Olson was born and raised in Boone, Iowa. He holds a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Community and Regional Planning from Iowa State University. He has worked at ISU as a distance education coordinator. Olson and his wife Sue have two children, an nine-year-old daughter and a thirteen-year-old son. In his free time he coaches his daughter’s basketball team, enjoys reading and spending time with his family. Olson and his family are members of the Boone First United Methodist Church.
Olson strongly supported an increase in Iowa’s minimum wage. He helped craft the Iowa Power Fund, a strategy to make Iowa a world leader in renewable fuels to expand our economy, reduce our dependence on foreign oil, and create good-paying jobs in Iowa. He also helped draft the Iowa Values Fund, a strategy to capitalize on Iowa’s strengths in biotechnology, advanced manufacturing, and information solutions.
With a hands-on attitude, Olson teamed with other legislators in 2005 for a “clean water camping tour” to push for clean water initiatives. Following this, in 2007 he passed the Surface Water Protection Act that empowers people to clean up water in their own watersheds. He also passed the Climate Change legislation aimed at developing strategies for Iowa to do its part to slow, stop and reverse the build-up of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. In 2009 Olson created the Comprehensive Recycling Task Force that will make recommendations on expanding recycling in Iowa.