Government Affairs

The Chamber is the voice of business in the Brainerd Lakes region, monitoring, and engaging in policy issues affecting the health of business. Members have several opportunities to connect to elected officials to become better educated, and share their perspective to influence positive outcomes for business. Chamber President Matt Kilian is the staff liaison for the Chamber’s government affairs programs.

2016 Government Affairs committee:

  • Jim Haakonson, Chair | CliftonLarsonAllen
  • Bart Taylor | RiverWood Bank
  • Ben Thuringer | Madden’s on Gull Lake
  • Chris Quisberg | Cub Foods
  • Deb Holthaus | Benefit Innovations
  • Jim Kraft | Frandsen Bank and Trust
  • John Holthaus | Benefit Innovations
  • Lisa Paxton | Little Pine Holdings
  • Mark Osendorf | Xcel Energy
  • Matthew Seymour | Q Squares
  • Mike Dillon | Lexington Manufacturing
  • Nate Grotzke | Close~Converse
  • Tim Ramerth | Widseth Smith Nolting
  • Ginny Knudson | Borden, Steinbauer, Krueger and Knudson


Eggs and Issues
State legislators representing the Brainerd Lakes region share opening comments, and then answer questions from the moderator and attendees during this breakfast meeting. This structured conversation is hosted two times per year – in advance of the annual legislative session, and after the session.

Business Day at the Capitol
The Chamber participates in the Minnesota Chamber Business Day at the Capitol, typically in March. Brainerd Lakes Chamber staff and member representatives join more than 600 business people from throughout the state to discuss issues, receive updates from legislative leaders through workshops and lunch presentations, and then head to the Capitol to meet with area legislators.

Minnesota Chamber Federation
The Brainerd Lakes Chamber is one of the local Chambers in Minnesota that work together on state business priorities.

State of the City meetings
The Chamber’s Regional Business Council hosts informational meetings with the cities of Brainerd and Baxter at least annually to learn about public projects and discuss issues impacting business.

Tourism Day at the Capitol
Chamber staff and tourism member businesses attend Tourism Day at the Capitol. The Chamber hosts an information booth during the event’s reception to educate legislators and business people about the importance of tourism.

Legislative Priorities Dinner
The Brainerd Lakes Chamber reserves at least one table for 10 people to attend the Minnesota Chamber’s annual dinner at the start of the legislative session. Area legislators are invited to join the business representatives and the dialogue is always lively and informative.

Legislative Conference Calls
As a Minnesota Chamber Federation member, the Chamber participates in bi-weekly conference calls with other Chambers across the state, receiving updates from MN Chamber lobbyists about important business legislation. Brainerd Lakes Chamber member representatives can participate in these conference calls at the downtown Brainerd office of the Chamber.