Council members & districts

Francisco J. Gonzalez

Metropolitan Council Member, District 12

Portrait of Francisco J. Gonzalez.Francisco Gonzalez was appointed to the Metropolitan Council by Gov. Tim Walz in March 2019. Gonzalez lives in Cottage Grove and represents District 12, which includes the Washington County cities of Afton, Bayport, Birchwood, Cottage Grove, Dellwood, Forest Lake, Grant, Lake Elmo, Lake St. Croix Beach, Lakeland, Lakeland Shores, Mahtomedi, Marine on St. Croix, Oak Park Heights, Pine Springs, Scandia, St. Mary’s Point, Stillwater, Willernie and Woodbury; and the townships of Baytown, Denmark, part of Grey Cloud Island, May, Stillwater and West Lakeland.

Meet your Council Member

What issue or interest compelled you to apply for a seat on the Council?
The rapid growth and changing demographics of the East Metro are creating exciting opportunities to implement change. The Met Council’s mission to support orderly and sustainable development that serves all our communities is closely aligned with my own values.

What are you most looking forward to during your service at the Council?
Having the opportunity to engage in building consensus to achieve real progress.

What do you think is most on the minds of people in your district?
Definitely transportation, followed closely with water quality issues.

What will be your priority focus area in 2019?
I will continue to follow the development of the Gold Line BRT and support the Met Council’s efforts to implement the One Minnesota vision outlined by Gov. Walz.

What changes would you like to see in the Twin Cities region by 2040?
By 2040 I hope to see a vital prosperous, cosmopolitan and sustainable community with equality and justice for all.

More personally, what do you like to do when you’re not working?
I love to read, especially anything related to history and archaeology. I am also known to binge on certain Netflix shows!


Gonzalez has nearly three decades of experience working for nonprofits, government, and education. He is the Director of the Office of Equality and Civil Rights for the Minneapolis Public Schools. Previously he was the Executive Director of the Office of Equal Employment Opportunity for Wichita State University, and a Dispute Resolution Specialist with the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry.

Former Gov. Mark Dayton appointed Gonzalez to the board of the Minnesota Council on Latino Affairs in May 2011. He served on the board’s executive council as treasurer and is a current board member. He has also served on the City of Cottage Grove Human Rights Commission, the board of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Minnesota, the Region 9 Development Commission, and many other boards.

“I bring to the Council a strong interest in expanding transportation options for the East Metro area,” Gonzalez said. “I’m a supporter of Gold Line bus rapid transit and the Council’s vision to expand bus rapid transit service in heavily traveled corridors throughout the Twin Cities area. I’m particularly interested in working on transit-oriented development and promoting sustainable growth without sprawl, with limited impact to our environment as we maximize use of existing infrastructure and provide opportunity for all people as our region’s demography is changing.”

“I will also work to create a more equitable region, which involves creating a safe, productive environment that facilitates full participation by all stakeholders,” he added. “Bringing diverse voices to the table will strengthen our decision-making. We are never smarter, kinder, more efficient or more patriotic than when we embrace what makes us unique."

Gonzalez holds a law degree from Hamline University, and is a member of the bar of both Minnesota and Kansas. He earned a master of arts in history from Minnesota State University-Mankato and a bachelor of arts in modern European history from the University of Puerto Rico-Mayaguez. He is married to Jeanne Flaherty-Gonzalez, Spanish instructor at the University of St. Thomas. They have two grown children and three dogs (two are rescues). Gonzalez enjoys reading and writing about history and archaeology, working on his Arabic language skills, and he is a diehard Star Trek fan.

Committee assignments


390 Robert St. N.
St. Paul, MN 55101