in some capacity and be involved in our lawmaking process. Luckily, I found a position that was a fit and allows me to be a part of the legislative environment.

What skill or talent are you most proud of?

I’m great at trivia and make an excellent addition to any pub trivia team. Just don’t ask me anything about geography.

What’s the best advice you were ever given?

When I was 15 and learning to drive, my dad told me I should never back up more than necessary. It’s great advice when you’re driving a car (especially in busy parking lots), but it’s helpful in life, too. If you need to take a step backwards in any project or discussion, that’s fine, but never take two steps when you could have taken one.

Who or what inspires you?

My fellow nonpartisan staff inspire me every day. The sacrifices they make, the hours they work and the dedication they have keep our Senate and state running. And their good humor keeps things fun and light during the hardest parts of the year. I’m proud to know and work with them all.

What’s one thing you love about your state?

The Minnesota State Fair is the best state fair in the country—no discussion. The Texas fair may be longer in days, but ours can’t be beat in any other category. I was born a fairgoer (even have a blue ribbon for cookie baking), and it’s my favorite time of year. My brother lives in New York and never misses coming home to attend. I highly recommend visiting Minnesota around Labor Day and making a stop. It’s truly the “Great Minnesota Get-Together.”

What are you currently reading/listening to/watching?

Lately I’ve been watching past seasons of “Justified” and rewatching select seasons of “Outlander.” I really enjoyed the film “Oppenheimer,” so I’ve just started to read “American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer.”

This interview has been edited for length and clarity. Use the email icon above to suggest a staffer for the “Staff Snapshots” series.

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