Senator Sandy Pappas was first elected to the Minnesota House of Representatives in 1984 where she served three terms. In 1990 she was elected to the Minnesota State Senate where she is continues to serve, currently as President of the Senate. Her district includes downtown St. Paul, inner city neighborhoods to the west, north and south of downtown, and the area surrounding the State Capitol.
Throughout her legislative career, Senator Pappas has been a fervent and long-standing advocate for human rights. She has fought tirelessly for women, children, workers, immigrants, and other vulnerable groups. Over the years, she has passed legislation to prohibit the trafficking of persons; to curtail investment of state funds in the Darfur region of Sudan; to provide emergency contraception for sexual assault victims; to establish licensure for traditional midwives; to allow children of undocumented parents to attend Minnesota state colleges and receive financial aid (MN Dream Act); and passed into law the Women’s Economic Security Act.
In addition to her legislative duties, Senator Pappas serves as Vice President for the Women Legislators Lobby, is vice-board chair for the non-profit, World Without Genocide, serves on the board of the Senate Presidents’ Forum, was a member of the Legislative Commission to End Poverty in Minnesota by 2020, served as Treasurer of the World Hellenic Inter-Parliamentary Association and was chair of the Social Justice Committee at Congregation Shir Tikvah Synagogue.
Her deep interest in international relations and women’s rights has also led Senator Pappas to coordinate and participate in numerous study trips including multiple trips to Cuba, an Intercultural and Friendship Tour to Turkey for Legislators, a study tour to Ethiopia with the Center for Health and Gender Equity to evaluate sexual and reproductive health issues, to Israel and Jordan on Women Leaders Exchanges, to Ankara, Turkey for an Exchange with women Parliamentarians from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Morocco and Tunisia and she led a delegation of her Midwest colleagues to Taiwan for a friendship tour. In 2011 she co-sponsored a Global Women’s Leadership Convening at St. Catherine University in St. Paul which brought women leaders together from Israel, Jordan and Minnesota. In August 2013, Sen. Pappas through a non-profit she co-founded, Forward Global Women (www.forwardglobalwomen.org), hosted women leaders and peacemakers from Jordan, Israel, Palestine and Morocco for a three day training with leading peacemakers from Ireland. In 2014, Forward Global Women held their third convening in Berlin, Germany, adding participants from Tunisia and Egypt. The 2015 fourth convening was held in Minneapolis, Minnesota in August, 2015.
Born in Hibbing, Minnesota, Pappas attended the University of Minnesota, is a graduate of Metropolitan State University, and has an MPA degree from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. She is married to Neal Gosman, and they have three grown daughters and 21 grandchildren who all live in Israel.