Leah Solo joins MAPE as new Public Affairs and Communications Director
In the days following one of the most challenging court rulings in recent labor history, Janus vs AFSCME, MAPE’s new Director of Public Affairs and Communications Leah Solo was impressed with our union.
“In the wake of Janus, I saw a number of organizations that understood that in the face of adversity, there was also opportunity. MAPE was one of those organizations,” Solo said.
Photo at right: MAPE's new Director of Public Affairs and Communications
“I am energized by the dynamic organizing going on here. I was excited to apply for the position because political and communications work are my passion,” she added.
Solo is no stranger to union work. She served as Political/Outreach Director for the SEIU Minnesota State Council for five years where she was lead lobbyist for the Raise the Wage campaign to increase the state’s minimum wage. She also led coalitions on issues including marriage equality, revenue and budgets, paid family leave and earned safe and sick time.
“We’re excited to have Leah here at MAPE. She has excellent political and campaign experience which will help us increase our member engagement program for the upcoming 2020 election,” MAPE President Chet Jorgenson said.
Solo also chaired the Coalitions Committee for the Minnesotans United for All Families campaign to defeat the amendment banning same sex marriage in 2012. Solo built and maintained a coalition of more than 700 organizations and businesses. “That campaign showed the best of Minnesota. It was grounded in the conversation that we all understand: love is love,” she said.
In the few weeks she has been at MAPE, she said she appreciates the member-led culture at MAPE, “I’m very excited to work across departments to build programs that make it possible for members to be involved in political and legislative work on multiple levels. I am so impressed with the diversity of skill levels in the membership base – I can’t wait to work with folks and figure out how to grow their involvement.”
Solo said she also looks forward to determining different opportunities to engage people in political campaigns in addition to door knocking, phone banking and calling regarding legislative activities. “Some members may be interested in developing ongoing relationships with legislators and perhaps showing up at a hearing or following a committee. Others will be searching for ways to have deeper conversations with people in their worksites about politics. We know interest in politics is at an all-time high now but there is also a lot of divisiveness,” she said.
Solo, who grew up in Mankato, was Gov. Tim Walz’s first campaign staffer on his congressional campaign in 2005. Last year, she served as his gubernatorial campaign manager for the primary election and then deputy campaign manager through the general election.
Solo’s parents, Harry and Lynn Solo, still live in Mankato. He father is a retired English professor at Minnesota State, Mankato and her mother is a retired public health nurse.
Solo and her husband, Brian, and their children, 11-year-old daughter Sammy and three-year-old son Calvin, live in Plymouth. She said she enjoys working out and “getting a good long run in every weekend,” reading a variety of novels and spending time with her children and husband, an attorney.
“We enjoy movie nights and visiting family – we’re lucky to have three sets of grandparents here in Minnesota and one in Ohio,” she added.