Skip to content

Senior Fellows

King BanaianKing Banaian is a professor in the Department of Economics at St. Cloud State University.  He holds a Ph.D. in economics from the Claremont Graduate School.  He has consulted at the central banks of Ukraine, Egypt and Macedonia and the ministries of finance of Indonesia, Macedonia and Armenia.  He is author of The Ukrainian Economy since Independence, co-editor of The Design and Use of Political Economy Indicators and more than forty articles and book chapters discussing monetary policy and political economy.  He is a fellow of the Armenian International Policy Research Group in Washington, DC and Yerevan, Armenia.  King was state representative in the Minnesota House from 2011-13.  He is also host of the King Banaian Show on Business1570 KYCR broadcast in Minneapolis, and co-author of the St. Cloud Quarterly Business Report.

Peter BellPeter Bell has been involved in a wide range of political and civic activities in the Twin Cities over the past thirty years. He has served on the board of directors for numerous local and national social and civic organizations, including Citizens League, Center of the American Experiment, and CommonBond. In 2002, Peter was appointed to the board of regents for the University of Minnesota. He also serves on the board of TCF Financial and was appointed to the transition teams for both Governor Jesse Ventura and Governor Tim Pawlenty. Peter appears frequently on the editorial pages of the StarTribune and provides commentary for Almanac, a statewide public affairs television program. Most recently he was the Chair of the Metropolitan Council, which is a cabinet-level position appointed by the Governor.  Early in his career Peter worked in the field of chemical dependency, and writing extensively both in the United States and abroad, providing seminars on alcohol and drug abuse.

Andy Brehm

Andy Brehm is a corporate attorney in the Twin Cities and longtime conservative activist and commentator. Prior to practicing law, he served as press secretary to former U.S. Senator Norm Coleman. Brehm is a regular commentator on TPT's Almanac and KSTP's At Issue. His writing has been published by the American Experiment and has also appeared on the opinion pages of the Minneapolis Star Tribune and St. Paul Pioneer Press. Brehm is a cum laude graduate of the University of Minnesota Law School and Claremont McKenna College. 

John C. "Chuck" ChalbergJohn C. “Chuck” Chalberg has been teaching American history at Normandale Community College for, by his account, “forever.” A graduate of Brainerd Junior College and Regis University, Chuck holds an M.A. and Ph.D. in American history from the University of Minnesota. He has edited a collection of documents on American isolationism, and has been published by the Weekly Standard, National Review, Chronicles, Crisis, Touchstone, and the StarTribune. The National Endowment for the Humanities awarded him the NEH Fellowship in Residence at the University of Michigan, and he has also been a Fulbright lecturer in Hungary. Chuck has written a dual biography of Jackie Robinson and Branch Rickey, a biography of Emma Goldman, and a history of Bloomington, Minnesota.  He also performs one-man shows, appearing as historical figures Theodore Roosevelt, G.K. Chesterton, H.L. Mencken, George Orwell, Branch Rickey, and Bobby Jones.

Laurence D. CooperLaurence D. Cooper is a professor of political science at Carleton College, in Northfield, Minnesota. Professor Cooper received his Ph.D. from Duke University. Most of his research has centered on two related and overlapping themes: first, whether and to what effect standards of human flourishing and social good can be derived from nature; and, second, human passions and their implications for politics and philosophy. His current research attempts to interpret and evaluate modern culture—including both contemporary politics and spirituality—through a classical or Socratic lens.  In addition to writing a number of scholarly articles and chapters, he has two books to his credit: Rousseau, Nature, and the Problem of the Good Life (1999) and Eros in Plato, Rousseau, and Nietzsche: The Politics of Infinity (2008). Laurence is the director of the EthIC Program (Ethical Inquiry at Carleton).

William GlahnBill Glahn served as Gov. Tim Pawlenty's top energy official—for 2½ years until January 2011—as Director of the Minnesota Office of Energy Security and a Deputy Commissioner in the state's Department of Commerce.  He has since returned to Piedmont Consulting, the firm he founded in 2006.  Prior to founding Piedmont, Mr. Glahn served as Vice President and Controller of the Minnesota Municipal Power Agency—an electric utility serving 11 cities across Minnesota.  He holds a B.A. in Economics and an MBA from the University of Virginia.


Pete Hegseth

Pete Hegseth serves as chief executive officer of Concerned Veterans for America, a national veterans organization. An infantry officer in the Army National Guard, Pete most recently returned from Afghanistan, where he was a senior counterinsurgency instructor. Pete also served tours in Iraq and Guantanamo Bay, and holds two Bronze Stars. A weekly commentator on Fox News, Pete also has appeared numerous times on CNNMSNBC, and C-SPAN. He has been published by the Wall Street Journal and Washington Post, and is a contributor to National Review Online. In 2013, Pete will complete his Masters in Public Policy from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Kent KaiserKent Kaiser is a full-time member of the faculty in the Department of Communication at Northwestern College in Saint Paul, Minnesota, and an adjunct instructor at the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Minnesota. He previously served as communications and voter outreach director at the Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State under Mary Kiffmeyer, a Republican, and Mark Ritchie, a Democrat. He has won multiple awards from the Minnesota Association of Government Communicators, and advises a communications honor society at Northwestern.  He holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Carleton College, a master of arts in teaching (history) from Smith College, a master of liberal studies from the University of Minnesota Duluth, and a Ph.D. in mass communication from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities.

