Civic Caucus Interview Group
John S. Adams
John Adams is an emeritus faculty member at the Humphrey School and in the University of Minnesota geography department. He researches issues relating to North American cities, urban housing markets and housing policy, and regional economic development in the United States and the former Soviet Union. He has been a National Science Foundation Research Fellow at the Institute of Urban and Regional Development, University of California at Berkeley, and economic geographer in residence at the Bank of America world headquarters in San Francisco.
Adams was senior Fulbright Lecturer at the Institute for Raumordnung at the Economic University in Vienna and was on the geography faculty of Moscow State University. He has taught at Pennsylvania State University, the University of Washington, and the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. His most recent book, Minneapolis-St. Paul: People, Place, and Public Life, looks at the region's growth and at what factors may affect the metropolitan area's future.
Adams holds a doctorate in urban geography from the University of Minnesota and two degrees in economics.
Tom Abeles is a former tenured professor of environmental sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. He has been consulting internationally on issues of sustainability, renewable energy, and environmental planning, including economic development in both rural and urban areas, for over five decades.
He edits On the Horizon, a strategic foresight journal focusing on research and post-secondary education, internationally. He currently consults on academic/institutional futures. Additionally, he provides strategic consulting on issues of sustainability in agriculture, particularly in Africa.
Helen Baer is a communications and digital content professional with a background in public policy and government, social innovation, sports merchandising, education and foreign language and literacy. She joined the Civic Caucus in 2020 as Communications and Digital Content manager. A linguist by trade, she is comfortable speaking German, French, and Spanish, and has studied Swahili and Yiddish. She maintains a private practice in foreign language tutoring and personal digital consulting.
Baer has previously worked as Legislative Intern in the US House of Representatives, Merchandising Manager in Women's professional soccer for FC Kansas City, Intern in Museum Experience with the Minnesota Children's Museum, and German Camp Counselor at the Concordia Language Villages.
Baer graduated from McGill University in Montreal, Canada with a BA in Linguistics, and minor in Social Entrepreneurship
David Broden is a consultant to the defense industry. He is chair of the armament division of the National Defense Industrial Association. Before founding Broden Resource Solutions in 2004, he had served for 14 years with Alliant Techsystems and before that, 24 years with Honeywell, Inc. David has a bachelor's degree in physics and math from St. Olaf College and a master's in physics and math from the University of Minnesota. He has done extensive work in strategic planning and business management.
In 2007 David organized the first Minnesota Heartland Defense and High Tech Conference, linking the National Defense Industrial Association with the Minnesota Defense Alliance. David is active in the Republican Party.
John Cairns is vice chair of the Civic Caucus and an attorney with John Cairns Law, P.A., in Minneapolis. He founded the firm, which focuses on charter schools, in 2008. Prior to 2008, he was a shareholder at Briggs and Morgan, P.A. During his 19 years with the firm, Cairns was a member of the Business Law Section and the Education/Tax-Exempt Organization Practice Group.
In 1969, at age 27, Cairns was elected to the Minneapolis City Council and in 1971, at age 30, he became the youngest-ever president of the city council. He was executive director of the Minnesota Business Partnership from 1979 to 1984. He was a founding member of Public School Incentives, a nonprofit organization that helped raise over $25 million for school reform and restructuring in Minnesota. He served as a consultant for The Business Roundtable in its work to achieve public school reform on a national scale.
After Minnesota passed the nation's first charter school law in 1991, Cairns helped establish the nation's first charter schools and secured 501(c)(3) status for the schools. Today, he is widely recognized as the most experienced charter school attorney in the country. He has been published in Harvard Business Review and Education Week and has spoken at various conferences on the topics of education and school reform.
Born in Wilmington, Delaware, Cairns received his B.A. degree from Carleton College and his law degree from the Duke University School of Law.
Rep. Lyndon ("Lyn") Carlson, Sr. (DFL-Crystal) represented District 45A, which includes portions of Hennepin County, in the Minnesota House of Representatives. He is currently finishing his 24th term, serving 48 years, a record for the House and for the entire Legislature. During that time, he has never missed a legislative day of business. He did not run for re-election in 2020.
Carlson served as chair of the House Ways and Means Committee during the 2019- 2020 legislative session. His other 2019-2020 House committee assignments were the following: Rules and Legislative Administration Committee, Taxes Committee, Ways and Means - Judiciary Finance and Civil Law Division Committee. By virtue of being chair of Ways and Means, Carlson has also been an ex-officio member of all finance divisions.
