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I have the ability to zero in on the issues at hand to see where they fit in a political environment. I know how matters of concern or action develop at the legislature. I also know how they’re proposed, implemented and enforced within the executive branch, so I understand every step in the process of government reforms. I’m not your typical budget wonk.
—Tom Hanson

Tom Hanson

p (612) 604-6414   f (612) 604-6814 
George Mason University School of Law, J.D., 1993
Concordia College, B.A., History & Business Administration, 1985
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Tom Hanson joined Winthrop & Weinstine, P.A.’s legislative & regulatory practice after serving as the Commissioner of Minnesota Management and Budget (MMB) from 2006 to 2010. Tom’s experience working in both the minority and majority at the legislature, including eight years in administration, four in government office and four running a state finance agency, gives him a unique perspective of the full spectrum of government activities.

He uses his thorough knowledge of legislative and regulatory law to advise clients of the firm in their dealings with federal, state and local government. As governments across the spectrum retrench from deficits and budget cuts, Tom will help businesses and other entities navigate the reform and regulatory processes. He aims both to help clients avoid being disadvantaged by changes, and also to make sure they have input into reforms at all levels of government. Tom is always looking for opportunities that will allow his clients to perform their business activities better. He enjoys working with clients to make Minnesota the best place to do business.

During Tom’s tenure at MMB, Minnesota retained its position in the elite tier of AAA rated states, maintaining that bond rating from two of the three bond rating agencies. He successfully merged the Departments of Finance and Employee Relations, creating MMB, and led the effort to replace Minnesota’s aging accounting and procurement technology system.

Prior to being appointed Commissioner, Tom served as Deputy Chief of Staff and Director of Legislative and Cabinet Affairs for Governor Tim Pawlenty from 2003 to 2006. Before that he held several positions with the Minnesota House of Representatives including the position of Legislative Director to the Speaker of the House from 1999 to 2003. He also served in Moorhead, Minnesota and Washington D.C. from 1985 to 1991 on the staff of Congressman Arlan Stangeland (R, MN).

Bar Admissions
Minnesota, 1994

Representative Experience
  • Directed executive department with staff of 335 and budget of $939 million
  • Successfully led effort to replenish reserves, which prepared Minnesota for the economic downturn
  • Supervised development of four budgets submitted to legislature, which achieved Governor’s goal of balancing the budget without raising taxes
  • Appointed Federal Stimulus Czar by Governor and organized the dissemination of almost $6 billion in Federal stimulus funds
  • Adopted and utilized new tools to make state debt management policy more flexible and constructive in financing state infrastructure needs and retained state’s AAA bond ratings
  • Negotiated balanced budget agreements between House, Senate and Executive Branches
  • Developed nation-leading transparency website to track federal stimulus funds
  • Secured funding and directed implementation of a comprehensive upgrade of the state’s financial control infrastructure
  • Developed and led efficient and effective process of communication among the Governor’s office and 25 executive agencies and dozens of boards and commissions
  • Developed and taught program to educate new committee chairs and staff on legislative process
  • Reviewed almost 8000 bills submitted for introduction and referred them to committees
  • Successfully built coalitions between legislators and stakeholders to move agenda through the House of Representatives despite slim legislative majorities

Community Involvement
  • Mentor Externship Program, University of Saint Thomas, 2016
  • Minnesota Center for Fiscal Excellence, 2010 – present
  • Minnesota State Bar Association, LawPAC Board of Trustees, 2010 – present
  • Board of Directors, Guthrie Theatre, 2011 – present
  • Governor’s Health Care Cabinet, 2007 – 2010
  • Governor's Drive to Excellence Technology Cabinet 2007 – 2010
  • Board Member, Minnesota State Retirement System, 2007 – 2010
  • Board Member, Teachers Retirement Association, 2007 – 2010
  • Board Member, Public Finance Authority, 2007 – 2010
  • Board Member, Minnesota Science and Technology Authority, 2010
  • National Association of State Budget Officers 2007-2010, Executive Board, 2007 – 2008
  • National Association of State Treasurers, 2007 – 2010
  • National Association of State Auditors, Controllers, and Treasurers, 2007 – 2010
  • Governor Pawlenty’s Representative, Presidential Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, 2003 – 2006
  • National Governor’s Association, staff member, 2003 – 2006
  • National Conference of State Legislatures, active in various committees, 1998 – 2003

Honors & Awards

Articles & Presentations
Radio interview. Picardy, Phil. Morning Edition. MPR, Minneapolis, MN, 17 May 2017. Radio.

