Rep. Hausman focuses on University advocacy

Alice Hausman represents the U’s St. Paul campus for the past 20 years.

by Marjorie Otto

Those who work with Rep. Alice Hausman call her fair.

The legislator has served as the state representative for the area covering the University of Minnesota’s St. Paul campus for more than 20 years. Her coworkers have lauded her for not just championing her own bills but the work of her peers.

“She is so bent over backwards to be fair,” said Mindy Greiling, a former state representative who served with Hausman on several committees.

Hausman, a member of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party, prides herself on her work on state-funded projects she has spearheaded in the past, like bills she helped author for the Hiawatha Line, the Central Corridor Line and the Northstar Line.

The legislator has long pushed for more public transit funding in the state. She hopes this coming session’s bonding bill will help further the progress of public transit in the state.

“We are way behind most other cities,” Hausman said.

Although she only represents the students who live on the St. Paul campus, Hausman has pushed for large state-funded bonding projects for the University. While she’s been criticized for bonding bills being too costly in the past, she believes state-funded projects provide jobs.

She’s been a driving force behind funding projects at the University, like the Biomedical Discovery District near TCF Bank Stadium.

“She’s fought for us,” said Richard Pfutzenreuter, the University’s chief financial officer.

In the past, Hausman has chaired the House Capital Investment Committee, which crafts the state bonding bill. She’ll again oversee the committee that considers the University’s requests to the state Legislature for funding in the upcoming biennium.

 “When you represent any part of the University, I think you do tend to think of yourself as representing the entire University,” Hausman said.

She has also been involved in the possible relocation of the Bell Museum of Natural Historyfrom its current location on the East Bank to the St. Paul campus. The idea first came up because the University was worried about the preservation of artifacts within the museum.

“If it moved to this new location, I think it would soon be a very popular, statewide museum to visit,” Hausman said.

She pushed a bill to help fund moving the artifacts, but it was later vetoed by then-Gov. Tim Pawlenty.

Originally a farm girl from Kansas, Hausman eventually made her way to Minnesota, where she worked in management at the Children’s Hospital in St. Paul.

Hausman said she got into politics by getting involved in other campaigns and social issues.

Her colleagues say her straightforward approach is “refreshing” to work with.

“She calls it as she sees it; she doesn’t beat around the bush,” Greiling said. 

Hausman has strong opinions about politics not only around the metro area but also for statewide issues.

From transportation in the metro area to sulfide mining by the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, Hausman leaves nothing untouched. She’s also a proponent of same-sex marriage issues.

“She makes it a point to be fair to all parts of the state,” said Bev Scalze, an incoming state senator who formerly worked with Hausman as a