Catching up

Dear public political diary,

I has been 127 days since I started this race and now I truly know why it is called a “race” because it is a frantic pace. Everyone I see asks “how is the race going” and I’m sure since you are here reading this, you are also wondering. My very honest reply is “I don’t know”. I have nothing to compare to and there are no polls for races like this but I can say we are keeping busy and learning a ton, totally worth all the effort.

The physical presence of a candidate is something concrete that is easy to talk about. To that end, I have small signs scattered near and far, and BIG signs going up strategically. For what you glance at on the side of the road for a moment there is a ton of behind the scenes work. Designing and ordering to obtaining permissions and delivering, signs can be a full-time job.

What do I do as a candidate during a pandemic to meet people? Well, I’ve decided to just go see what I can see in every part of the district. Besides the solo runs I’ve done, I’m inviting supporters to meet up in various locations to chat. Sometimes I wave at people driving by in what I call a “standing still parade”. Driving, seeing what is out there, seeing what style houses and farms, and the condition of the roads and what store (or lack of) gives me a sense of who I represent. As a senator, my job is to represent all the people, not just those that are like me. I’m pretty good at being me, I work on understanding all the various views and needs out there, and physically going places helps tremendously.

Have you gotten a phone call asking for your support? Just so you know, in local races those are real people not robots calling and I’ve called hundreds of people personally. I don’t get through to many but it does make me feel like I’m doing something! Pro tip – if you vote (early in-person or return a mail ballot) your name is pulled off the list.

Last but not least, we can never forget the time spent sitting at a computer. Researching topics, creating mailings, posting on sites, replying to surveys, every endorsement I have earned came with 4-6 meetings and all of it WORTH IT. The amount I’ve learned in the past 127 days is equal to any semester in grad school. It is the ultimate self-directed learning project ever. I am reminded of Bob Birdseye, famous for frozen food, he is an infinitely interesting man; as an example, he saw waste in food spoilage and not only created the concept of freezing excess crop at peak time, he then invented a way to flash freeze at the field, then, ways to ship and then built and distributed freezers to stores so they could sell frozen food and improved the design of home freezers enough to make them affordable for a family – all because he saw hungry people and wasted food and knew with enough work he could bridge that gap. He is a man that never saw a rabbit hole he did not fully explore.

I see issues with our education system so I am taking the steps, even the crazy big ones, to attempt to fix them for all kids in Minnesota. As I dig in I’m finding similar situations with nearly every topic, there are no easy answers just hard work, research, and listening to all sides to try to move to a better system for us all.

Every day I feel more ready for this, it is the sprint to the end, and win or not on election day I’m ready for what is next. I have a plan A and a plan B and I’m excited for either one.

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