State Sen. Ember Reichgott Junge
Called an “outstanding legislator” who leaves “an enviable record” by the Minneapolis-based Star Tribune, Senator Ember Reichgott Junge stepped down in 2000 from the Minnesota Senate after 18 years of service. The former DFL Senate Assistant Majority Leader championed education issues and the prevention of domestic violence, child abuse, and sexual assault.
Since 1987 she has served as a general counsel and communications consultant to businesses and nonprofit organizations through her law firm, The General Counsel, Ltd. She is President of Ember Communications, Inc., a cutting edge strategic communications firm for progressive nonprofits, elected officials and issue advocates. The firm’s newest services include writing and documenting personal histories of inspiring leaders.
From March to September, 2006, Reichgott Junge was a candidate for U.S. Congress in the DFL primary for Minnesota’s Fifth Congressional District. Prior to her campaign, she was host of two weekly radio shows titled “Women on the Move”: one locally on AM 950 and one on the global internet VoiceAmerica Channel.
Elected to the Senate at age 29, Reichgott Junge is the youngest woman ever elected to that body. She became a reporter for a suburban weekly newspaper (North Hennepin Post) at age 16. She was the first woman attorney in her law firm (1977), the first woman to chair the Senate Judiciary Committee (1993), and the first woman elected to Minnesota Senate leadership (1995). She led eight ethics proceedings as Chair of the Senate ethical conduct subcommittee.
Senator Reichgott Junge was honored by Business Week (1992) as one of “Six Local Heroes Making a Difference” for authoring Minnesota’s first-in-nation charter school law. President Bill Clinton came to St. Paul, Minnesota to celebrate the nation’s first charter school (2000), and the Minnesota Charter School Law won a 2000 “Innovations in American Government Award” from Harvard University and Ford Foundation.
In all, Sen. Reichgott Junge authored into law over 130 bills impacting a wide range of issues: preventing family violence, creating open enrollment public school choice, authorizing business initiatives such as limited liability companies, restricting youth access to tobacco and alcohol, strengthening human rights, creating living wills, strengthening consumer protections, and investing in children and crime prevention.
Ms. Reichgott Junge continues to push for innovation and change “from the outside” as a writer, public speaker, and political commentator. Since February, 2001, she has appeared weekly on the KSTP public affairs program “At Issue with Tom Hauser.” She is a rotating political analyst for “Almanac” of Twin Cities Public Television (TPT). During 2002-2003 she hosted “Sound Health,” a weekly radio program on FM 107.
Ms. Reichgott Junge has been a columnist for Minnesota Lawyer and Minnesota Women’s Press. She has done freelance writing for the Star Tribune, Pioneer Press and other publications, and for a wide variety of clients from Minneapolis-based Dolphin Staffing to the U.S. Department of Education.
A graduate of Duke Law School (1977) with an MBA from the University of St. Thomas (1991), Ms. Reichgott Junge is a board director and Audit Committee Chair of Citizens Independent Bank.
An active community volunteer, Ms. Reichgott Junge is a 15-year board member of the (now) Greater Twin Cities United Way, and was honored as an “Unsung Hero” (1999) for her leadership of United Way’s Success by 6 Northwest early childhood initiative. She is past Board Chair of the Minneapolis Area Red Cross, and past President of the multipartisan Minnesota Women’s Political Caucus, an organization committed to serving women leaders and candidates. She is a board member of the Washington D.C. based National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.
The former lawmaker is the first Distinguished Service inductee into the Robbinsdale-Armstrong High School Hall of Fame, a Distinguished Alumna of St. Olaf College, and an“Everyday Hero” Award recipient from the International Alumni Association of Up with People, a singing group she traveled with in 1971-72.
She is married to McLeod County Attorney Michael Junge, and commutes between their Minneapolis and Hutchinson homes with their miniature schnauzer, Molly. In her spare time she enjoys ballroom dancing, vocal music, and performing in community theatre, including the 1999 musical production of Quilters and the 2004 comedy production of Lend Me a Tenor with the Lakeshore Players in White Bear Lake.