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School of Arts and Sciences

Secretary Simon

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Political Science Alum Steve Simon, A92, elected Minnesota Secretary of State

Minnesota State Capitol Building
Steve Simon
Minnesota Secretary of
State Steve Simon

This mid-term election, Tufts alumnus Steve Simon was elected to the office of Secretary of State of Minnesota after ten years of service in the Minnesota House of Representatives. Recent public opinion evaluation suggests, "Everybody loves Steve."

Secretary Simon grew up in Minnesota, but his experience at Tufts defined the trajectory of his career. "As a Minnesotan, living in another part of the county was itself an education; a mind-expanding opportunity for exposure to different cultures and experiences," he says.

"I was blessed at Tufts to learn from remarkable professors, notably my advisor Jeff Berry of the political science department, my thesis advisor Jim Glaser (now Dean of Arts and Sciences), and Jonathan Wilson of the English department—all of whom nurtured intellectual curiosity in me and others," says Simon.

Beyond the classroom, Simon was the editor-in-chief of a student-led monthly journal Politica. The now-defunct journal promised "the whole political spectrum," and for Simon, the role enabled him "to see and appreciate differences, even subtle distinctions, between competing policy arguments."

Secretary Simon's political action at Tufts went beyond writing; he organized "Tufts Students for Bill Clinton" in the fall of 1991. "Those campus organizing days also taught me the importance of political engagement in general, and voting in particular," he says.

His campaign involvement led to a full-time job offer after graduation at the Clinton/Gore national headquarters.

After his work with the successful presidential campaign, Simon declined a job in Washington, opting to pursue a law degree from the University of Minnesota. He then served as an Assistant Attorney General of Minnesota, and later returned to his work as a lawyer in private practice.

His calling for public service, however, soon led him back to politics, where he has remained ever since. He has been recognized by many organizations for his commitment to the public, including "The Civic Leadership Award" from the non-partisan Citizens League, the "Outstanding Legislator Award" from the Minnesota School Board Association, and he was named a "rising star" by the Aspen Institute, a non-partisan international think tank.

Simon is currently working on a number of items focused on increasing voter participation in Minnesota, such as legislation that allows 16- and 17-year-olds to pre-register for voting and a bill that make it easier for National Guard members to vote. In addition, he is working on a bill that facilitates early voting, which could result in higher turnout and statewide savings.

For current Tufts Jumbos, Secretary Simon offers this advice: "Stretch yourself as a student and as a person. That means taking courses that might not fit neatly within your ‘master plan.' It means getting to know people who aren't like you. And it means being active on campus."