Carla represents District 24, which includes a large portion of Olmsted County including the city of Stewartville, parts of Rochester and all of Dodge County. An outspoken advocate for public education, leader in health care reform, and champion of small business, Carla is dedicated to public service. Whether it be educating our youngest citizens or serving in government, Carla believes in working together to build stronger communities.
A second generation American and the daughter of two public school teachers, Carla received her bachelor of science degree in education, with an emphasis in special education, from Drake University. She also has a master’s degree in teacher leadership from the University of Minnesota, certification as a reading specialist. Undoubtedly, Carla is passionate about education and earned elementary and secondary reading specialist certifications.
Her first teaching position was as an elementary special education teacher, followed by working as a middle school resource room teacher and various other positions throughout the years.
After moving to Rochester with her husband, Terry, a small business owner, in 1983, Carla stayed home with their three children until 1992, when she resumed teaching at Holmes Elementary School and Willow Creek Middle School.
Recognizing an opportunity to serve her community, Carla ran for the state House of Representatives and won. During her time in the legislature, she fought for funding for honor guard funerals in 2011-2012, established a Medal of Honor memorial on Capitol Grounds, carried a law for charitable gaming tax reduction, and prioritized property tax relief for chartered Veteran organizations. Thanks to the tough, but necessary, decisions, Carla helped solve the budget deficit – without raising taxes.
After her initial legislative tenure, Carla entered into the family business, helping build a successful insurance and investment firm. She and her dedicated staff have won numerous company and industry awards.
In 2010, Carla ran against, and defeated, an incumbent Democratic state senator and won re-election in 2012, 2016, 2020 and 2022. During her time in the Senate, Carla has served on education, health, jobs, capital investment, agriculture and tax committees, including chair of the powerful Senate Taxes Committee and chair of the Senate Education Finance and Policy Committee.
Carla remains active in her community and has served in a number of roles including:
- Board of Directors for the SPARKS Children’s Museum
- Rochester Orchestra and Chorale
- Trustee on the Greater Rochester Arts and Cultural Trust
- Served as President of Friends of Mayowood
- Junior Achievement Board of Directors