Qtd: Editorial Board. “Find most efficient route for insurance relief in Minnesota.” StarTribune. 12 January 2017.

Qtd. Richert, Catharine. "PoliGraph: Dayton claim leaves out key details." MPR News Capitol View. 20 March 2015.

Qtd. Montgomery, David. "Education, health care make up two-thirds of Minnesota's budget." 17 January 2015.

Qtd. Johnson, Brian. "Stadium authority fights back." Finance & Commerce. 13 January 2014.

Guest. "$1B Surplus: How Do Taxpayers Benefit?" KMSP-TV Fox News. 5 December 2013.

Qtd. Bierschbach, Briana. "Stinson's retirement ends 26-year tenure." Politics in Minnesota. 5 June 2013.

Guest. "BUDGET BILLS: Conference committee to merge plans." KMSP-TV Fox News. 5 May 2013.

Qtd. Helgeson, Baird. "Tom Bakk standing firm on clothing tax as budget solution." StarTribune. 4 May 2013.

Panelist. "Economic Forecast and Its Implications." University of Minnesota Humphrey School of Public Affairs. 01 Mar. 2013.

Qtd. Bakst, Brian. "Dayton faces political minefield as he tackles state tax system." Pioneer Press. 21 Jan. 2013.

Qtd. Salisbury, Bill. "Minnesota state budget fixers urged to avoid gimmicks." Pioneer Press. 5 Dec. 2012.

Qtd. Johnson, Brian. "Bonding bill chatter heats up at Capitol." Finance & Commerce. 3 Dec. 2012.

Guest. "Fox at 9," discussion on the fiscal cliff and its impact on Minnesota. KMSP-TV Fox News. 2 Dec. 2012.

Qtd. Richert, Catharine. "Poligraph: Daudt's numbers correct, but there's more to the story." MPR News. 30 Nov. 2012.

Speaker."Polls are Closed: What Happened and What it Means for 2013." Minnesota Council of Nonprofits. 7 Nov. 2012.

Qtd. Bierschbach, Briana. "Dayton: Campaigner in chief." Politics in Minnesota, 14 Sept. 2012.

Guest. “Newswatch,” discussion of Minnesota’s Economy and State Budget. KVSC Radio, St. Cloud State University. 30 Aug. 2012.

Speaker. “Identifying high risk areas: Regulatory and Litigation Trends” and “The 2012 In-House Counsel Crash Course.” MN CLE Conference Center. 31 Jul 2012.

Featured. Featherly, Kevin. "The Influencer: Former MMB head Hanson carves out a new niche as corporate lobbyist." Capitol Report. 26 Apr. 2012.

Author. “Supermajority rules don’t lower taxes.” Winona Daily News. 16 Mar. 2012.

Author. “Supermajority rules don’t lower taxes.” Grand Forks Herald. 14 Mar. 2012.

Qtd. Davis, Don. “Legislative notebook: GOP tax cut bill draws heated debate.Capitol Notebook, 13 Mar. 2012.

Qtd. “Editorial: Minnesota’s recession lessons.” Pioneer Press [St. Paul] 18 Feb. 2012.

Qtd. Olson, Rochelle, and Mike Kaszuba. “Ramsey County revises Vikings stadium financing plan. Pioneer Press [St. Paul] 10 Feb. 2012.

Speaker. “Legislative Preview/Discussion of State Budget.” Ramsey County Bar Association. 18 Jan. 2012.

Speaker. “The Legislative Process: Behind the Curtain at the State Capitol.” Minnesota State Bar Association. 17 Jan. 2012.

Qtd. Ragsdale, Jim. "Hot Dish Politics: A peek behind the state shutdown." Star Tribune [Minneapolis] 26 Nov. 2011.

Qtd. Bierschbach, Briana. "Pogemiller’s appointment to Office of Higher Ed ends storied legislative career." Politics in Minnesota Capitol Report. 2 Nov. 2011.

