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December 18, Business Forum at the Guthrie Theater

December 18, 2014 @ 11:30 am - 1:00 pm

The next East Downtown Council Business Forum is scheduled for Thursday, December 18. This month’s event will take place at the Guthrie Theater, in the Level 5 Cafe.

The title of this month’s forum is “Connecting East Downtown to all of Minnesota:  Elected Leaders discussing pressing issues for the next legislative session,” and will feature a panel of Minnesota Legislators.

Registration, lunch and networking starts at 11:30 a.m., with the EDC Update and guest presenters starting at Noon. The cost to attend the forum is just $20. You can pay by cash or check at the door. Please RSVP by sending an email to [email protected] by no later than Monday, December 15, at Noon.  

The midterm elections are now complete and the Minnesota Legislature will head into 2015 in a new power sharing mode. Will post election commitments to bi-partisanship hold in the 2015 session? What are the emerging priorities for both parties? How will these priorities effect those who work and live in Downtown Minneapolis? Please join the member businesses of the East Downtown Council as our December Business forum will feature a panel of the elected officials connected to or adjoining the East Downtown district speaking to these important questions.

Invited Speakers include the following:

  • Representative Raymond Dehn (59b: North Minneapolis and Downtown)
  • Representative Frank Hornstein (61A: Elliot Park and South Minneapolis)
  • Representative Kahn (Marcie Holmes, East Bank and Cedar Riverside)
  • Senator Bobby Joe Champion (District 59-Downtown through North Minneapolis)
  • Senator Scott Dibble (District 60-Northeast to Cedar Riverside)


  1. Welcome and Introductions, Paul Mellblom, President EDC, Dan Collison, Executive Director EDC (10 Minutes)
  2. Ryan/Wells Fargo Construction Update, Tony Barranco, VP of Development, Ryan Construction (5 Minutes)
  3. Minnesota State Legislature Panel Discussion (30 Minutes)
  4. Q & A Moderated by Dan Collison (10 Minutes)
  5. Preview of the January EDC Forum (5 Minutes)
  6. Adjourn


Representative Raymond Dehn
Representative Dehn and his partner Joan moved to the Willard-Hay Neighborhood in 2001. They chose the north side of Minneapolis due to the vibrant diversity that makes it such a rich community. They purchased their home in 2004, and, like many others have been working ever since to keep our community a wonderful place.

Dehn spent much of his early life living in Brooklyn Park. He attended Robbinsdale Cooper High School and went on to pursue undergraduate and graduate degrees in Architecture at the University of Minnesota. While in architecture school, he was elected by architecture students across the country to represent them as the National President of the American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS). He moved to Washington DC for nearly a year and a half, during which time he traveled the country and advocated for the interests of 30,000 architecture students across the United States. Upon returning to Minneapolis in 1997, he began working for a respected Minneapolis-based architecture firm. His design experience has ranged from small affordable housing to large site Master plans and always focused on sustainable design.

In 2002, Dehn volunteered on Paul Wellstone’s third campaign for Senate and learned firsthand what grassroots politics and organizing is about, working to engage all people in the process of politics and government. Everyone close to Sen. Wellstone was impacted by the loss on that October day in 2002, and like many he continues to be inspired by his work and his words. Dehn ran for the House of Representatives as a continuation of this commitment to putting people before politics.

His involvement in the community has taken many forms, including participating in his neighborhood block club, volunteering with the Senate District 58-DFL, participating in his neighborhood association, and serving on the city of Minneapolis Capitol Long Range Improvement Committee. For the past several years, he has been co-facilitating the Northside Transportation Network with Rep. Bobby Joe Champion and engaging the north side community around the proposed Bottineau LRT that maybe connection our community to the larger regional rail system. He has volunteered with many local, state and national campaigns, and continues to reach out and actively engage those who feel disenfranchised by the political process.

On November 6th, 2012, he was elected to represent the people of his district in the Minnesota House of Representatives. He is humbled and honored by this responsibility and pledge to always put the needs of the district and the state before politics and special interests. Representative Dehn lives by a philosophy, that if you want to see change you have to work for that change.  It is only through working together that we will be able to build upon our communities’ assets and continue to move in a positive direction.

Representative Phyllis Kahn
Representative Kahn is a member of the Minnesota Legislature serving her 21st term. She has a B.A. in physics from Cornell, a Ph.D. in biophysics from Yale and a M.P.A. from the J.F.K. School of Government at Harvard.

Rep. Kahn currently serves as Chair of the Legacy Committee. In addition, she is a member of the Ways and Means, Government Operations, State Government Finance and Veterans Affairs, and Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture Finance Committees. She is also a member of the Legislative Commission on Pensions and Retirement.

Her legislative interests include issues dealing with pension and investment policy, science and technology (most recently DNA testing and the role of biotechnology in agriculture) information policy, natural resources and women’s rights.

Prior to her election to the legislature, Rep. Kahn was a research associate at the University of Minnesota in the College of Biological Sciences and also taught some classes in microbial genetics.

