My name is Leili (pronounced Lay-lee), and I'm running to represent Minnesota's House District 63B.
I was born in Tehran, Iran and moved to the United States when I was five. My father is an architect and my mother was an artist. I grew up in Ridgewood, NJ, went to college at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY, and then worked for a few years in Washington, DC. Ten years ago, I moved to Minneapolis to go to law school. It didn't take me long to realize that I was always meant to be a Minnesotan. I met my husband Peter the first week of law school. He's a native of St. Cloud and works for the City of Minneapolis. We have a four-year-old daughter named Faye (Fifi for short) and a cat named Lemiex (Momo for short). We live in the Northrop neighborhood of Southeast Minneapolis.
I own a public policy and affairs practice named Apparatus with my business partner Laura and an ancillary environmental law firm named Advocate. I currently represent the Sierra Club as their attorney in the legal fight against the expansion of Enbridge's Line 3 oil pipeline through Minnesota, and I represent Friends of the Mississippi River at the MN Capitol, where we've spent the last couple of years fighting back against unprecedented attacks against our state's environmental protections. If you want a better sense of what it is I do at the Capitol, you should check out some of these videos.
In recent years, a significant focus of my work has also been transportation policy and the importance of a strong multi-modal system to health, housing, education, employment, environmental sustainability, and many dimensions of social justice. As part of this work, I co-created and hosted a podcast series called Here to There that looked deeply at the human dimensions of transportation policy in Minnesota.
In addition to my professional work, I currently serve on the City of Minneapolis' Capital Long-Range Improvement Committee (appointed by Mayor Betsy Hodges) and the Metropolitan Airports Commission (appointed by Mayor Jacob Frey). I also serve on the boards of the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy and Transit for Livable Communities-St. Paul Smart Trips. I have been the legislative chair of the DFL Environmental Caucus since its founding and am a past chair of the DFL Progressive Caucus.
I am running for the MN House because we have reached a critical political juncture in our state (as well as locally and nationally) that requires a new generation of progressive leadership with the will to advance ideology into actions and results. A clean environment, a strong public school system, a fair economy, and a just and inclusive community should be more than just values—they should be concrete results we demand and work to achieve through durable, transformative policies. I am that action-oriented progressive leader and, with your support, I will work to deliver results that improve the lives of all Minnesotans.
In addition to my professional work, I serve on the City of Minneapolis' Capital Long-Range Improvement Committee, and am Minneapolis' representative on the Metropolitan Airports Commission. I also serve on the boards of the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy and Transit for Livable Communities-St. Paul Smart Trips. I have been the legislative chair of the DFL Environmental Caucus since its founding and am a past chair of the DFL Progressive Caucus.
I love Minnesota, and I am deeply effected and concerned by the persistent inequities faced by Minnesotans of color in terms health, wealth, education, transportation, economic opportunity, access to services, and virtually all the critical determinants of individuals' and communities' ability to thrive. I am equally concerned that for every step we take forward at the local level--raising the minimum wage to $15, working to increase affordable housing, empowering our school boards--we are being forced at the state Capitol to take two steps back through rollbacks, defunding, and preemption.