Lobbyist Melissa Parker Rahn of Fredrikson & Byron was selected to receive the prestigious Marshall Memorial Fellowship (MMF) for 2011 by the German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF). She is one of 44 emerging American leaders representing 16 states and the District of Columbia selected to receive the award. Fellows participate in a 24-day traveling program, where they have the opportunity to gain extensive knowledge of political, economic, and social institutions and issues facing the United States and Europe. Rahn is a graduate of Minneapolis Community and Technical College and the University of Minnesota.
The MMF program educates emerging American and European leaders on the importance of the transatlantic relationship and encourages them to collaborate on a range of international and domestic policy challenges. Fellows are selected through competitive nationwide and regional processes and come from politics, government, media, business and the non-profit sector. American fellows visit five cities across Europe, learning about the institutions and people that drive Europe’s cities, regions, countries, and multilateral systems through meetings with local counterparts.
Rahn was nominated by Kevin Goodno, head of the Government Relations Practice at Fredrikson & Byron and former Minnesota House member and former State of Minnesota Human Services Commissioner. Goodno participated in the program during 2002. He said the program reinvigorated his interest in civic life and gave him insight into what political leaders in other countries, such as Hungary, were willing to risk personally in the name of democratic freedom.
Rahn served in 2006 and 2008 as the House Democratic Caucus campaign director, where she recruited and trained candidates for office, established an electoral strategy for a caucus effort of 134 legislative races statewide, raised the funds necessary to support that effort and managed staff members located throughout the state. From 2007-2008, she worked as the executive assistant to the Speaker of the House Margaret Anderson Kelliher.
Rahn hopes her travels and participation in the Marshall program will enhance her knowledge of renewable energy policy–specifically in hydroelectric and wind energy development. She’s also interested in exploring electoral politics, democracy and governance in other nations, as well as the development of energy systems and policies to address climate change. Her goal is to use her experience to inform her work with elected leaders here in Minnesota.
The German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF) is a non-partisan American public policy and grantmaking institution dedicated to promoting better understanding and cooperation between North America and Europe on transatlantic and global issues. GMF does this by supporting individuals and institutions working in the transatlantic sphere, by convening leaders and members of the policy and business communities, by contributing research and analysis on transatlantic topics, and by providing exchange opportunities to foster renewed commitment to the transatlantic relationship. In addition, GMF supports a number of initiatives to strengthen democracies. Founded in 1972 through a gift from Germany as a permanent memorial to Marshall Plan assistance, GMF maintains a strong presence on both sides of the Atlantic. In addition to its headquarters in Washington, D.C., GMF has six offices in Europe: Berlin, Paris, Brussels, Belgrade, Ankara, and Bucharest. GMF also has smaller representations in Bratislava, Turin, and Stockholm.
Fredrikson & Byron is a 240-attorney law firm based in Minneapolis, with offices in Bismarck, Des Moines, Fargo, Monterrey, Mexico and Shanghai, China. Fredrikson & Byron has a reputation as the firm “where law and business meet.” Attorneys bring business acumen and entrepreneurial thinking to work with clients and operate as business advisors and strategic partners, as well as legal counselors. More information about the firm is available at www.fredlaw.com.