She Would Lead

January 26, 2015
Joelle Stangler and Senator Al Fraken stand in front of an American and Minnesota flag.

Minnesota Student Association president Joelle Stangler ’16 accompanied Senator Al Franken to this year’s State of the Union Address, in Washington, D.C.

Q&A with Joelle Stangler

Hometown: Rogers, Minnesota

Has this experience shaped your career goal?

Yes, it has. It confirmed that I'd like to serve the state of Minnesota in D.C. one day. Before the State of the Union Address, I got the opportunity to talk to Senator Mikulski (D-Maryland), who is the longest serving female senator. I told her I'm interested in holding a Senate seat one day, and she gave me great advice about the best way to achieve that goal. Everything from the experience as a whole and the independent interactions I had with individuals currently serving has shaped my perspective on what it might take to get there.

What’s one cause you’d serve as senator?

I'm really interested in returning the control in politics to voters, rather than special interests. Whether that's through increasing transparency, working to reduce gridlock, or pushing through campaign finance reform.

Why that cause? 

As a student, I've felt the impact of not being taken as seriously in the legislative process because my demographic (a) doesn't vote, but more importantly (b) doesn't have the money to be a threat.

What proposal of President Obama did you find most important for Minnesota?

The conversation about free community college—because it pushes us to think of education beyond high school as a public good. It reinforces the need for continued attention on college affordability and the benefit of solutions like debt forgiveness and holding tuition flat.