Gateway to Minnesota History

Loading Events

« All Events

A Conversation with Marlene Johnson

October 9 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm CDT


May be an image of 1 person and eyeglasses

WCHS is thrilled to announce an event on Wednesday, October 9 at 7pm called “A Conversation with Marlene Johnson” led by former lobbyist and artist John Kaul at the Washington County Heritage Center.

Marlene M. Johnson is a true trailblazer in women’s history, becoming Minnesota’s first woman lieutenant governor under Rudy Perpich’s gubernatorial administration in January 1983. The evening will feature a conversational interview by John Kaul, highlighting her illustrious career and celebrating the launch of her new book, Rise to the Challenge: A Memoir of Politics, Leadership & Love, being released on September 24, 2024. 

Books will be available for purchase at the event. 

There is no cost to attend the event, however, registration is required and space is limited. Please go all the way through checkout to confirm your space.

Click here to register for the event.

About Marlene Johnson

Growing up in rural Minnesota, Johnson began organizing and advocating for change early, beginning with a campaign to introduce foreign languages into her high school curriculum. Pursuing a deeply felt commitment to improving the lives of others, she continued to sharpen her leadership skills throughout her life, participating in activist work in college, co-founding organizations to support women entrepreneurs and politicians, and eventually running an international education nonprofit.

As Lieutenant governor of Minnesota, Johnson’s goal was to elevate Minnesota’s global profile through trade, tourism, education, and the arts. She was a notable advocate for students to participate in international educational exchange, seeking to broaden Minnesota student’s perspectives while welcoming foreign exchange students with open arms. She was awarded the Order of the Polar Star by the Kingdom of Sweden in 1988 in honor of “civic merits, for devotion to duty, for science, literary, learned and useful works and for new and beneficial institutions”.

After her time as Lieutenant governor, she served on the national government stage. In 1991, she was appointed by President Bill Clinton to the General Services Administration as associate administrator for management services and human resources. 

A story of learning and leadership in politics, business, and public service, Rise to the Challenge is a moving portrayal of spirit, perseverance, and grace in the face of daunting personal challenges, supported by unwavering faith in the public good.

About John Kaul

Kaul started working at the Minnesota Senate in 1971, when he was 23. He served as chief of staff to then-Senate Majority Leader Nicholas Coleman, a Democrat, from 1974 to 1980. Later, he worked as a lobbyist for various causes, including chief lobbyist for Minnesota State Universities from 1987 to 1993 and chief lobbyist for Minnesota State Colleges and Universities from 1993 to 2000.

In 2000, he started his own lobbying firm, Capitol Gains, and represented, among others, Washington County, Rochester Public Schools, the Minnesota Hospital Association, Minnesota Twins, Andersen Corp., Minnesota Humanities Commission and the city of Minneapolis. He retired in 2019. –Mary Divine/Pioneer Press


Washington County Heritage Center
View Organizer Website


Washington County Heritage Center
1862 South Greeley St
Stillwater, MN 55082 United States
+ Google Map
View Venue Website