I was born and raised in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota by wonderful, hard-working parents. They still live in Detroit Lakes, as does my sister and her family. I graduated from Detroit Lakes High School in 1985, Concordia College in Moorhead in 1989 and Georgetown Law School in Washington, D.C., in 1992.
Sondi and I were married in 1993 after a three-year long-distance relationship. Sondi grew up in Crookston and graduated from Concordia with me, but when I headed to D.C. for law school, she headed to Chicago to start her career. After we were married, we stayed in Chicago for another year and then moved back home to Minnesota. We now live in Plymouth with our sons Thor (15) and Rolf (11) and our bulldog, Chester (3).
After law school, I worked for firms in Chicago and Minneapolis before starting at Cargill, Inc. to handle employment and labor law matters. In 2001, I left Cargill and ventured out on my own, founding Midwest Employment Resources and providing employment law and human resources training, workplace investigations and lawsuit mediations.
In 2000, I was elected to the Minnesota House of Representatives and served for six years. In the House, my colleagues elected me Assistant Majority Leader and I served as Chairman of the Civil Law and Elections Committee and the House Republican Steering Committee.
Among other things, I was the successful chief author in the House of bills to:
- Significantly limit the power of government to take private property through eminent domain
- Reform Minnesota’s joint and several liability system (the most significant tort reform in Minnesota in decades)
- Aggressively combat the methamphetamine epidemic with the most comprehensive anti-meth bill ever passed in the United States
- Cut the Minnesota capital gains tax rate
In 2008, I was elected to the Board of Commissioners in Hennepin County, the largest County in Minnesota and one of the largest in the country. I ran unopposed for re-election in 2012.
As a fiscal conservative on the county board, I’ve advocated strongly for more government accountability, prioritization of spending and a requirement that county programs actually produce measurable results.
Republicans in Minnesota elected me to represent them on the Republican National Committee in 2011.
Being active in my community has always been an important part of my life. I’ve tutored in homeless shelters in Chicago and Minneapolis, taught Sunday School and confirmation classes and coached youth football, baseball and soccer (16 teams in all over the past 12 years).
Now that you’ve learned a bit about me, I hope you’ll continue on through the website and learn more about my priorities and my commitment to making this state the best possible place for all of us to live.
Don’t forget to connect with me on Facebook and Twitter!