Charlie Weaver’s political education began when he was in grade school and his father, Charles, was serving as a state legislator from Anoka.
Weaver ultimately followed his father’s path in two key respects — earning a law degree and serving in the Minnesota House of Representatives. His early immersion in public policy debates and exposure to political deal-making helps explain his longevity at the helm of the Minnesota Business Partnership.
The organization, whose mission is “ensuring that the state’s economy remains strong and globally competitive,” is composed of the CEOs and senior executives of Minnesota’s largest employers. The Partnership weighs in on public policies affecting education, health care, and jobs and the economy.
Weaver was former Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s chief of staff when he accepted the Partnership’s executive director job. Now 60, Weaver has entered his 15th year in this pivotal position in Minnesota’s public policy arena. In his IDS Center office in downtown Minneapolis, Weaver talked with Twin Cities Business about the gamut of challenges facing Minnesota and the policy solutions that the Partnership supports. The following are excerpts of the interview, which have been edited for length and clarity.
Twin Cities Business: You were elected to the Minnesota House in 1988. What have been the biggest changes in Minnesota’s business climate when you contrast 2018 and 1988?
Charlie Weaver: Social media has had a profound societal impact and as a result it’s affected all businesses. Globalization has also increased because of social media and the internet. The worldwide business community is smaller than it has ever been. Our companies compete globally. It used to be, when I was elected to the Legislature, our biggest competitors were Sioux Falls or Milwaukee. Now it’s Ireland or Australia.
Our politics are obviously different. It’s harder to reach across the aisle today than it was then. When I was elected, it was a much more collegial environment.
By Liz Fedor for MINNPOST
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