Phyllis Kahn was a member of the Minnesota Legislature for 22 terms. She has a B.A. in physics from Cornell, a Ph.D. in biophysics from Yale and an M.P.A. from the J.F.K. School of Government at Harvard.
She has been the chief author of the Minnesota Clean Indoor Air Act (controlling smoking in public places), the computer crime and computer virus laws, and legislation on nuclear safety, radioactive waste disposal, field tests of genetically modified crops and infectious waste disposal. She also authored laws to require gender equity in athletics and laws prohibiting discrimination based on age or disability. She has been instrumental in obtaining funding for parks, trails, historic preservation, art-enhancement of State buildings, and the expansion of community and urban forests.
She has served on many national committees, particularly in the field of Science and Public Policy. She has been elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and has served as the Chair of the AAAS Section on General Interest in Science and Engineering.
Phyllis was born in Brooklyn, New York, and was married to Donald Kahn (now deceased), a former professor of mathematics at the University of Minnesota. Her immediate family are two adult children and six grandchildren. In her spare time she runs, bikes, plays ice hockey with a co-ed group and has won first prize at the State Fair for her "guiltless" cheesecake recipe and two second prizes for an "industrial strength" chocolate pie.