To the editor:
Heartfelt congratulations to Nathan Nelson on winning the race for the House 11B seat. The campaign was short and intense and required lots of field work. Anyone that is willing to jump into the fray has to be committed to the process, so kudos to Nathan and his team, as well as to my team. He will have his work cut out for him in a very important legislative session that is quickly winding down and I wish him the best. Hopefully, the legislature will demonstrate enough common sense in this session that it will finally make substantial gains in creating affordable (not free) health care that is sustainable for all. The same goes for the cost of prescription drugs, another giant cost burden that not only affects seniors, but a large swath of the population. Among many items, these remain critical issues for all families.
On another subject, but one that is related to the last three weeks…
Near as I can tell, Nathan Nelson and I concentrated solely on the campaign issues we wanted to emphasize, and neither of us did or said anything of a negative nature during this local race that would belittle, degrade, or demonize our opponent. Politics on the national scene operate quite differently, however, as it’s commonplace to do what you can to vilify your opponent on a personal level, and take every opportunity to point out every flaw, real and perceived. It can be nasty, dirty and painful to watch, and reflects poorly on where we are as a society. By my observation, that level of antagonism and personal attacks mostly stays out of state politics, and is extremely rare in local politics.
Locally, it’s quite typical, and commonly acceptable for supporters to make written comments to say “support my (candidate)” – or “vote for my (candidate).” It’s also typical for supporters to say and write “don’t vote for (my opponent)”… it’s accepted and normal. Something, however, seems to have changed for the worse over the course of the past 30 days. Many online comments that were directed at me (from people who don’t know me) were scarily out of bounds, and lacked any semblance of civility or organized thought. The language and the variety of adjectives used was really disgusting and showed an angry, ugly side of this district, and these communities, that we should all take note of. Why did this happen? What was the motivation? In the 44 years I’ve lived in this county I’ve never seen this happen before. I can’t think of anything that I did to deserve that level of vitriol. It’s really sad and worrisome if this is the direction we are headed. Enough said, for now.
As you can imagine, I would have preferred to be serving this district in St. Paul, but don’t worry, I still have plenty to do. I will continue to serve on the Hinckley City Council, and on the Park Board. I will continue to plan and stage the Sweet Summer Sounds family concert series (now in its 4th year). My volunteer board obligations will remain as they were, with the Lakes and Pines board as well as the Region 5 directorship and vice-presidency of the MN Association of Small Cities. The ECHO Housing Group still is on my monthly board obligations, as well as the Pine Housing Initiative. I will start my 26th year on the H/F Community Education board, and hope to be allowed the privilege of volunteering for my 27th year on the H/F football chain gang. I will also continue to sing, as needed, at St. Patrick’s Church. I have been, and continue to be, connected to this community and will continue to work for the betterment of the city of Hinckley specifically, and this region in general, because I believe in its potential and its citizens. I offer a big thank you to everyone who took the time, and fulfilled their civic duty, to vote in this election, regardless of who you voted for. In case you hadn’t noticed, we’re all in this together.