Water cooler talk

In case you missed it…and what to watch for.

New policy fellows

Jeff Van Nest, a 20-year veteran of the FBI, has joined the Center as a full-time policy fellow, specializing in public safety and criminal justice. Van Nest’s FBI experience included 14 years as an agent in various capacities; his remaining years as a lawyer. As chief division counsel, Van Nest was the top FBI lawyer in the Minnesota/Dakota region. He also served for several years as the Minnesota FBI’s public affairs media coordinator. Van Nest will continue as an adjunct professor at the University of Minnesota Law School, where he teaches legal writing. Van Nest received his B.A. from the University of Minnesota, a J.D. from the University of Wisconsin School of Law, and a Master of Laws from Georgetown University Law Center.

Longtime state policy expert Bill Glahn has joined American Experiment as an adjunct policy fellow. Glahn most recently served as a research consultant for the Minnesota House of Representatives, supporting the energy, economic development, housing, and budget committees. He also served as deputy commissioner of commerce in Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s administration. He previously worked as a management consultant after working in the Federal Reserve System. Glahn holds a B.A. in economics and an M.B.A. from the University of Virginia.

State of inflation…

American Experiment launched a billboard campaign in November bringing attention to the rising cost of living in the state. 30 static posters and three digital billboards across the Twin Cities highlighted inflation reaching its highest level in 30 years, including bacon, gasoline, and home heating.

Fiery Fall Briefing

Writer Mollie Hemingway delivered a spirited speech about the power of truth and transparency in maintaining our democracy at American Experiment’s Fall Briefing in October. The sold-out event took place at the picturesque Winery at Sovereign Estate in Waconia. Hemingway is a senior editor at The Federalist and a popular Fox News contributor. Her latest book, Rigged: How the Media, Big Tech, and the Democrats Seized Our Elections takes an in-depth look at the most recent U.S. election.

Giving Thanks in Owatonna

American Experiment’s Owatonna Chapter hosted a Thanksgiving celebration in November. The event drew a crowd of 78 to hear Kendall Qualls, president of TakeCharge Minnesota, describe the state of race relations in America. Since its launch this year, the Owatonna Chapter has put on three events, reaching thousands of people in the area. The Rochester Chapter also hosted a Christmas event in December, at which Kendall Qualls also spoke.

Holiday cheer

American Experiment’s Young Leaders Council (YLC) hosted its annual holiday party on December 9th at the Minneapolis Club. YLC was created to help American Experiment engage with and empower young conservatives through networking and development opportunities.

Stay informed!

In between issues of Thinking Minnesota, check out our website for the latest news and events. We also have new merchandise available to proudly display your support for American Experiment’s work. While you’re on our site, sign up for our email list at AmericanExperiment.org/signup and receive exclusive bonus content, like videos with the authors and stories from fellow Minnesotans. Make AmericanExperiment.org your daily stop for the most important politics and policy issues affecting Minnesota.


An editing error in the Fall edition of Thinking Minnesota (“Risky Business”) incorrectly identified Troy Mayer as 2020 Police Officer of the Year by the Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association. That award went to Arik Matson, a well-known officer from Waseca.