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Ruby Krietzman

Steve Simon, MN Secretary of State, visits HHS during Boost TASC.

Inspiring youth in politics

Minnesota Secretary of State speaks at Boost TASC

Oct 23, 2015

On Oct. 22, Minnesota Secretary of State, Steve Simon, visited HHS. Simon was the guest speaker for Boost TASC, a program that invites professionals to engage with students about college, careers, and the workforce.

Simon spent the morning informing students on his history with Hopkins schools, his story of getting involved in politics, and his current job title.

Simon attended Alice Smith Elementary School, then NJH, and finally HHS. He graduated in 1988. He believes that Hopkins schools, particularly HHS, prepared him for his future in government.

In high school, Simon participated in Student Government, Speech and Debate, tennis, and Youth in Government.

Simon became interested in international affairs when he was in third grade. His mother was from Austria, and he recalls reading about her home country in the newspaper. His first campaign experience began in 1984 when he and three friends volunteered for a day on the Walter Mondale campaign during his run against Ronald Reagan.

In 1988, during his senior year, Simon and a few friends became what he calls “political tourists” and visited the Iowa caucus.

Simon continued his education at Tufts University, in Boston, Mass., where he majored in political science. There, he was engaged in public affairs and a political publication run by Tufts students. In 1991 Simon took a gap year before entering graduate school, and became involved in the Tufts Students for Clinton and worked on the Clinton campaign in Little Rock.

Simon then returned to Minnesota and went to law school at the University of Minnesota. He worked for the attorney general, then ran for office for the Minnesota state legislature, facing an incumbent that held the title for 12 years.

When talking about his service for the legislature, Simon described it as a great learning experience.

“You learn what you know, and what you don’t know,” Simon said.

After serving as a legislator for ten years, Simon ran for Minnesota Secretary of State and won by one percent of the vote.

In 2013 and 2014, Simon served as chair of the House Elections Committee; he urges students eligible to vote to do so.

Towards the end of his presentation, Simon took a survey of the students in the room and asked if students would be interested in allowing high school students as young as 16 or 17 to pre-register to vote in school, so when they turn 18 they’re already registered. Students willingly rose hands, much to Simon’s surprise. Simon explained that the committee was trying to brainstorm ways to strengthen youth voting in the state.

Simon wrapped up his segment by urging students to finding their own path.

“There is no one correct, right, or true path to do what [I’m] doing in my line of work,” Simon said. “It’s okay to be unconventional, or nontraditional.”


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