Kevin Goodno, shareholder at Fredrikson & Byron, presented his thoughts on the challenges faced by the disability service system in Minnesota.
Kevin is a respected and experienced advocate, effectively representing clients on complex policy and political issues before state legislative, agency and executive branch decision makers.
He serves as government relations counsel for clients in his areas of special expertise—health care, social services and tax policy—and also in a variety of other issue areas including capital bonding, commerce and business, government reform and efficiency, and procurement.
Recognized for excellence in his work as a lobbyist, commissioner of Minnesota’s largest state agency and state legislator, Kevin’s diverse background provides a unique blend of experiences and relationships that sets him apart from his peers. Most importantly, he works closely with his clients to understand each client’s legislative and business needs and short and long-term goals to make certain his representation embodies the client’s mission and broader goals.
Respected for his hard work and integrity in managing difficult and challenging issues and situations, Kevin has developed strong working relationships with legislators, executive branch officials, agency personnel and various stakeholder groups. He brings these relationships, his expertise as government relations counsel and over 20 years in public service in providing a comprehensive range of services to clients including government relations counsel, policy development, government relations strategy development and execution, advocacy before state government decision makers and influencers, and legislative bill drafting and tracking.
Kevin’s experience is much deeper than his expertise as a lobbyist. He also has extensive experience in state and local government, non-profit organizations, and the private sector. Prior to joining Fredrikson & Byron, Kevin served as commissioner of Minnesota’s largest agency, the Department of Human Services. In that role he then managed over 7,000 employees, and had an annual budget in excess of $9 billion. It also required him to work closely with other state agencies, county and tribal governments, and the federal government. Kevin also served on many high-level committees, including as a member of the Governor’s Health Cabinet, as co-chair of the Minnesota Mental Health Action Group, as co-chair of the Advisory Council to End Long-Term Homelessness and as a member of the Governor’s Drive to Excellence Sub-Cabinet.
Before joining the Department of Human Services, he served in the Minnesota House of Representatives for twelve years being recognized for his leadership on health care, human services and tax policy issues. Kevin’s private sector experience includes practicing business and employment law with a Moorhead law firm and owning and operating a retail business.
Community service is an important part of Kevin and his family’s life. Kevin currently serves as chair of the American Brain Foundation board, serves on the board of the Bush Foundation, and volunteers for a variety of other organizations. He also has a strong interest in non-profit governance with his past leadership roles with the Epilepsy Foundation of Minnesota and the Citizen’s League.
Kevin continues to be called on by state decision makers for his advice and perspectives about state government, fiscal policy and health care policy through informal discussions, formal presentations and committee involvement.
Kevin currently serves as chair of Fredrikson & Byron’s Board of Directors.
As government relations counsel, Kevin worked successfully with the Minnesota Legislature to:
- Statutorily modify regulatory board rules regarding prescription drug medication distribution in nursing homes and other facilities.
- Gain a legislative exemption from the state gasoline tax for certain non-profit providers who serve individuals with disabilities.
- Increase rates for certain residential service organizations providing services to individuals with a mental illness.
- Obtain $1 million in capital investment (bonding) funding for an historical/cultural museum.
- Appropriate state bond funds for a municipal project to protect against future flood damage.
- Obtain and preserve tax allocations to a program to retain business activity and expand economic development in Minnesota.
- Expand dental benefits for individuals with disabilities and the frail elderly.
- Worked with impacted local governments and a developer to obtain tax abatement modifications to promote a transportation project to spur economic development.
- Researched and prepared an analysis of the opportunities and challenges for enacting legislation, and developed strategies and solutions for overcoming potential roadblocks as part of a national state legislative strategy .
- Provided strategic planning advice to leadership teams and boards of directors about spending, policy and demographic trends for individuals with disabilities.
- Successfully engaged a state agency to ensure proper and timely payments were made for services provided under Medical Assistance.
- Led a successful yearlong effort to modify agency-sponsored legislation to change a cost-based rate setting methodology for certain mental health providers.
- Led the negotiation team for a broad coalition of providers and advocates concerning legislation implementing a new rate setting methodology for Medicaid/Medical Assistance providers of waiver services.
