Born and raised Minnesotan

Senator David Senjem (pronounced SEN-jum) was born in Austin, Minnesota, a short drive from his hometown of Hayfield. He graduated from Hayfield Community School in 1960 and went on to attend Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in biology.

In 1964, Dave started working at the hometown Mayo Clinic as an environmental affairs officer. He would work at Mayo for the next 44 years before retiring in 2008. While at Mayo, Dave was an institutional biosafety officer and was responsible for all aspects of environmental regulatory compliance.

Dave and his wife still live in Rochester. They have two grown children.

A life of community service

Dave was inspired to a life of public service by his father, Howard, who served as mayor of his hometown, and by his own work with the Rochester Jaycees. In 1992, Dave was elected to serve the sixth ward on the Rochester City Council. Dave served for more than a decade in a period where the community saw explosive growth. Dave has also served on the Rochester City Parks Board and the Olmsted County Environmental Commission. In addition, Dave spent 16 years on the Minnesota Emergency Response Commission, four years on the Minnesota OSHA Advisory Committee, and as vice chair of the Community and Economic Development Committee of the National League of Cities. Dave has also been active in dozens of other community organizations.

Voice at the State Capitol

In 2002, Dave was elected to the Minnesota State Senate, where he currently represents portions of Dodge and Olmsted counties, including the northern half of the City of Rochester. During his tenure, Dave has served as both Senate majority leader and minority leader. He currently serves as chair of the Senate Capital Investment Committee, where he is responsible for overseeing billions of dollars of investments in capital projects across the state. Dave also serves on the taxes, energy and utilities, transportation, and environment and natural resources committees, as well as the Legislative Pension Commission, the Legislative Energy Commission, and the Minnesota Capital Preservation Commission.

Working for our communities

Dave was a leader in Mayo Clinic’s ‘Destination Medical Center’ initiative, which is the largest economic development project in Minnesota history and secures Mayo Clinic’s status as a global medical destination. This multibillion investment sets into motion the reinvention of the City of Rochester—both physically and culturally, including a necessity for the city to take a look at how it utilizes energy. Dave has also played an active role in the Minnesota/Germany Energy Policy Exchange Program, from which he has come to understand the reasons, reality, and importance of looking at energy transformation from an economic perspective. Dave believes we can work together to build a new energy-based economy in Southeastern Minnesota!

Legislative awards
  • Legislative Advocacy Award, Minnesota Commission of the Deaf, DeafBlind & Hard of Hearing
  • 2019 Public Achievement Award, Minnesota Hospital Association
  • President’s Award, Preservation Alliance of Minnesota (2018)
  • Good Neighbor Award, Minnesota Public Television Association
  • NAMI Minnesota Legislator of the Year
  • Legislator of Distinction, Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities
  • Leadership Award, Housing First Minnesota
  • Guardian of Small Business Award, NFIB
Committees & commissions
  • Governor’s ‘Blue Ribbon’ Task Force on Water Quality Regulation
  • Minnesota Mississippi River Parkway Commission
  • Minnesota Autism Spectrum Disorder Task Force
  • State of Minnesota Hazardous Substances Notification Advisory Committee
  • Member, Governor’s Advisory Council on Occupational Safety and Health
  • State of Minnesota Emergency Response Commission
  • Minnesota Department of Health Policy Development Task Force on Medical Waste
  • Legislative Pension Commission
  • Legislative Energy Commission
  • Minnesota Capital Preservation Commission
A history of civic involvement
  • Jaycees (Rochester, Minnesota, U.S. organizations)
  • Olmsted County Safety Council
  • Rochester Area Chamber of Commerce
  • Rochester Art Center Board of Directors
  • Rochester School District #535 “Vote Yes for Kids”
  • Mayo Clinic Credit Union Board of Directors
  • Junior Achievement of Rochester
  • Boy Scouts of America Pack 298
  • Northland Children’s Oncology House
  • Rochester “76” Lions Club
  • Rochester Youth Baseball Association
  • American Red Cross Southeast Minnesota
  • Olmsted County Historical Society Board of Trustees
  • Olmsted County Health Department AIDS Task Force
  • Olmsted County Water Policy Committee
  • Olmsted County Family Services Collaborative
  • Soldiers Field Veterans Memorial Committee