He was chair of the House Finance Committee from 2007 to 2010, assistant minority leader from 1999 to 2002, and chair of the House Education Committee from 1981 to 1984 and from 1987 to 1997. He also served on the Legislative Commission on Minnesota Resources and on the Midwest Higher Education Commission.
Carlson has been an author and supporter of education funding, tax reform, protecting privacy, affordable health care, environmental protection, labor relations and consumer protection. He has won numerous awards over the years from a variety of different groups for his legislative achievements.
Now retired, Carlson's professional experience outside the Legislature includes working as a social studies teacher and coach at Henry High School and Edison High School, both in Minneapolis.
Carlson graduated from Minnesota State University, Mankato, then named Mankato State College, in 1964 with a B.S. in education and social studies. He attended graduate school there and at the University of St. Thomas, then named St. Thomas College, in Saint Paul.
Audrey Clay served on the Civic Caucus Board of Directors from 2012 to 2018. Married to Charles Clay, one of the original Civic Caucus founders, she was part of the Civic Caucus long before it launched as a formal organization. She had close friendships with all the Civic Caucus founders dating back to the 1950s, when she served as Secretary and Program Chair of the Young Republican League.
Deeply committed to her community, Clay has put in countless volunteer hours for organizations including many PTAs, the League of Women Voters, Meals on Wheels, and Normandale Lutheran Church, where she served as Secretary to the Executive Council, sat on the Church Council and worked on many committees. In addition to her role as a community volunteer, Clay is an original investor in the Minneapolis restaurant Butcher & the Boar. She lives in Edina.
Janis Clay is an experienced attorney with a keen interest in public policy and corporate governance and many years of business and nonprofit board service. She became executive director of the Civic Caucus in 2017 and in 2020 became Chair and acting executive director. In addition to the Civic Caucus, her board service has included the Lake Superior Railroad Museum, North Shore Scenic Railroad, Red River Valley & Western Railroad, Twin Cities & Western Railroad, Minnesota Prairie Line, the Western Railroad Equipment Company, Way to Grow, Magnum Chorum, the Minnesota Zoo Foundation, the Epilepsy Foundation of Minnesota, the Lowry Hill Neighborhood Association, and the Woodbury Chorus and Orchestra. She graduated from St. Olaf College with a BA in economics and from the University of Minnesota Law School, where she was a staff member and a managing editor of the Minnesota Law Review. In private law practice, she has received the Martindale-Hubbell peer review rating of AV Preeminent for ethical standards and legal ability every year since 2001.
Long active in civic affairs, Pat Davies served on the Citizens League board as well as on many CL committees. She has also been a member of the Guthrie Board, president of state senate spouses club, state League of Women Voters board, chaired the Minnesota Zoo Board, supreme court appointee to Lawyers Trust Account board, attorney general's representative to the Gambling Control Board, gubernatorial appointee to the Environmental Quality Board and the Mississippi River and Recreational Commission. Political activities include Congressional District Vice-Chair, delegate to two national Democratic conventions and member of state DFL executive committee. Currently a member of state LWV Action Committee, Loring Greenway Board, and Civic Caucus.
Paul Gilje served as executive director of the Civic Caucus from 2005 to December 31, 2016. He served as executive director of the Presbyterian Homes Foundation from 2000 to 2005. From 1993 to 2000 he was a church fund-raiser. From 1988 to 1993 he was director of stewardship and administrator for Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, Burnsville, MN. Paul served as research director and later associate director of the Citizens League from 1964 to 1988. He was a staff writer for the Minneapolis Star from 1960 to 1964. He has bachelor's and master's degrees in journalism from Northwestern University, Evanston, IL.
Randy Johnson has worked in a variety of educational settings in elementary, secondary, and higher education organizations as a teacher, administrator, and consultant. He assisted in the planning, development and application of various information technologies at Hamline University, St. Paul, MN, the Health Sciences University of Hokkaido, Sapporo, Japan (2000-2004) and at Daystar University in Nairobi, Kenya (2005 and 2014). He was a faculty member from 2002-2007 at Walden University, Minneapolis, MN, a leader in distance learning since 1970, in both the Schools of Education and Management.
While teaching at the University of Minnesota and in the Minneapolis Public Schools Johnson was involved in the very earliest application of "computers in the classroom" for teaching mathematics. As an assistant superintendent for instruction and as a technology consultant for two of the largest school districts in Minnesota he planned and designed many facilities and implemented several programs for the use of computers and multi-media technologies in all subject areas.
Currently, Johnson is a co-coordinator of the Minnesota Educational Fellowship Program with Dan Loritz, chair of the Civic Caucus. Johnson has a Ph.D. in mathematics education, curriculum, administration from the University. of Minnesota; a M.S. in mathematics and statistics from Purdue University, and a B.S. in physics and mathematics from Northern Illinois University.
