Former Legislator Kurt Zellers to Lead the Minnesota Business Partnership
Kurt Zellers, a former Republican state legislator, was named Wednesday by the Minnesota Business Partnership to become its CEO.
Zellers, 53, is the vice president of communications and public affairs for Primacy Strategy Group in St. Paul. He has more than 25 years of experience in public affairs, policy development, and advocacy.
Beginning Sept. 1, Zellers will be representing Minnesota’s largest employers on public policy issues ranging from tax rates to early childhood education.
Zellers is the third former Republican legislator to serve in the lead staff role for the Minnesota Business Partnership. He succeeds Charlie Weaver, a former Minnesota House member, who served as executive director of the Partnership for 20 years. Weaver’s predecessor was the late Sen. Duane Benson.
Zellers, who was speaker of the Minnesota House for the 2011-12 session, served in the Legislature from 2003 to 2014.
“The Partnership’s member companies and their employees are the lifeblood of Minnesota’s economy,” Zellers said in a written statement. “Partnership members employ more than 500,000 Minnesotans, pay billions [of dollars] in taxes, and support our schools, arts, and cultural institutions.”
Raised on a North Dakota farm, Zellers played football and earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks. As a young man, he was the communications director for the late U.S. Sen. Rod Grams, a Minnesota Republican. A Maple Grove resident, Zellers and his wife, Kim, have three children.
“I come to this role with a problem solving, bipartisan, policy-first mindset,” Zellers said. “I am committed to working with business leaders and policymakers from across the political spectrum to ensure Minnesota is a state where businesses can start, grow, and flourish.”
Jeff Harmening, chairman and CEO of General Mills, is the current chair of the Minnesota Business Partnership. “Throughout his career, Kurt adopted a solutions-first mindset and earned the respect of lawmakers on both sides of the aisle,” Harmening said in a written statement. “I am confident that he will drive constructive partnerships between elected officials and the Minnesota business community to develop sound solutions for business growth to strengthen Minnesota.”