Our Leadership Team
The DFL Environmental Caucus is an official caucus of the Minnesota Democratic Farmer Labor Party (DFL) We operate under a constitution approved by the DFL, which you can refer to here : DFL Environmental Caucus Constitution.
The Official Email Address of the Caucus is
The mailing address is :
Minnesota Environmental Caucus
P.O. Box 113
Savage, MN 55378
For More Information regarding the DFL Party please navigate to
Veda Kanitz, Chair
Veda is a Climate advocate with Citizens Climate Lobby (CCL), one of the founders of the DFL Environmental Caucus, lives in CD2, LFE, Sierra club, RHS science, Grandma. She lives in Lakeville.
Rich Updegrove, Vice Chair
Rich is a union member, teacher and father. He lives in Duluth.
Lawrence Sandoval, Treasurer
Lawrence is our diligent and careful treasurer, making sure we grow, watch and use our money as intended.
I grew up in south Minneapolis, on the east side of Lake Harriet, where I got a fantastic education - in the Minneapolis public schools, at Plymouth Congregational Church, at local politics events (my parents were active Republicans) and in the thriving music scene of the 1970s. I collected trash for the first earth day and marched against the Vietnam War. I went away to college in Portland Oregon, land of rivers (Columbia, Willamette and Sandy) and the Pacific Ocean. I wrote movie reviews for the student newspaper and studied history and sociology. I did not like the weather! I came back to Minneapolis, and went to work for the Minneapolis City Council and helped start the Southwest Voice newspaper, and went on to be editor at the Upper Midwest Council, last bastion of Minnesota's smart, liberal Republicans. I moved north to Cass County, worked as a reporter and freelance writer, discovered community radio and threw myself into KAXE in Grand Rapids. I was married, had two sons, and went to work for the Mississippi Headwaters Board, where I launched River Watch, wrote two guidebooks and produced several videos, and launched the Rivers Council of Minnesota. I was divorced, the kids were entering middle school, so I went to work for the state, first as the Red River Basin Planner, and then as a DNR regional planner. I have had two other positions at DNR - Continuous Improvement Coordinator and Supervisor for the St Louis River Estuary Area of Concern. I have been active in the DFL since 2006, and served as Chair of the Cass County Unit. I am now a member of the Itasca County DFL, where I am an large director. My Dad believed - and I think he was right - that we all need an even playing field. And, that playing field should be healthy and safe.
Speaking about the beloved St. Louis River and its tributary the Cloquet River Kristin addresses the group at Jay Cooke State Park. Kristin is a Registered Occupational Therapist, lives in CD 8. Kristin has spent recent years working to improve the environment of NE MN and is former chair of SLC OU3 and current Vice Chair of SD 3 and serves on the DFL Platform Committee
John Wells, Endorsement Committee Chair and Legislative Director
John with Veda at the State Fair. John grew up on Alplaus Creek outside of Schenectady, New York with a fishing rod, a bow, and an old Canadian canoe. It was a dream world for a 12-year old kid. Ever since, I've been drawn to the out of doors and to fighting for our environment. I've worked on environmental issues all my professional life, serving as an environmental advocate in developing the first North Carolina and Minnesota state water plans. This included re-evaluating the use of channelization and calling for the preservation of natural and scenic rivers while at the N.C. Dept. of Natural and Economic Resources; calling for a new approach to local government involvement in water issues while at the Minnesota Water Planning Board; and coordinating development of a new state agency -- the Board of Water and Soil Resources -- in 1987 and the Ground Water Protection Act of 1989, while at the Environmental Quality Board. I became an inaugural member of the national Sustainable Water Resources Roundtable in 2001, becoming a co-chair in 2008. Trump abolished federal advisory committees in 2019 and we've established a successor non-federal group called the Sustainable and Resilient Resources Roundtable. On the political front, I've been a Democrat since my college days, volunteering for George McGovern's North Carolina campaign in 1972. I first attended a DFL precinct caucus in 2006 where I was elected chair. I became chair of my senate district in 2012 and served in that capacity through 2018
Brian Swancutt Secretary
Hi! My name is Brian Swancutt, and I'm currently a student at Minnesota State University, Mankato where I study social work and pre-law. In terms of secretarial experience, I have served as Secretary of the MSU, Mankato Residence Hall Association, and currently serve as the Secretary for Stonewall DFL as well. What got me interested in environmental activism was honestly a sense of self=preservation- I want to be able to have kids without feeling guilty that I am bringing them into a world that is ending. As Secretary of Stonewall DFL, I hope to keep ensuring we have accurate and consistent records that are transparent to our membership. Outside of my Secretary role, I hope to push caucus members and leaders to talk about the human toll bad environmental decisions have on communities, particularly Indigenous ones, all around our state.
Board Member Lorraine Rovig
I'm a Minnesota-Wisconsin woman, who moved back to MN after I retired. Currently I serve as past president on the Northfield Garden Club board, as a delegate to the Rice County Central Committee, as Precinct Chair of Ward 1 Precinct 2 in Northfield, am an active church member, longtime member of the Society for Creative Anachronism, member of the Metro Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind, active in Citizens Climate Lobby-Northfield, and I'm a gardener of things I can eat. I love my siblings, finding something new, nature walks, dark chocolate, slow cooking, and, quite often, have been accused of being a bookworm. I'm convinced now is the time for all good men and women to work on reducing Climate Change while fixing what's putting our democracy at risk.
Executive Committee Members
Philip Adam – CD3
Lawrence Baker - CD4
Megan Bond – CD8
Barbara Crow, Membership, Chair- CD8
Matthew Doll - CD4
Hallie Finnucane -
Cecily Harris -
Andy Hillebregt - CD6
Steve Johnson – CD4
Veda Kanitz, Caucus Chair - CD2
Greg Laden - CD3
Kristin Larsen - CD8
Ann Mozey - CD6
Jennifer McEwen- CD8
Molly MacGregor, Outreach -
Lorraine Rovig – CD2
Lawrence Sandoval, Treasurer - CD2
Wesley Sisson - CD8
Sandy Skinaway - CD8
Rich Updegrove, Vice Chair - CD8
John Wells, Legislative Chair - CD2