Qtd. Bierschbach, Briana. "Lobbyists got more gray hairs than victories in 2011 session." Politics in Minnesota Capitol Report 16 Sept. 2011.

Qtd. Richert, Catharine. "Pop quiz: Is Minnesota's new budget $34.3B or $35.9B?" MPR 26 Jul. 2011.

Qtd. Karnowski, Steve. “Tobacco bonds in Minnesota budget deal come at hefty price to future state budgets.”  Star Tribune [Minneapolis] 24 Jul. 2011.

Qtd. Shapiro, Walter. "The Tragedy of Tim Pawlenty." The New Republic 17 Jul. 2011.

Qtd. "Restarting Minn. Gov’t More Than Flipping Switch." CBS Minnesota 17 Jul. 2011.

Qtd. Moylan, Martin. "Economists cautious on borrowing against tobacco fund." MPR 15 Jul. 2011.

Qtd. Baran, Madeleine. "What are tobacco bonds?" MPR 14 Jul. 2011.

Qtd. Gabriel, Trip. "Amid Minnesota Crisis, Pawlenty Faces Scrutiny."  Herald-Tribune [Sarasota, Fla.] 13 Jul. 2011.

Qtd. Shapiro, Walter. “Lessons from Minnesota’s Government Shutdown About the Dismal, Irrational State of U.S. Politics.” The New Republic 12 Jul. 2011.

Qtd. Helgeson, Baird, Eric Roper and Rachel E. Stassen-Berger. “More signs point to a lengthy siege.” [Minneapolis] Star Tribune 10 Jul. 2011.

Qtd. Lohn, Martiga. “Alternative revenue sources might be key to compromise in Minnesota shutdown.”  Pioneer Press [St. Paul] 3 July 2011.

Qtd. Dunbar, Elizabeth. “Countdown to a shutdown.” MPR 30 June 2011.

Radio interview. Morning Edition. MPR, Minneapolis, MN, 29 June 2011. Radio.

Qtd. Salisbury, Bill and Dennis Lien. “Dayton, Republicans say budget deal closer; talks resume today.” Pioneer Press [St. Paul] 29 June 2011.

Qtd. Helgeson, Baird, Eric Roper and Mike Kaszuba. “Signs of progress in budget cliff-hanger.”  Star Tribune [Minneapolis] 25 June 2011.

Qtd. Johnson, Brian. “Highway contractors working overtime as shutdown looms.” Finance & Commerce 24 June 2011.

Featured. Shaw, Charley. “Rising GOP tide lifted some lobbyists’ boats.” Politics in Minnesota 15 Jun. 2011.

Qtd. Goodman, Josh. “State Government Shutdowns: A Dangerous Game.” 3 June 2011.

Mentioned. Salisbury, Bill. "Governor, legislators to try again to break budget impass." Pioneer Press [St. Paul] 1 Jun. 2011.

Qtd. Helgeson, Baird; Eric Roper; & Rachel E. Stassen-Berger. "Curtain falls on Act I at Capitol." Star Tribune [Minneapolis] 24 May 2011.

Featured in video. Almanac: at The Capitol. tpt. Minneapolis, MN, 20 Apr. 2011. Television.

Qtd. Bierschbach, Briana. "Taxing times for new revenue commissioner." Politics in Minnesota 15 Apr. 2011.

Qtd. Bierschbach, Briana. "Bill Richard is Dayton’s man in Washington." Politics in Minnesota 13 Apr. 2011.

Feature. "Seeking Sage Voices." Checks & Balances 25 Mar. 2011. <>.

Mentioned. Guntzel, Jeff Severns. "Sunday liquor sales: Who is fighting them and why?" 24 Mar. 2011.

Mentioned. Roper, Eric. “Sunday liquor bill clears a key hurdle.” Star Tribune [Minneapolis] 17 Mar. 2011.

Qtd. Davis, Don. “Duluth senator’s Sunday liquor sales bill squeaks by.” Duluth News Tribune 17 Mar. 2011.

Featured in video. Almanac: at The Capitol. tpt. Minneapolis, MN, 2 Mar. 2011. Television.

