I’m Tina Liebling, and I work for you.
Tina Liebling was born and raised in Minneapolis, the second of five children. Her dad taught film and photography at the University of Minnesota, and often took his children with him as he traveled the state photographing the people of Minnesota. He loved and admired the Minnesota women and men who get up every day and work hard to take care of their families, as well as those who struggle every day to overcome challenges like poverty, disability, and prejudice. He passed this love on to Tina.
Tina’s family also faced challenges. Her mother battled mental illness during much of Tina’s childhood. When she was 16, her parents divorced and moved out of state. Tina moved with her father to Massachusetts where she graduated from high school before returning to Minnesota on her own to attend the University of Minnesota.
With little emotional or financial support from her family, Tina took advantage of the low tuition offered by Minnesota’s public university. She worked as a waitress, a nurse’s aide at Hennepin County Medical Center, and even as an assistant in a shoe repair shop. She graduated magna cum laude with a B.A. in Spanish. She is grateful for the taxpayer investment in her future and believes that today’s students should also have opportunities to succeed.
Eventually, she moved back to Massachusetts where she earned an M.S. in Public Health from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, then a J.D. cum laude at Boston University School of Law. During a summer internship in a large Chicago corporate law firm she met Mark, a Chicago native. She was offered a job with that firm but did not want a career working for corporations so she turned it down . After graduation, she married Mark and practiced law in Massachusetts while he attended graduate school.
Tina and Mark soon moved to the Chicago area where Tina worked as a public defender for the Office of the Cook County Public Defender. Their three children were born in Illinois.
Tina returned to Minnesota in 1994, moving to Rochester so her husband—a physician—could accept a position at Mayo Clinic. She started a solo law practice in Rochester concentrating on criminal law and doing what she loves best—standing up for the “little guy and gal” to make sure everyone gets a fair shake.
In 2002, Tina ran for the Minnesota House of Representatives finishing second in a three-way race. She ran again in 2004 and won the first of her seven terms in the Minnesota House. She is the first person from Olmsted County elected to a Minnesota legislative seat from the DFL party.
Many of Tina’s House committee assignments have been in the health and human services area, but she has also served on Taxes, Civil Law, Public Safety, and Ways and Means. She chaired the House’s Health and Human Services (HHS) Policy Committee from 2013-15. More recently she has been the DFL health care lead on the HHS Finance Committee (2015-17) and on the HHS Reform Committee (2017-). She is recognized by many observers for her expertise in the complicated areas of healthcare and human services.
Tina belongs to and supports many local organizations, such as the NAACP, the Boys and Girls Club, and the United Way. She serves on the Board of Directors of Zumbro Valley Health Center. Her three children graduated from Rochester Public Schools and from college. Her older son now practices law in Rochester. Tina and Mark were recently blessed with their first grandchild.
Tina has built a life advocating for Minnesotans who need opportunities to get ahead. She stands up to anyone who plays politics with Minnesota’s future.