- Served as lead spokesperson and testifier at the legislature for a coalition of aging services providers in support of negotiated legislation establishing a vulnerable adult felony neglect offense.
- Worked with the Department of Public Safety to modify rules related to qualifications for a driver’s license.
As the Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Human Services, Kevin:
- Led the continued restructuring of the state-operated mental health system in Minnesota by moving from a regional, institutional based model to a community based delivery system, 2003-2006
- Led the development and implementation of the American Indian Child Welfare Project, 2005
- Worked to develop and enact Supportive Services Grants to end Long-Term Homelessness in Minnesota, 2005
- Managed the development and launch of Minnesota RxConnect website, the first in the nation website to provide consumers with information about how to order prescription medicines from Canada, 2003
As a member of the Minnesota House of Representatives, Kevin authored many pieces of legislation. Highlights include:
- Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Bill: Chief author and primary House negotiator of bill that balanced the 2002-2003 budget, 2002
- Omnibus Health & Human Services Finance: Chief House author and primary House negotiator of the omnibus HHS finance bill which included landmark reform in services for the elderly, in services for people with mental illness and expansion of health care coverage for children, 2001
- Omnibus Health & Human Services Finance: Chief House author and primary House negotiator of omnibus finance bill which included major expansion of programs for persons with disabilities and the establishment of tobacco endowment funds, 1999
- Border Cities Economic Development Incentives: House author of tax incentives for the border communities of Moorhead, Dilworth, Breckenridge, East Grand Forks and Ortonville to help the communities rebuild after the 1997 floods, 1998
- 1997 Welfare Reform: Member of bi-partisan, House/Senate group that negotiated the landmark legislation, 1997
- Restrictions on Youth Access to Tobacco: Co-author and chief Republican strategist for the bill
Articles & Presentations
- Moderator, “Building a Culture of Success,” Offutt School of Business, Concordia College-Moorhead, Minneapolis, MN, March 26, 2015
- Speaker, “The Future of Disability Services,” MOHR Government Relations Counsel, Roseville, MN, September 11, 2014
- Speaker, “Coordinating Benefits and Services Under Health Insurance and Long Term Care Insurance,” Berlin Seminar on Health Policy, Center for German and European Studies at the University of Minnesota, Berlin, Germany, September 18, 2013
- Speaker, “Seniors, Aging, and Long-Term Care Realities,” Berlin Seminar on Health Policy, Center for German & European Studies at the University of Minnesota, Berlin, Germany, June 21, 2012
- Speaker, “Reimagining Health Care, A View from the State Level,” Octagon Conference 2012, Life University, Atlanta, GA, April 14, 2012
- Speaker, “Long-Term Care Insurance Models: Germany v. the United States,” Berlin Seminar on Health Policy, Center for German & European Studies at the University of Minnesota, Berlin, Germany, September 14, 2011
- Panelist, “Comparative Effectiveness, Common Sense or Nonsense,”2010 Minnesota Health Care Roundtable, Minnesota Physician Publishing, Minneapolis, MN, October 21, 2010
- Featured in “The Virtual Lobbyist,” Twin Cities Business, February 23, 2021
- Featured in “Kevin Goodno: Lobbying for Better Future,” Finance & Commerce, May 25, 2010
- Featured in “A Capitol Idea – Fredrikson & Byron’s entry into government relations illustrates how law firms are branching into lobbying,” Minnesota Lawyer, August 7, 2006
- “Minnesota: Leading the Way on Canadian Prescription Medicine Importation,” William Mitchell Law Review, 2005, co-authored with Karen Janisch
Honors & Education
- William Mitchell College of Law, LL.M. in Taxation, 1999, summa cum laude
