Joe Sullivan was born in Milwaukee, WI in 1974 to Elizabeth Caspary and Jim Sullivan. Joe’s Mom dedicated her career to working with homeless mentally ill patients and she was just one of ten women in her medical school class of one hundred. Joe’s Dad has worked in the emergency room for forty-three years and day in and day out, saw the ravages of our health care system on those who cannot afford coverage.
Joe’s upbringing taught him the value of hard work, dedication and the importance of family and friends. Joe’s parents exemplified these values and ensured that they instilled them in Joe and his two brothers.
After graduating high school, Joe attended Marquette University in Wisconsin. At Marquette, Joe studied pre-law and was very involved in student government. In his sophomore year, Joe met Kara Schneider in archeology class. Joe knew immediately that he would marry Kara after their first date and they have been together since 1995.
Next, Joe attended Law School at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Kara attended Medical School in South Dakota. For three years, Joe and Kara made the trek every two weeks to see each other from Madison, WI to Vermillion, SD.
After graduation, Kara and Joe moved to Minnesota so that Kara could attend the University of Minnesota for further training. During this time, Joe worked as a lawyer and advocate for local governments throughout the First District to ensure they had the resources and tools they need to keep property taxes low but maintain essential services like police and fire, roads and bridges and wastewater treatment. Joe is particularly proud of the work he did with the City of Albert Lea and others to push back against an electric rate increase that would have raised electricity prices for more than a hundred communities in Southern Minnesota by more than 20%.
In 2012, Joe left his job to work for the clean energy industry where he has worked to bring more wind, solar, and energy efficiency to Southern Minnesota. The policies and work Joe has pursued supports almost six thousand people who now work for the clean energy industry throughout the First District. Joe is recognized as a leader in Minnesota’s clean energy community because of his passionate defense of clean energy and its ability to rebuild communities.
Joe and Kara live in Mankato with their two daughters, Rosemary and Vera. Joe and Kara are members of St. Joseph the Worker Catholic Church and are active members of the Mankato community.