Nancy Brataas, former state senator, stays upbeat in hospice care

Nancy Brataas, a pioneer in the state Legislature, is battling a severe lung disease with help from a Rochester hospice.

Brataas, 85, was a state senator from 1975 to 1992. She’s often called the first woman to be elected, on her own, to the state Senate. The official legislative history says she was the second woman elected to the state Senate.

(That’s because Laura Emilia Johnson Naplin was first elected in 1927 to replace her deceased husband, state Sen. Oscar Naplin. Laura Naplin was subsequently elected to two more terms.)

Brataas also was chair of the Minnesota Republican Party (1963-69) and chair of the Minnesota Republican Finance Committee (1969-71).

The Rochester Post-Bulletin says Brataas was diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease a year ago and given six months to live.

But she’s defying the odds, and the paper said the Seasons Hospice assistance helps her live on her own. She had been diagnosed with lung cancer in 1999, and half of her right lung was removed.

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