Name: Brian Halloran
Title: Government affairs director, Redmond Associates
Education: Bachelor’s degree in political science with a minor in communications, St. John’s University
Brian Halloran aspired to do international work after college. But a year volunteering in a Jerusalem hospital and another working with political refugees in Toronto — along with close ties to family here — persuaded him to stay in the Twin Cities to focus on state issues.
Halloran has been doing just that, representing clients including the Minnesota Vikings, Conservation Minnesota and the Minneapolis Institute of Arts for Redmond Associates since 1996.
Building credibility with legislators means being “an honest broker of the facts,” Halloran said. He presents his clients’ case but also tells lawmakers what the other side will say. “You don’t want lawmakers to ever be caught off-guard,” he said.
Q. What’s the best way to start a conversation with you?
A. Ask me about my family. I’m super proud and happy about the situation I’m in, with our two boys, 11 and 9.
Q. Who was the first presidential candidate you voted for and why?
A. Bill Clinton. I was in college and at the time I thought this is incredible: He’s an intellectual with a common touch. What an incredible set of characteristics.
Q. What books are on your bedside table or e-reader?
A. Every night I sit in my Eames chair and on my iPad go into News360. It pulls in breaking news and deeper stories about current events or issue areas I’m interested in.
Q. What is a pet peeve of yours?
A. The social media humble brag.
Q. What’s a favorite activity outside your job?
A. My wife loves to travel and our kids are at the perfect age where we can bring them with us. My oldest son almost literally planned our last trip, which was to France and Iceland. He’d been learning the language and offering up choices for hotels, dinners and activities.
Q. If someone visits you in your hometown, what is something you always take them to see or do?
A. I am a proud resident of the city of Excelsior. We moved there almost four years ago. We take people to the town of Excelsior because it’s on the lake, has a couple of little ice cream shops, a coffee shop and cute stores. It feels like a resort town year round.
Q. What was an event or person who inspired you?
A. An international relations professor from St. John’s, Andrew Blauvelt (who died in 2004): He taught a symposium … that helped me envision that I might want to do something to forward some of my beliefs or work on some of the tough issues.
My grandmother, Ella Nora Cliggett: In my entire Irish Catholic family she was the only person who spent day and night talking to me about the importance of politics and how you’re either affecting government or it’s happening to you.
Q. What’s one way to end partisan polarization?
A. Drink together, coffee or a beer. Spend time face-to-face … talking about your beliefs, how they differ and, I think for the most part, how they’re the same. I still think most of us agree on 80 percent of the issues.
Q. What’s the last arts or cultural event you attended?
A. My wife studied in Paris. A friend of hers has a connection to the Musée d’Orsay and got us a personal tour when it was closed on a Monday. It was her friend, our family and the head of security. The building, the artwork, where it’s located, it was incredibly moving.
Q. What’s the highlight or lowlight of your daily commute?
A. Two months ago I would have said the lowlight was being stuck in traffic. But I got a convertible a month and a half ago, so to be completely honest it’s like a vacation in the car every day.