About Jim

Jim was first elected to the Minnesota House in 2000. He brought with him a long history of neighborhood, community, and union activism and leadership.

In the House this biennium Jim sits on the Education Policy, Education Finance, Tax, and Ways and Means committees. He chairs the Property and Local Tax division as well as the Ethics committee. In addition he was appointed by Governor Dayton Eeducation Commission of the States, a 49 state compact on education policy in both the K-12 and higher education areas.

Jim taught middle school social studies for 17 years. While teaching he was elected to three terms as his local union’s president and also served in leadership positions at the state level with the Minnesota Federation of Teachers and later Education Minnesota. He currently works as a personal finance educator for Lutheran Social Service.

Before being elected Jim served for four years on the board of the Seward Neighborhood Group, including representing the neighborhood on the Hiawatha LRT Citizens Advisory Committee during the development of the Hiawatha line. Jim’s community involvement has included serving on the board of the African Health Action, a nonprofit focused on HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis education and prevention in the African-born community in Minnesota. Additionally he served on the Advisory Board of the Personal Finance Center, a project of Faith in the City that provided Individual Development Accounts, a form of matched savings for low income people saving for college, home ownership, or business. He currently serves on the Advisory Board for Camp du Nord, a family camp operated by the YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities.

Jim is married to Cara Letofsky. They have two children.

Jim enjoys spending time with family, camping, kayaking, biking, downhill skiing, cooking, photography and reading in his spare time.


  • DFL
  • Education Minnesota
  • Minnesota Association of Professional Employees (MAPE)
  • Sierra Club
  • AFSCME Council 5
  • Minneapolis Building and Construction Trades
  • Take Action Minnesota Action
  • Teamsters Council 32 DRIVE


  • Minnesota School Social Workers Paul Wellstone Legacy Award 2014
  • Association of Metropolitan School Districts Friend of Public Education 2009
  • Minnesota School Boards Association Outstanding Legislator 2007
  • Minnesota Hospital Association Champion of Community Hospitals 2007-08
  • Conservation Minnesota Voter Center Perfect Score 2007
  • Conservation Minnesota Voter Center Perfect Score 2008
  • Children's Defense Fund Legislative Children's Champion 2005
  • Minnesota AIDS Project Hanson-Henningson Award 2002
  • Minnesota Organization on Adolescent Pregnancy and Parenting Policy Maker of the Year 2002
  • Minnesota Association of Building Officials Legislative Leadership Award 2002 BILD Fellow
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