As a lobbyist for Flaherty & Hood, Erik Simonson brings years of valuable legislative, local government and non-profit experience to our clients. His key areas of expertise include taxes, bonding, economic development, environment, energy and public safety. He joined the firm in 2021.
A lifelong resident of Duluth, Minn., Erik served in the Minnesota House of Representatives from 2013 to 2016, and the Minnesota Senate from 2017 to 2020. He was elected Assistant Minority Leader of the Senate DFL Caucus in 2020 and focused heavily on issues important to Greater Minnesota and local governments throughout his entire legislative career. He retired from the Duluth Fire Department as an Assistant Chief in 2017 and has worked in top management positions in both the non-profit community and the public higher education workforce development community.
As a legislator, Erik demonstrated a willingness to engage with both sides of the political aisle to accomplish effective and pragmatic policy initiatives. His policy passions include energy, environmental, economic development and tax policy.
Some of his legislative accomplishments include:
- Worked directly with local governments and statewide interest groups to refine/update Minnesota’s Local Government Aid formula
- Secured more than $100 million in state funding for infrastructure projects in Duluth
- Travelled statewide before chief authoring the bill empowering the Minnesota Board of Pharmacy to eliminate retail sales of synthetic drugs. Provided funding for a statewide marketing campaign regarding the hidden dangers of synthetic drugs
- Chief author of legislation that created the Border-to-Border Broadband Grant Fund, a state public investment into broadband expansion in Greater Minnesota’s underserved/unserved areas
- Worked with communities across Minnesota to develop and pursue affordable and reliable statewide energy policies
- Secured funding/policy to support expansion of Minnesota STARBASE – an intense STEM program for 4th and 5th graders to Duluth – in partnership with the Minnesota 148th Program provides annual programming to a broad region in Northeast Minnesota
When he is not busy advocating for the needs of our clients at the Legislature, Erik spends his free time enjoying travelling, camping, fishing, and hunting with his wife Holly and their two daughters. He is a member of the Lake Superior Zoological Society Board of Directors, and recently served on the MN STARBASE Board of Directors as well as Blandin’s Broadband Community Board of Directors.