Les began working on the Minnesota State Senate staff in 1990, producing and anchoring regional television programs for Senate Media Services. Later that year, he became a committee administrator for Senator LeRoy Stumpf and worked on a wide variety of issues for the Senator’s northwestern Minnesota district. His work included organizing legislative capital investment tours, and reviewing building proposals for the state’s higher education systems while Senator Stumpf served as Chair of the Senate Higher Education Funding Division.
As Legislative Network Director for the University of Minnesota Alumni Association starting in 1996, Les directed efforts to make University supporters a powerful force at the State Capitol. In 1998, his grassroots organizing played a major role in securing $242 million for University capital investment projects. Les later worked on statewide communications and legislative initiatives for Minnesota Farmers Union, and served as a guest lecturer for organizations seeking to improve legislative relations. Most recently, Les served for twelve years as President and General Manager of Pioneer PBS—the regional PBS station for southwestern and west central Minnesota. In this role, he testified many times before legislative committees on public television initiatives, and worked to secure a $1.95 million legislative appropriation for equipment at Pioneer’s new Granite Falls headquarters.