Hi, I'm Suzanne Cekalla and I'm running for MN Senate District 10.
I grew up on a family farm in Morrison County with six brothers and one sister. Family was the center of our lives on the farm. I learned to work hard and work together, have faith in God, and to put our community first. These are lessons I have carried with me all my life; first as a nurse, business owner, raising a family, becoming a faith leader, and eventually running for MN State Senate.
Licensed Practical Nurse
After graduating from Royalton High School, I attended Duluth Area Vocational Technical Institute, where I studied to become a Licensed Practical Nursing. I have always dreamed of being a nurse, working with and caring for people. I am a nurse to my core.
I started my nursing career at St. Gabriel's Hospital in Little Falls. This work brought me face-to-face with death and dying. I found a special gift in helping individuals and their families during this transition of life, one that became especially important for me later in my own life. I have been blessed with the privilege of being present during this final transition for those I serve.
Tri-County Community Action Program
While working as a nurse, I had the opportunity to work with the Tri-County Community Action Program as the Youth Employment Director. The Youth Employment Program matched young people with public agencies and businesses where they worked part-time. As Director, I worked with the agencies to provide safe work sites and ensure that the jobs were organized and educational.
I loved working with teenagers; helping them with employment was just the start. The program's goal was to develop work-related skills and encourage a strong work ethic. Still, for so many at that age it was a chance to discover future careers and life possibilities. It was amazing to see them grow and mature as the program progressed and witness the positive impacts not just for the teen but on their entire family.
Suzanne's Seasons and Floral in Rice, MN
Along with marriage and starting a family, I started Suzanne's Seasons and Floral, a flower and gift shoppe in Rice, Minnesota. Owning the flower shop allowed me to care for my sister, who was living with stage four cancer, raise my family, and work to strengthen the community where my business was thriving. Rice was being called a "City on The Grow." I felt we should take the opportunity to boost the economy and increase commerce. In 1990, Another business owner and I started Creating a Chamber of Commerce in Rice to help local small business owners.
After my sister and mother's deaths, I chose to attend United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities. I earned my Master's of Divinity in four years--while raising three kids as a single mom--and received the Horace Bushnell Award for Christian Education. After graduation, I was ordained in the United Church of Christ.
Pastor in Randall
After becoming ordained, I attended a year-long residency at the Good Samaritan Clinical Pastoral Education program in South St. Paul while working as a pastor at Randall Presbyterian Church.
I put a lot of miles on my car in those five years. But I had committed to my children that we would not move. Instead, I would travel to school. Looking back, like so many hard-working people, I could only accomplish all this with my children and friends' help and support.
My call to hospital chaplaincy was a blessing beyond measure. I shifted my ministry direction from parish pastor to working in a hospital as a chaplain. I am grateful to have had the chance to blend my hands-on experiences as an LPN with my love for Clinical Pastoral Education at the St. Cloud Hospital.
My faith has always been at the very center of my being. I feel called to these things as I believe all Christians are. Providing pastoral support during the most difficult moments in a person's life is an important and meaningful part of who I am.
I am blessed with three grown children and five adorable grandchildren. I continue to operate my home business doing spiritual coaching and personal development with people in all stages of life.
My Promise as Your Senator
As your MN State Senator, I will bring this empathy and understanding of the troubles we all face to the Senate floor. You can count that I will have the issues we all face in district 10 at the core of my voting and policy work. I am not a career politician in any way. I will represent you as a reasonable, business-minded, and caring member of your community.