Ted has worked on system questions and with legislative policy in different areas of public life: with urban and metropolitan affairs and public finance through the 1960s and '70s and since the early 1980s mainly with K-12 education policy; system and school innovation. He is the author of "Creating the Capacity for Change: How and Why Governors and Legislatures are Opening a New-Schools Sector in Public Education" (Education Week Press, 2005). In 2011 he received the Conant award from the Education Commission of the States for "outstanding contributions to American education".
He graduated from Carleton College (BA, English) and has a master's degree from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public Affairs at Princeton University. He began as a reporter and editorial writer for the Minneapolis Star and Tribune, then was executive director of the (Twin Cities) Citizens League and a senior fellow at the University of Minnesota's Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs. He is now a senior associate with the Center for Policy Studies and its Education|Evolving project.
Dan Loritz served as chair of the Civic Caucus from Verne Johnson's death in 2012 to December 31, 2016. Dan Loritz's interest in public policy spans four decades. He served fifteen years in Minnesota state government in a variety of positions. He was a senior policy analyst, director of government relations and an assistant commissioner of education in the Department of Education and an assistant commissioner for state policy coordination in the State Planning Agency. He also served Governor Rudy Perpich, Minnesota's longest service Governor, as his director of governmental relations and as his deputy chief of staff. Following his government service he served 18 years as the vice president of university relations and 17 years as an associate professor of education at Hamline University.
He is currently a senior fellow at, and President of, the Center for Policy Design. He received his undergraduate degree in psychology from Hamline University and his master's degree in teaching from the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire. In addition, he was selected for three fellowships an educational policy fellowship at George Washington University, a leadership fellowship at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota and a public school executive fellowship from the Bush Foundation in Minnesota.
Walter McClure is senior fellow and chair of the Center for Policy Design. He received a B.A. in philosophy and physics from Yale in 1959 and a Ph.D. in theoretical physics from Florida State in 1967. His dissertation research, on nuclear cluster theory, was performed at the University of Tübingen in Germany and he co-authored a book on the subject with his professor, Karl Wildermuth.
In 1969 he switched from physics to health care reform policy for reasons, he says, having to do with "relevance." He worked at InterStudy under Paul Ellwood's leadership from 1969 to 1981, at which time he left to start the Center for Policy Studies (now the Center for Policy Design). He directed the Center until his retirement for medical reasons in 1990. At InterStudy, he worked with colleagues on the HMO strategy for health care reform, among other tasks, drafting much of the federal legislation.
At the Center, he developed Large System Architecture, which is a general theory of why organizations do what they do and a set of methods to strategically redirect their behavior toward the goals society desires of them. With these methods, he and his colleagues at the Center developed a health care system reform strategy to get better care for less and developed a National Health Insurance proposal consonant with this strategy. He assisted Medicare, Pennsylvania and Cleveland to implement the first step of the strategy, severity-adjusted outcomes assessment of providers, before his reluctant retirement.
He remains chair of the board of the Center, but for many years he was no longer active in its professional work or management. Recently he resumed some of his professional work clusters.
Lee Munnich was a senior fellow and directed the State and Local Policy Program (SLPP) at the Humphrey School for 25 years. Munnich is currently a part-time senior researcher with SLPP. Munnich's research focuses on transportation policy and finance, congestion pricing, rural road safety, regional economic development, and industry clusters.
Munnich has more than 23 years of experience with state and local governments. He was a deputy commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Trade and Economic Development, research director for the Minnesota Business Partnership, economic consultant for the Minnesota House of Representatives, manager of Midwest Research Institute's Center of Economic Studies, and executive director of the Minnesota Tax Study Commission. He was elected to the Minneapolis City Council twice in 1973 and 1975.
Munnich is a founder and secretary-treasurer of the Mileage-based User Fee Alliance (MBUFA). Munnich previously served as director of the national Center for Excellence in Rural Safety and as co-chair of the Transportation Research Board's Congestion Pricing Committee. Munnich founded and chaired the Minnesota Economic Resource Group in 1985, developed and managed the annual Economic Report to the Governor of Minnesota through 1991, and chaired the National Association of State Development Agencies' research division from 1986 to 1990.
In 2016, Munnich received the University of Minnesota President's Award for Outstanding Service.
Munnich earned a bachelor's degree in economics from Georgetown University in 1967 and has done postgraduate work in economics and computer science at the University of Minnesota.
