A Fresh Voice

Cari was born and raised in a union household in  Becker County, Minnesota, in the small town of Lake Park where her dad worked construction (IUOE Local 49) and her mom worked for the city at the municipal liquor store.

Service to the community was instilled in her from a very young age from helping grandma to cook in the church dining hall to serving on the executive board of the Lutheran Youth Organization where she helped plan youth gatherings and trips, as well as food drives and fundraising initiatives. 

Cari has a Master’s degree in Nonprofit Management from Hamline University and a Bachelor of Science in Mass Communication with a minor in Political Science from St. Cloud State University. 

She serves on the board of directors of YMCA Twin Cities Camp du Nord and has served her community on the St. Paul District 10 Community Council, the DFL Senate District 66 executive committee, and the board of directors of the Cedar Cultural Center. 

Cari currently works as the Director of Field Operations for Charitable Adult Rides and Services, a company that processes vehicle donations for public radio and TV stations and other nonprofits throughout the U.S. She also does executive search and programming consultation for public radio and TV stations. She previously worked at Minnesota Public Radio/American Public Media. 

“As your legislator, I will work everyday to address climate change, keep our communities safe from gun violence, and ensure every child has the resources, opportunity, and support to succeed.”

~ Cari

Growing Up

Cari grew up in an idyllic (small/remote), rural (aromatic) Minnesota town where K-12 was in the same small building with only 47 classmates.

Childhood was spent barefoot outdoors, swimming in the summers and ice-skating, sometimes not barefoot, in the winters.

Her family is full-blooded Norwegian-Lutheran farmer stock, ya’ know hey. It was a lot like Little House on the Prairie only without the threat of wolves or tears in each episode.

“My folks took me camping nearly every weekend when I was a kid and my husband and I took our son on his first camping/hiking trip when he was just six months because we wanted to “imprint big trees” on his little developing sponge of a brain. Our daughter was just 4 when we took our kids on their first BWCA trip. Preserving the beauty and natural resources of our state are a priority for my family.” 

~ Cari

What Makes Cari different?

Cari has relentless energy and the skills to be a highly effective legislator for Minnesota. Cari is not your typical candidate for office. She is not a lawyer and she’s never run for office before.

As a nonprofit fundraiser and a veteran public radio person, Cari is a master communicator and connector that cares deeply about the community and the state. 

Get to Know Cari

My husband and I chose to stay and raise our kids in West Como. We are in the geographical dead center of the Twin Cities, but our neighborhood is a tight-knit community. We know all of our neighbors and have gotten to know all the kids and parents for blocks around thanks to our wonderful neighborhood school. 

We are close enough to Como Park and the many, beautiful parks in Roseville to have a plethora of wildlife right here in the city. Our district has the unique benefit of both quiet neighborhoods and access to transit along with the diversity and amenities of the city. 

“Cari’s been my neighbor for 19 years and exactly what you would want.  Friendly, considerate, and concerned about the community.  

She spear-headed our block’s removal of leaves from the curb, initiated a very successful Flamingo Friday social hour for neighbors, and this year installed a prairie garden on the boulevard – demonstrating her recognition that local action can make a difference when addressing the issues we face.”

Pat Gaarder

Neighbor and former COO, MN Historical Society

Updates from Cari's Campaign

Cari Ness for State House

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