Mentioned. Lambert, Brian. "A Church Building Boom in the 'burbs." 28 Feb. 2011. Web.

Mentioned. Helgeson, Baird. “Legislators hope for a dent in Minnesota's deficit.” Star Tribune [Minneapolis] 27 Feb. 2011.

Qtd. Bakst, Brian. "A Fee Here, a Fee There in Dayton's Minn. Budget." BusinessWeek 17 Feb. 2011. <>.

Qtd. Johnson, Brian. “Unspent bonding money totals $1.2B.” Finance & Commerce 9 Feb. 2011.

Qtd. Phelps, David and Jennifer Bjorhus. “A taxing solution?” Star Tribune [Minneapolis] 4 Feb. 2011.

Feature article. Bierschbach, Briana. “The world according to Tom Hanson.” Politics in Minnesota Capitol Report 26 Jan. 2011.

Qtd. Kaszuba, Mike. “Hanson: ‘It’s a true story.’” Star Tribune [Minneapolis] 25 Jan. 2011. Online edition.

Qtd. Vomhof, Jr., John. “Business’ legislative wish list.” Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal 14 Jan. 2011.

Speaker. "What a New Governor, New State Legislature, and Minnesota’s Current Economic Forecast Mean for the Minnesota Budget and the Public Sector." 2011 Public Sector Labor & Employment Law. MN CLE Conference Center, Minneapolis. 28 Feb. 2011.

Qtd. Kaszuba, Mike. "As governor, Tim Pawlenty "drew a line in the sand" that he's counting on to lead him to the White House." Star Tribune [Minneapolis] 28 Dec. 2010.

Feature article. Grow, Doug. "Pawlenty's Righthand Man, Tom Hanson, Had Task of Managing All the State's Bad Economic News." 11 Nov. 2010. Web.

Feature article. Kaszuba, Mike. "Key budget adviser does double duty for the state." Star Tribune [Minneapolis] 23 Mar. 2009.

Feature article. "Profile: Finance Commissioner Tom Hanson has long background in government." Grand Forks Herald [Minnesota] 18 Feb. 2007.

May 07, 2012
Tom Hanson's Career Featured in Capitol Report

February 19, 2012
Tom Hanson on Minnesota's Lessons from the Recession

December 02, 2011
Tom Hanson Talks MN Budget Surplus on KARE 11 TV

August 22, 2011
Lobbyist Tom Hanson Quoted in Star Tribune

July 25, 2011
Tom Hanson Quoted in The New Republic on Minnesota Government Shutdown

July 19, 2011
Tom Hanson Audio Interview on MPR

June 30, 2011
Quotes from Tom Hanson's MPR Interview Featured in "Countdown to a shutdown"

June 29, 2011
MPR Interviews Tom Hanson About Possible Government Shutdown

June 24, 2011
What Will Happen to Constuction Projects if the Minnesota Government Shuts Down? Tom Hanson Comments

June 17, 2011
Lobbyists John A. Knapp & Tom Hanson Mentioned in Politics in Minnesota Article

June 15, 2011
Lobbyists Hanson, Zimmer Listed in "Rising Lobbyists" Poll in the Capitol Report

June 04, 2011
Tom Hanson Discusses Possible Minnesota Government Shutdown on

April 26, 2011
Tom Hanson Featured in Almanac Episode, Discusses Effects of Possible Government Shut-Down

March 22, 2011
Lobbyists John A. Knapp & Tom Hanson Quoted on New Political Members Who are Garnering Attention

March 21, 2011
Tom Hanson Quoted in Article on Sunday Liquor Sales in Minnesota

March 07, 2011
Lobbyist Tom Hanson Featured in Video on Internet Sales Tax

February 25, 2011
Tom Hanson Quoted on Dayton's Minnesota Budget Plans in Bloomberg BusinessWeek

February 14, 2011
Lobbyist Tom Hanson Discusses Minnesota's "Bonding-to-Create-Jobs" Strategy in Finance & Commerce

January 27, 2011
"The World According to Tom Hanson" Feature in Politics in Minnesota

December 13, 2010
John A. Knapp Quoted in Pioneer Press on Power Flip in Minnesota Legislature

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