Angie Craig: From lesbian mother to Minnesota lawmaker
Among the winners of the blue wave that swept the recent November polls was Angie Craig, who was elected to Minnesota’s 2nd congressional district after defeating incumbent Republican Jason Lewis.
Not only was it a comeback for Craig, who was defeated by Lewis in 2016, it also showed how far Craig had come: from a newspaper reporter and lesbian mom to becoming a congresswoman.
Angie Craig: Working class upbringing
Craig was born 14 February 1972 in West Helena, Arkansas where she was raised by a single mom in a mobile home park.
Craig said she watched her mom complete her teaching degree and raise three kids. She added: “My grandmother helped at home and worked in a union shoe factory to contribute.”
“At times, our family didn’t have health insurance, and I watched as my mom struggled to pay the bills that piled up on our kitchen table after my little sister needed hospital care,” she said.
Craig went on to graduate from Nettleton High School in Jonesboro, Arkansas. After, she earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Memphis.
“Like my mom, I worked two jobs to put myself through state college, with help from student loans,” she related.
Angie Craig: Taking that next step
After graduation, she worked as a reporter in Memphis Tennessee before moving to London, Minnesota where she worked at St. Jude Medical from 2005 through 2017.
She eventually became the head of Global Human Resources for a major Minnesota manufacturer.
But before that, she and her wife, Cheryl Greene, were involved in a landmark custody case that helped establish same-sex couples’ right to adopt in Tennessee.
“My partner and I spent three years fighting to keep our son Josh,” she said.
She said this experience really shaped her life and career as she never knew “whether you’re going to put your kid to bed that night because someone thinks maybe you shouldn’t be a mother.”
After that, she decided to run in the 2016 elections for Minnesota’s 2nd congressional district but lost to Lewis, a former conservative talk show host.
Angie Craig: A rematch in 2018
That loss didn’t stop Craig and she decided to go up against Lewis again in 2018.
“When you’ve faced your biggest fear — not knowing whether you’re going to put your kid to bed that night because someone thinks you shouldn’t be a mother — there’s nothing that scares you after that,” she said.
“I spent a whole lot of time the first time learning how to run for Congress. This time, I’m bringing me– my experiences, what I’ve accomplished, what I’ve still got to learn,” she said.
Despite her recent win, she doesn’t see herself as a politician: “My greatest fear is being called a politician. Nobody respects a politician. I never thought of myself as someone who wanted to be a politician.”
“At the end of the day,” she said, “I hope what people say is that I listened, and that I tried to do what was right for this district, instead of what was right for a party or anything else.”
Currently, the newly-minted representative lives in Eagan, Minnesota with her wife and their four teenage boys.