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Peter Nelson

Vice President & Senior Policy Fellow

Peter Nelson is Vice President and Senior Policy Fellow at Center of the American Experiment, where he has worked since 1997. Peter’s policy work focuses on health care, energy, and state tax and budget issues.

On health care, he develops policies to bolster competition and innovation among both health care providers and insurers, as well as policies to make public health care programs more sustainable and effective. One particularly ground-breaking idea he is currently pursuing would allow employers to fund a health plan that gives their employees the same choice and portability found in the individual insurance market. Peter recently served on the Minnesota Health Care Financing Task Force created by the state’s legislature and governor in 2015.

Peter’s energy work highlights the workforce, reliability and cost impacts of Minnesota’s expansive green energy policies. He is one of the only voices in the state promoting affordable electricity rates for Minnesota families and small businesses.

The impact of Minnesota’s tax and budget policies on economic growth is another of Peter’s key research and writing topics. His research on migration patterns of people and income to and from Minnesota constitutes the best evidence of how high taxes make the state a less attractive place to invest, work and grow a business.

Peter regularly consults with state policy makers and the media on these issues, as well as other important issues of state and local governance. His commentaries frequently appear in the Star Tribune, Pioneer Press, and other local newspapers across Minnesota. His work has also appeared in the USA Today and the Wall Street Journal.

In addition to these policy areas, Peter also writes on legal issues, primarily related to the legitimacy of state and local governments actions. Most recently he authored an amicus brief supporting a challenge to the City of St. Paul’s attempt to bypass taxpayer protections in the state constitution by masking a general tax as a user fee. This case is currently before the Minnesota Supreme Court.


  • BA Wheaton College 1996
  • JD University of Minnesota Law School (member of Minnesota Law Review) 2004


  • 1997 – 2001: Policy Analyst, Center of the American Experiment
  • 2004 – 2006: Intellectual Takeout Project Director, Center of the American Experiment
  • 2006 – 2010: Policy Fellow, Center of the American Experiment
  • 2011 – 2015: Director of Public Policy, Center of the American Experiment
  • 2016 – present: Vice President and Senior Policy Fellow, Center of the American Experiment