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SD48’s Own Marge Hoffa to Receive Humphrey Award
Hoffa to receive Hubert H. Humphrey Award for Dedication and Leadership to the Minnesota DFL
Marge Hoffa, vice chair of the Minnesota DFL and a resident of Minnetonka, will receive the Hubert H. Humphrey Award for Dedication and Leadership to the Minnesota DFL at the 4th Annual Humphrey-Mondale Dinner, June 6, at the Hilton Minneapolis.
Hoffa grew up in Minneapolis where there were a lot of Democrats. Married with children, the Hoffa family moved to Minnetonka.
“We moved out to Minnetonka and found out there weren’t many Democrats there,” she said, “so I decided it was time to change that.”
Hoffa started her political activism by attending her precinct caucus. There she met others who were interested in building up the DFL Party in their community. The group- Hoffa describes them as “very determined women – was very interested in education and became part of the Hopkin Legislative Action Coalition. This group included a number of future legislators.
“It’s pretty exciting to see the development of Democrats coming out and saying ‘yes, I’m a Democrat, we’re in this together and you are not alone,’” Hoffa said.
They knew changes on school funding issues needed to be made at the state level so they got behind Maria Ruud to run for the Minnesota House of Representatives. Ruud won her first race in 2004 by 207 votes and served until 2010.
Ruud said Hoffa has everything to do with her running for office and that Hoffa has helped a number of other candidates.
“What’d I’d say about Marge is that she sees the big picture and that she understands the strategy, that we need to have a majority in the House and Senate and that you need to expand beyond the City of
Minneapolis if we were going to take the House,” Ruud said. “She became very focused on helping me on my first election, and I’ve seen her do that again and again and again.
“She also sees the potential in the youth. She has done a lot of mentoring along the way to help the young people get involved and get engaged and help them move on to higher offices.”
Hoffa briefly served as a Senate District chair, the position ending when redistricting put three chairs in one new district. From there, Hoffa jointed the DFL State Central Committee and served as chair of the Congressional District (CD) 3 DFL for five years. Hoffa said there have been exciting races over the years as DFLers in CD 3 have worked to move the blue from the urban core into the suburbs.
“As you know now in Edina, both House and Senate districts are blue, the southern part of Minnetonka is blue, the northern part of Minnetonka is blue, Terri Bonoff is now the senator for Minnetonka and Plymouth,” Hoffa said. “We’ve worked really hard at making those margins get a little bit better and better every year.”
In 2010, Hoffa made the decision to run for the Minnesota DFL vice chair position. It was something she had been interested in for a long time because she was interested in taking the work she had done in CD 3 and expanding it into all eight congressional districts. Hoffa was elected as vice chair in 2011 and reelected in 2013 and again this past February.
“I am really passionate about working with the activists, working with the leadership of the districts, and doing what I can to make sure they are running efficiently and everyone feels like they are being treated fairly,” she said.
Hoffa was shocked to receive the Humphrey award.
“For once I was kind of speechless,” Hoffa said. “Finally I blurted out ‘thank you, I don’t know what to say.’
“I really didn’t know what to say. I said I don’t do this for public recognition, I don’t do this for accolades, I do this because I am passionate about it. And he [DFL Chairman Ken Martin] said that’s probably why I gave it to you.”
Through her involvement with the DFL, Hoffa has become close friends with Nancy Schumacher, former Congressional District 6 DFL chair and Democratic National Committee member. Schumacher said as vice chair, Hoffa takes very seriously her role of being an advocate for the activists and walks the talk of the DFL Party.
“Sometimes I get tired of hearing our catch phrases, but Marge does it all,” Schumacher said. “It’s something that when she gets up in the morning, sometimes at 4:00 in the morning to go to her full-time day job, she’s already thinking about where she is going that evening, who she’s being with, just a constant thing of what she can do to actually live our DFL values.”
Schumacher said she cannot think of anyone who lives dedication and leadership to the Minnesota DFL like Hoffa.
“She is the person that when you say, this is how you want to be a DFLer, this is how you want to live your life, you point to Marge Hoffa,” Schumacher said. “There is nothing she has not done for this party, there’s nothing she won’t do and on top of it she’s very reachable, likeable and she means it. That’s just the best of it.”