- William Mitchell College of Law, J.D., 1999, magna cum laude, valedictorian
- Concordia College, Moorhead, B.A., 1985, magna cum laude
- Minnesota, 1999
- North Dakota, 2000
- Minnesota State Bar Association, North Star Lawyer, 2019
- Best Lawyers’ “Lawyer of the Year” in Minneapolis Government Relations Practice, 2015 and 2018
- The Best Lawyers in America, Government Relations Practice, 2014-present
- Capital Report, Top 10 Rising Lobbyists, 2011
- Campaigns & Elections, Top 100 MN Influencers, 2010
- Finance & Commerce, “2010 Minnesotans on the Move,” 2010
- City Pages, “The 10 Most Influential Lobbyists in Minnesota,” 2010
- Minnesota Super Lawyers, Rising Star, 2003
- Minnesota Lawyer, Up and Coming Attorney, 2002
- Minnesota Chiropractic Association’s Cladius Galen Award, 2016
- Center for German & European Studies at the University of Minnesota, “Berlin Seminar on Health Policy,” Berlin, Germany, Delegate, 2011-2013
- Epilepsy Foundation of Minnesota, Champion of Epilepsy Award, 2010
- Minnesota Mental Health Action Group, Public Leadership Award, 2008
- The German Marshall Fund of the United States, American Marshall Memorial Fellowship Program, Fellow, 2002
- American Cancer Society, Distinguished Service and Leadership Award, 2002
- American Heart Association – Minnesota Affiliate, Legislator of the Year, 2001
- National Multiple Sclerosis Society – Minnesota Chapter, Legislator of the Year, 2001, 1999
- Minnesota State Supreme Court, Recognized for “efforts in support of children and the improvement of the administration of justice in Minnesota,” 2000
- Minnesota Hospital and Health Care Partnership, Health Care Leader, 2000
- ARC Minnesota, Legislator of the Year, 1999
- American Heart Association – Minnesota Affiliate, Advocate of Hearts Award for Outstanding Leadership in Protecting Minnesota’s Youth from Tobacco Products, 1996
- Smoke-Free 2000 Coalition, Award for Excellence, 1996
- Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities, Minnesota Legacy Award, 2002; Legislator of the Year, 2000; Legislator of Distinction for Tax Policy, 1998
- Fredrikson & Byron, P.A., Board of Directors, Chair
- Public Affairs Council, Board Member, 2010-present
- Minnesota Government Relations Council, Member, 2007-present
- Minnesota Business Partnership, Deputy, 2007-present
- Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, 2007-present
- American Public Health Services Association, Member, 2003-present
- Minnesota Bar Association
- North Dakota Bar Association
- Commissioner, Minnesota Department of Human Services, appointee of Governor Tim Pawlenty, 2003-2006
- Minnesota Mental Health Action Group, Co-Chair
- Governor’s Health Care Cabinet, Member
- Advisory Council to End Long-Term Homelessness, Co-Chair;
- Governor’s Drive to Excellence Sub-Cabinet, Member
- Member, Minnesota House of Representatives for the Moorhead area, 1991-2002
- Stadium Task Force, 2002, Co-Chair
- Health & Human Services Finance Committee, 1999-2002, Chair
- Council Member, City of Moorhead, 1986-1990
- Lawyer, Gunhus Law Firm, Moorhead, 1999-2002
- Small Businessperson, Moorhead Linoleum & Tile Co., through 1995
- Bush Foundation, Board of Directors, 2017-present
- Chair, American Brain Foundation, 2015-present
- Board Member, American Brain Foundation, 2011-present
- Volunteer; Board Member, 2006-2012; Board President, 2009-2011; Epilepsy Foundation of Minnesota, 2006-present
- Board Member, Board Chair, 2010; Citizens League, 2007-2012
- Member, American Academy of Neurology Audit Committee, 2013-present
- Private Sector Co-Chair, Midwestern Legislative Conference 2013 Minneapolis Annual Meeting, 2012-2013
- Board Member, Courage Center, 2007-2013
- Member, Epilepsy Foundation Organization Review Committee, Epilepsy Foundation of America, 2011-2012
- Co-Chair, State Budget Trends Commission, State of Minnesota, 2007-2009.
- Member, Centennial Planning Committee, Southern Minnesota Regional Legal Services, Inc., 2007-2009
- Member, Campaign for Legal Aid, Southern MN Regional Legal Services, Inc., 2015-present