According to the 2016 pre-primary campaign finance report filed by the Committee to Elect Josh Heintzeman, Brian and Mary Ann Nystrom of Andover, a suburb in Anoka County, Minnesota, each gave the first term Republican legislator from Nisswa $1000.00 in early June.
Last week, Zach Kayser at the Brainerd Dispatch reported that Heintzeman and Speaker Kurt Daudt, R-Crown, met with the Nystroms:
. . .a meeting between Daudt, Rep. Josh Heintzeman, R-Nisswa, and the Nystrom family, executives at Nystrom & Associates, Ltd. The company is a for-profit mental health care provider with locations across the state. Brian Nystrom, president and CEO, and his son Peter, executive vice president, talked with Daudt and Heintzeman about how mental health care works in Minnesota and some of the challenges their company faces as a for-profit provider. For example, there's a 23.7 to 35 percent disparity between the rates the state Department of Human Services pays for-profit providers compared to public nonprofits, the elder Nystrom said.
Nystrom said the inequality in how much for-profits are paid relative to nonprofits was the result of a DHS rule change in 2007 intended to increase access to care. The government increased the rate paid to nonprofits while leaving the rate paid to for-profits the same.
However, the change actually limits access because for-profits now don't have as much of a financial incentive to treat poorer patients on public assistance, and instead will pick patients of higher incomes because they can make more money, he said.
On its website, Nystrom & Associates describes itself as:
Nystrom & Associates, Ltd. (NAL) is a group of professional Christian clinicians from the fields of psychology, clinical social work, marriage & family therapy, nursing, and psychiatry, who are committed to helping persons experiencing personal, emotional, marriage, family, or psychological problems.
NAL meets the highly rigorous requirements of quality set by the state of Minnesota as a licensed Rule 29 mental health clinic. The clinical staff at NAL are licensed professionals and/or have advanced graduate training in a mental health field. Each clinician is experienced, has a strong Christian value system, and is committed to high standards of professional practice. . . .
Contribution marks new Nystrom skin in the game
Gaining a market share of poor Minnesotans requiring mental health care appears to be an action item for the Nystroms, as this is their first state-level contribution large enough to be itemized, a search of Minnesota campaign finance records indicates.
The filing lists Mr. Nystrom and Ms. Nystrom are employed by Nystrom and Associates, a for-profit corporation, as business records online at the Minnesota Secretary of State's office indicate. The business filing at the Secretary of State's office indicates that Mr. Nystrom is CEO of the company, as does a Nystrom & Associates Facebook post shared on Representative Josh Heintzeman's Facebook Page. The Nystrom & Associates page indicates that Ms. Nystrom is Vice President and CFO of the company.
Here's the screengrab from the report:
A search of the contributor database online ( which includes information from 2004 through 2015)at the Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board reveals that neither Nystrom has given a contribution to a political candidate in the past that was large enough to be itemized.
However, a search of individual contributions on the federal level show that Mr. Nystrom contributed a total of $1500 to Campaign for Working Families (CWF), a political action committee founded by Religious Right activist Gary Bauer in August 2009 and December 2009, while Ms. Nystrom gave $500 in March 2014 to Matt Bevins' unsuccessful primary challenge to then Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. Bevins was elected governor of Kentucky in 2015. Ms. Nystrom also gave $465 in 2011 to Herman Cain's unsuccessful Presidential bid.
In 2004, Governor Tim Pawlenty re-appointed Mr. Nystrom to a four-year term on the Board of Marriage and Family Therapy, which is responsible for licensing and disciplining marriage and family therapists. Nystrom was first appointed to the board in 1992.
While the Brainerd Dispatch article is clear on what the Nystrom family wants, we're a bit fuzzy about why the couple is giving the money to Heintzeman. While one of their centers is in Baxter, the rookie politician doesn't sit on any House committee that might help their cause: he's vice-chair of the Legacy Funding Finance committee and sits on the Environment and Natural Resources Policy and Finance and Higher Education Policy and Finance committees.
None of these have much influence on mental health policy and finance in the state of Minnesota and a cursory glance at other legislators' filings, including that by Speaker Daudt and chairs of health policy and finance related committees, didn't reveal itemized contributions from the couple. Nor did they give to the Republican House caucus committee or the Republican Party of Minnesota. Perhaps it's Heintzeman's bedrock conservative ideology.
In 2015, Nystrom & Associates hired four contract lobbyists who work at the firm of Winthrop & Weinstine PA; three are lawyers who specialize in Health Law. The hire is an indication that the firm is seeking some form of legislative relief or certainty.
Photo: Top: Via Representative Josh Heintzeman's Facebook Page, "Left to right: Peter Nystrom, MBA, Executive Vice President of Nystrom & Associates, Ltd.; Minnesota Speaker of the House Kurt Daudt; Mary Ann Nystrom, LSW, Vice President and CFO of Nystrom & Associates, Ltd.; MN Representative Josh Heintzeman (District 10A); and Brian Nystrom, MSW, LICSW, LMFT, President and CEO of Nystrom & Associates, Ltd" (photo from Nystrom & Associates Facebook page). Brian and Mary Ann Nystrom, who live in Andover, an Anoka County suburb, gave a total of $2000 to Heintzemann this year.
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