Renee is a First Nations Indigenous single parent. Her family, a union family of Iron Workers Local #512 came to Duluth to work. Renee is currently employed at Head of the Lakes United Way as the Impact Director. Renee is the past city council president who brings the Ojibway traditional values to helping people by building strong relationships across sectors, businesses, and community to provide constituents services.

Renee has a long history of working for Duluth. Renee believes Duluth’s priorities are “Nuts & Bolts” and accomplishes the priorities by building strong relationships. She is Pro-jobs for families, Pro-Economy, Pro-environment, and regulated protections for land, water, air, and all living beings.

Renee is excited to work for you Duluth, and truly inclusive of all, especially if there are differences of opinion. Renee believes in “Not Me, We” Renee for State Senate.

A Message from Renee

My name is Renee Van Nett and I am running for Minnesota Senate, District 8. 

A few people have asked me why I am running. As a Duluth City Councilor, I have been frustrated by a lack of state funding coming to our city. I’m running for State Senate because I want Duluth to succeed.  I’m running because the one opinion that doesn’t matter is mine. I represent the people who’ve elected me to serve. That is my highest priority.

I’m a “bridge-builder” who wants to prioritize “bread and butter” issues like raising people out of poverty, fair funding of schools, addressing climate concerns, advancing all people by breaking down barriers to success. 

Duluth residents say they’re progressive, and now they have the opportunity to follow words with action by electing their first Native American Senator. I grew up on the Red Lake Reservation. I came to Duluth to build a life and found success by becoming a laborer. Unions built this city. Unions maintain the city’s safety and Unions keep us healthy.

My life hasn’t been easy. I have been helped countless times by friends, neighbors, and even strangers. I want ALL to have the benefit of that kind of help. I have worked to provide that kind of help for others. Duluth needs to grow and thrive. In order for that to happen, we need someone who will work with others to accomplish the goals that we’ve set out each legislative session. I am not an activist. I am a policy lawmaker and a leader that is held accountable to my ADVOCACY for my community.

Please help me carry my message “Not Me, We” over the finish line. I graciously ask for your support in my campaign to win Senate District 8 to be Duluth’s State Senator. I will work tirelessly to keep our working families in the forefront of policy development and legislative decisions!

Please feel free to call or email me with any questions or ideas for building a better city and state for all Duluthians and Minnesotans.

Miigwitch (Thank You),



Fights for Funding in Duluth   source
SF4261: $25 million for Duluth Air National Guard Base new aircraft shelter.Sponsors (5)Zach Duckworth (R)*,   John Hoffman (D),   Jeff Howe (R),   Andrew Lang (R),   Jason Rarick (R),  
SF2641: $7.5 million for the Duluth Armory. Sponsors (3)Jason Rarick (R)*,   Paul Gazelka (R),   David Senjem (R),  
SF3442: $12 million for Spirit Mountain.Sponsors (1)David Tomassoni (I)*,   
SF3197: $6.9 million for Western Lake Superior Sanitary District secondary clarifiers improvements bond issue.Sponsors (2)Jason Rarick (R)*,   Thomas Bakk (I),   
SF3267 + SF2839: $12 million for the UMD Academic Health Center facility and $1.64 million to renew the UMD Science Building.SF3267 – Sponsors (1)Thomas Bakk (I)*,  SF2839 – Sponsors (2)
Thomas Bakk (I)*,   David Tomassoni (I),