Paul Ostrow was named chair of the Civic Caucus effective January 1, 2017. Ostrow served on the Minneapolis City Council from 1998-2009. He was president of the City Council from 2002-2005 and the chair of the Ways and Means/Budget Committee from 2006-2009. During his service on the Council his efforts included the implementation of long term budgeting, service redesign, commercial corridor revitalization and partnerships with the business community including the development of Target Field.
Ostrow is currently an assistant Anoka County attorney. He serves on several other boards including Grace Center for Community Life and the Northeast Minneapolis Artists Association. He received his bachelor's degree from St. Olaf College with a major in political science and his J.D. from the University of Minnesota.
Dana Schroeder writes the summary notes of the weekly Civic Caucus interviews, which are then sent out by e-mail to the 5,500 people on the Caucus's reader list. She is a self-employed consultant who does writing, editing and research work. Her clients have included a broad variety of organizations and individuals, mostly active in the field of public affairs. Most recently, she assisted former State Senator Ember Reichgott Junge by doing research and interviews for Reichgott Junge's book, Zero Chance of Passage: The Pioneering Charter School Story. She served as editor of the Citizens League's Minnesota Journal from 1991 to 2001. From 1977 to 1984, she and her husband, Jon, were owners and publishers of the Grant County Herald, a weekly newspaper in Elbow Lake, Minn.
She has been an active member of a number of volunteer and civic organizations in both the Twin Cities area and in Elbow Lake. Among others, she has served on the Citizens League Board of Directors and co-chaired a League study committee on property taxes, was chair of the school board of Christ the King School (now Carondelet Catholic School) in Minneapolis, was an active volunteer at Minneapolis Southwest High School and was president of the Elbow Lake Civic and Commerce Association.
Schroeder has a B.A. degree in Urban Studies from the University of Minnesota and an M.A. in Public Affairs from the University's Humphrey School of Public Affairs.
An original member of the Civic Caucus, Clarence Shallbetter, in his retirement, is a deacon in the Catholic church, where he was ordained in 2001. This followed many years of working in public policy for a number of organizations, including the Citizens League. As a deacon, he visits youth at the Hennepin County Juvenile Detention Center and men in three state prisons at Lino Lakes, Stillwater and Rush City.
His public-policy activity significantly focused on transportation, as a promoter of ride-sharing, the largest form of "transit" in the Twin Cities. He also worked in Transportation Demand Management with the Metropolitan Council, on the CORE Commission, as a fiscal analyst of transportation budgets with the Minnesota House of Representatives and in promotion of ridesharing with Ridesharing,Inc., during the energy crisis of the 1980s. Before that, he was a 10-year staff person with the Citizens League—a citizen-based, public-policy research group—in the 1960s and 1970s. He joined the Navy to see the world as a supply corps officer on the USS LIttle Rock.
Growing up in North Minneapolis, he worked with his father, who owned a popular meat market, "Shallbetter's Better Meats." Married in 1969, his wife, Barbara, died in 1978 leaving him and two daughters, Sarah and Ann. In 1996, they urged him to take the TEC-Together Encounter Christ retreat that led to his becoming a deacon. He is the grandfather of Ben, born in 2016, the son of his daughter Ann and Enrique Rivera.
Shallbetter is a political science graduate of the University of Minnesota and a graduate of De La Salle High School in Minneapolis.
Theartrice ("T") Williams, MSW, is an independent consultant; former executive director of Phyllis Wheatley Community Center and, more recently, its interim executive director; former Minneapolis School Board member; former senior research associate at Rainbow Research, Inc.; and former Minnesota Ombudsman for Corrections. Williams has taught courses at the University of Minnesota's Humphrey School of Public Affairs and at Augsburg College.
Williams specializes in questions of social and distributive justice, with particular emphasis on community economic development and education issues affecting minority populations. He has been the principal investigator on Rainbow Research evaluations of several local community-based organizations and has conducted program and organizational assessments at the national level. For six years, Williams was evaluation consultant and technical assistance provider to 10 local community-based organizations funded by the Minnesota Health Department's Eliminating Health Disparities Initiative.
Williams' recognitions and awards include The Bush Foundation Leadership Fellows award; Outstanding Achievement Award, Minnesota Chapter National Association of Social Workers; Outstanding Service in Criminal Justice Award, National Association of Blacks in Criminal Justice Award; Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota Service Award; Outstanding Alumni Award, University of Pennsylvania School of Social Work.
Williams holds a B.A. degree from the University of Illinois and an M.S.W. degree from the University of Pennsylvania and has done graduate work at the University of Illinois, University of Chicago, DePaul University Law School and Northwestern University.