June 23, 2021

Bridging Divides: The Power of Local Leadership 


SDG Alignment

Dave Durenberger, Lori Sturdevant, and Ben Schierer discuss Minnesota’s political history of bridging divides and the lessons we might apply to today’s challenges.

About the Panelists

Dave Durenberger

Dave Durenberger

Dave Durenberger served three terms as a Republican US Senator for MN from 1978 to 1995.  He served under four Presidents and chaired subcommittees on eight committees and chaired the Select Committee on Intelligence. Dave was best known for his authorship of much of the Senate’s health policy, environment and public works, economic equity and disability policy, and intergovernmental relations policy. An expert on intergovernmental relations he traveled to more than 60 countries to build relations with leaders.

Dave was born, raised, and educated on the campus of St John’s University, served in US Army, graduated with a law degree from UMN, joined Harold Le Vander in his firm and his chief of staff as Governor and then former Governor Elmer L. Andersen at H B Fuller. After retiring from the USS  he spent 19 years on faculty at the University of St Thomas and created its National Institute of Health Policy. Now retired Dave and his wife Susan live in St. Paul and also in San Rafael, CA

Lori Sturdevant

Lori Sturdevant

Lori Sturdevant is a retired editorial writer and occasional columnist covering state politics and government for the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

A native of Dell Rapids, South Dakota, Sturdevant is the author, co-author or editor of 12 books and a three-time winner of the Minnesota Book Award. She and her husband Martin Vos live in St. Paul.

Ben Schierer

Ben Schierer

Ben Schierer was first elected to the Fergus Falls City Council in 2004. He was elected as mayor in 2016 and reelected in 2020.

Ben and his wife, Tessa, along with their five children own and operate Union Pizza & Brewing Company and Tōast in downtown Fergus Falls. He graduated from Fergus Falls High School in 1992 and from Metropolitan State University in May of 2020.

Ben served as Co-chair for candidate Tim Walz’s Community Prosperity Council and on Governor-elect Walz’s and Lt. Governor-elect Flanagan’s transition advisory committee. He was selected as a 2020-2021 Bush Fellow and is currently a MPA candidate at the Humphrey Institute.

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