Dane Smith

Dane Smith

President, Growth & Justice

About Dane

As a newspaper journalist for 30 years before heading Growth & Justice, Smith covered politics and policy at the local, state and federal levels, writing more than 4,000 bylined articles. Notable contributions include an award-winning Star Tribune series in 1987, “Spending Big,” about the growth of state and local government in Minnesota, and “The Good that Government Does,” a three-part “News With a View’’ series in 1994 that explained the unappreciated value of federal, state and local government to the nation and Minnesota. Since 2007, his work at Growth & Justice focuses on fair taxation and smart public investment. Smith has held two adjunct teaching positions, one at Inver Hills Community College, and one at the University of Minnesota-Duluth’s Masters in Advocacy and Political Leadership program. He is former chairman and current member of the Inver Hills Community College Alumni Board. In 2007 and 2008, he served on a citizens advisory panel to revise the state’s discipline policy for judges. Smith also recently served on an Education Finance Working Group to recommend overhaul of state funding formulas. As President of Growth & Justice, he participates in numerous advisory panels and strategic partnerships and advocacy teams. Smith also tutors students in reading at Horace Mann Elementary School in St. Paul’s Highland Park neighborhood, and is active in various organizations which support the St. Paul Public Schools.

In the News

Dane Smith's research on Peter Callaghan, "Why Do Candidates for Governor in Minnesota Make Such a Big Deal About Naming a Running Mate?," MinnPost, June 1, 2018.
Dane Smith quoted by Gregg Aamot, "Minnesota's Rural Interests Look to Build on Recent Gains at the Legislature" Voice of Alexandria, January 31, 2018.
Dane Smith quoted by Gregg Aamot, "Minnesota's Rural Interests Look to Build on Recent Gains at the Legislature" MinnPost, January 30, 2018.
"Minnesota Leads the Nation in Progress toward Tax Fairness," Dane Smith (with Dane Smith), Minnesota Post, April 2, 2015.
"Minnesota Leads the Nation in Progress toward Tax Fairness," Dane Smith (with Jeff Van Wychen ), Minnesota Post, April 2, 2015.
Dane Smith quoted on better workforce alignment between higher education systems and employers by Joe Nathan, "Good Job Advice for Families, Students" Hometown Source, December 29, 2014.
"True Patriotism Means Recognizing Interdependence," Dane Smith, Capitol Report/Politics in Minnesota, Capitol Report/Politics in Minnesota, June 27, 2013.
"Fixing Minnesota's Employment Gap," Dane Smith, Sunday OpEd, Star Tribune, June 15, 2013.
"Giving Our Public Schools Their Due," Dane Smith, Sunday Op-Ex, Star Tribune, December 9, 2012.
"Research: Higher-ed Improvements Would Help Minnesota More than Most States," Dane Smith, Commentary, Capitol Report/Politics in Minnesota, August 23, 2012.
"Humphrey's Happy Fight for Racial Equity and Harmony," Dane Smith, Commentary, Capitol Report/Politics in Minnesota, August 9, 2012.
"Twins Saga Holds Lesson for Minnesota," Dane Smith (with Maureen Ramirez, Policy and Research Director, and Growth & Justice), Commentary, Capitol Report/Politics in Minnesota, July 26, 2012.
"You're Entitled: That's the American Way," Dane Smith, Star Tribune: Newspaper of the Twin Cities, May 6, 2012.
"Rethinking the New York Times Visit to Chisago County," Dane Smith, Capitol Report, March 8, 2012.
"On Higher Ed, Stick to the Plan," Dane Smith (with Kent Pekel), Star Tribune, December 14, 2011.
"Dane Smith: The Founding Federalists," Dane Smith, Star Tribune, July 2, 2011.


"Inseparable Imperatives: Workforce Equity for a Competitive Economy," (with Kira Dahlk, Luke Weisberg, and Maureen Ramirez),

Preview and overview of series of "Workforce Equity'' policy briefs showing how Minnesota can reduce racial inequities in job market

, Growth & Justice, Spring 2013.

This paper, Inspeparable Imperatives, is the first in a series of four designed to help Minnesota policy-makers reduce racial inequality in employment, which poses a threat to the state's long-term competitiveness. Charts and data showing the severity of the unemployment gap in the Twin Cities, workforce demand and racial composition of qualified workers in specific sectors. Spotlight boxes show targets of opportunity, such as the new Minnesota Vikings stadium, and promising new efforts, such as the "M-Powered'' program.

"Beyond the Affordable Care Act: An Economic Analysis of a Unified System of Health Care for Minnesota," (with Amy Lange, RN, MS, CNM, and Growth & Justice Policy Fellow on Health Care),

Econometric analysis in partnership with The Lewin Group of costs and benefits of a publicly financed "unified and universal'' health-care system for Minnesota (also known as "single-payer")

, Growth & Justice, February 29, 2012.

Minnesota could reduce it's total health-care spending by individuals and businesses by 9 percent (compared to full implementation of the Affordable Care Act) if it established a taxpayer financed universal health-care system with a top-shelf benefit set.

"Whole Towns Coming Together for All Students,"

Growth & Justice Policy Education Report

, December 31, 2011.

Describes progress being made through community engagement initiatives toward improving student success and closing achievement and attainment gaps in an increasingly diverse Greater Minnesota. Highlights some promising specific efforts happening across the state in rural towns and cities outside the Twin Cities metropolitan area.

"Governing with Accountability,"

Growth & Justice Policy Report

, February 28, 2009.

Provides overview of classic principles that underlie effective and accountable state and local government in Minnesota, and reviews challenges and promising initiatives aimed at redesigning the public sector.

"Smart Investments in Minnesota’s Students," (with Angie Eilers as principal author),

Growth & Justice Policy Report

, September 30, 2008.

Outlines evidence-based strategic investments aimed at dramatically increasing post-secondary graduation in Minnesota, and reducing achievement and attainment gaps.

Professor Wellstone Goes to Washington: The Inside Story of a Grassroots Senate Campaign (with Dennis McGrath) (University of Minnesota Press, 2003).

Tells the story of the late U.S. Sen. Paul Wellstone’s populist progressive campaign in 1990 and his stunning upset victory over incumbent Republican Rudy Boschwitz in 1990.