Tom Kelly

Tom Kelly, an attorney, is a partner at Dorsey & Whitney and co-chair of the Finance & Restructuring department. In addition to being a senior fellow of the Center of the American Experiment, he is Chairman of the Board of Directors. Tom is a 1983 graduate of the University of Chicago Law School. Between two stints at Dorsey, he was the Republican candidate for Minnesota attorney general, and worked in legal and business roles in the residential mortgage business of GMAC (now Ally Financial).  Tom’s writings focus on economic theory and policy.  


Katherine Kersten

Katherine Kersten, a writer and attorney, is a Senior Fellow at Center of the American Experiment. She was a founding director of the Center, and its chairman from 1996 to 1998. Katherine has served as both a Metro columnist and an opinion columnist at the Star Tribune (Minneapolis), and has written on cultural and policy issues for publications including the Wall Street Journal, the Weekly Standard, First Things, Christianity Today, Policy Review and American Enterprise.. For two years, she served as a regular commentator on National Public Radio. Katherine has appeared on numerous radio and television shows, including those hosted by Hugh Hewitt and Laura Ingraham. She also has been featured on Fox News and MSNBC, among several television outlets. Katherine is, along with Mitch Pearlstein, the author of “Close to Home,” a collection of columns on a wide variety of public policy issues. The center has published a number of her monographs on education.  A graduate of the University of Notre Dame, Katherine holds a masters degree from Yale University and a J.D. from the University of Minnesota.

John R. LaPanteJohn R. LaPlante works as a consultant to groups that educate the public and policymakers about fiscal policy, K-12 education, and health care. He has written and edited over 300 op-eds and reports, plus thousands of online commentaries. His clients have included State Policy Network, Kansas Policy Institute, American Legislative Exchange Council, and Humphrey Graduate School of Public Affairs. He has served as a columnist for Politics in Minnesota, writing about think tanks and public policy, and is currently a contributor to The Michigan View. He has been published by the StarTribune, Kansas City Star, DC Caller and the Wichita Eagle. His radio appearances include 760AM WJR (Detroit). He holds an M.A. in political science from The Ohio State University.

Margaret MartinMargaret Martín has had two careers, one as an academic, teaching at Carleton College, the University of St. Thomas and Augsburg College.  Her other career has been in public policy, as the first employee of the Taxpayers League Foundation in 1999, later the Minnesota Free Market Institute and now a part of Center of the American Experiment.  She was the principal researcher on TLF’s first and second editions of “Back to Basics” which detailed wasteful spending in the Minnesota budget and bonding bill and the Citizen’s Budget which was an easy to read and explained version of the Minnesota state all funds budget.  She was as a research consultant for the Republican House Caucus covering State Government Finance, Veterans, Pensions and State and local government operations from 2010 through 2012.  She earned a Ph.D from the University of Michigan in Political Science and a Master’s degree from the London School of Economics.

Rhonda NordinRhonda Nordin is an author, educator and public speaker who brings more than three decades of expertise in sales & marketing at such corporate greats as Pillsbury and IBM to her work strengthening families.  In 1989, indulging a life-long passion, Rhonda directed her marketing expertise to research and write on family and social issues, most notably family formation and family preservation, and formed the mission-driven service provider Family Issues Research & Education.  In her work, Rhonda conducts primary and secondary research that results in programs and strategies benefitting the transition to parenthood, marital well-being, and the status of the family.  Delivered in corporate, health, community and faith environments, her research-based offerings provide education, point-of-view trends and recommendations that influence parents, professionals, workforce policies and legislative decisions.  She is a contributor to Parents’ Magazine and other publications, a guest for radio, television, print and online media and the author of After the Baby: Making Sense of Marriage After Childbirth.  Rhonda serves on the board of Central Clinic (which provides free health care to children in St. Louis Park), lobbied for marriage law reform, and taught state-mandated divorce education.  She has a degree in business from the University of Northern Iowa.

David StromDavid Strom is an experienced political activist, public policy expert, speechwriter, and former radio host. David was the policy director and speechwriter for the Tom Emmer for Governor campaign. He has been writing political analysis columns for almost two decades. David did his studies in political science and political philosophy at Duke University, and has taught at Duke, North Carolina State University, Carleton College, and the University of St. Thomas. As a political activist he was communications director for a congressional campaign, and legislative director and then president of the Taxpayers League of Minnesota. He also served as the president of the Minnesota Free Market Institute.