She was the chief author of the Minnesota Clean Indoor Air Act (controlling smoking in public places), the computer crime and computer virus laws, and legislation on nuclear safety, radioactive waste disposal, field tests of genetically modified crops and infectious waste disposal. She also authored laws to require gender equity in athletics and laws prohibiting discrimination based on age or disability.

Rep. Kahn has been instrumental in obtaining funding for parks, trails, historic preservation, art-enhancement of State buildings, and the expansion of community and urban forests. She has served on many national committees, particularly in the field of Science and Public Policy. She has been elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and served as the Chair of the AAAS Section on General Interest in Science and Engineering.

Phyllis was born in Brooklyn, New York, and is married to Donald Kahn, a professor of mathematics at the University of Minnesota. They have two adult children and six grandchildren. In her spare time she runs, bikes, plays ice hockey with a co-ed group and has won first prize at the State Fair for her “guiltless” cheesecake recipe and two second prizes for an “industrial strength” chocolate pie.

Senator Bobby Joe Champion
Senator Champion was born on December 17, 1963, graduated from North High School and is a life long resident of North Minneapolis. Bobby lives in the Lyn Park neighborhood along with his wife Angela, who is a pharmacist and their 2 sons.

While growing up Bobby loved to watch Perry Mason, and after graduating from high school Bobby knew that he wanted to become a lawyer. What type of lawyer he wante…d to be was unclear until his exposure to the entertainment business.

Bobby’s passion for music grew from directing his church choir as a teenager for many years. He had no idea that eventually his own choir, Excelsior, would develop into a Stellar Award winning and Grammy nominated choir and receive nationwide exposure.

After leading the choir for 33 years, Excelsior is a 30 member group along with backup musicians, which has produced over 7 CD’s. In his career, he has worked for Flyte Tyme Productions and Flyte Tyme’s Grammy Award winning producers Terry Lewis and James “Jimmy Jam” Harris.

Outside of his passion for music, Bobby also went on to graduate from Macalester College and William Mitchell College of Law. Bobby is now a practicing attorney with a skill set of negotiation, extensive legal and business analysis, and advocacy.

His past involvement includes serving as Program Director of Social Spaces with Stairstep Initiative and Executive Director of the National Association of Minority Contractors, Midwest Chapter, the organization that promotes inclusion of people of color and women in the construction industry. He has also served with Congressman Keith Ellison as an attorney with the Legal Rights Center and as an Assistant Attorney General under both Skip Humphrey and Mike Hatch.

Bobby was elected to the Minnesota House of Representatives in 2008 and State Senator in 2012.

Senator Scott Dibble
Senator Dibble first became involved in politics in the mid-1980’s working on issues concerning the civil rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (GLBT) communities including HIV/AIDS.  His involvement led to organizing on issues of social and economic justice—especially in the areas of neighborhood livability, transportation, housing, energy and the environment.

He later worked as aide to Minneapolis City Councilmember Doré Mead for about 6 years.  In 2000, Dibble ran for a seat in the Minnesota House of Representatives, becoming the third openly gay legislator to serve in the Minnesota Legislature.  After serving one term in the House, Dibble ran for State Senate in 2002 where he is now serving in his third term.

Senator Dibble has played a key role in a number of legislative successes.  They include passage of an historic transportation funding measure, enactment of the Freedom to Breathe Act (ensuring clean indoor air for all workers) and approval of the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act. As the Chair of the Senate’s Transit Subdivision, Senator Dibble played a pivotal role in the override of Governor Pawlenty’s veto of a vital transportation improvement bill that will allow the Twin Cities to build a transit system for the 21st century. He was also asked to serve on a special investigative committee that looked into the tragic collapse of the I-35W Bridge.  Senator Dibble continues to be a leader in the Minnesota Senate on legislation relating to transportation and transit, energy efficiency, the environment, housing and economic development.

Senator Dibble has helped position Minnesota as a leader among the states that are working to solve critical clean air, global warming, and economic challenges. Senator Dibble has served as chief author or as a lead negotiator on groundbreaking energy efficiency standards, implementation of a nation-leading renewable energy standard, establishment of a carbon dioxide reduction mandate, instituting the nation’s most stringent mercury emission reduction requirements for coal-fired energy, the first legislation in the country on hybrid plug in electric cars, programs to aid the construction of green buildings and to assist local governments in building more energy efficient facilities. Senator Dibble helped author and served on the state’s Green Jobs Task Force charged with developing a comprehensive economic development policy charged with shaping Minnesota’s participation in the Green Economy for generations to come.

In his spare time, Senator Dibble is an avid runner, triathlete and has run in several marathons.  He loves theater, reading, cooking, and travel.


December 18, 2014
11:30 am - 1:00 pm
Event Category:


East Downtown Council
View Organizer Website


Guthrie Theater
818 S. 2nd Street
Minneapolis, 55415 United States
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