After the 2016 election, U.S. media and research institutes spent a lot of time analyzing rural voters, millennials and millennial rural voters. The idea that if there was enough data, enough studies and enough surveys completed, we could understand these notoriously elusive groups. I love me some statistical analysis (I am a Humphrey School grad after all), but I will tell you there is no secret formula to predict the political leanings of working class America, or Millennial America – especially in Minnesota’s 8th district. Our communities are simply not defined by our political persuasions.
I’m the daughter of four generations of men who helped mold the Iron Range mining industry, four generations of women who built businesses from Two Harbors to Virginia, MN. Our relationships aren’t defined by a common political credo. In my family we’re libertarians, independents, DFL’ers and Republicans. We’re held together by our unconditional love for each other, our community and our food (did I mention the women in my family ran some of the best restaurants and taverns on the Range?).
So, as I watched politicians and pundits race to understand us after the 2016 election, I couldn’t help but laugh. If they really wanted to understand us, to help us, they would stop trying to fit us into neat little narratives. My family and friends are scattered from Isanti to International Falls. In MN CD08, we’re hard-working, opinionated, and unpredictable. If you want to understand us, I thought, start by acknowledging that no two towns, counties or people in this large district are the same. So when I began to think about my role in the future of this district, I knew where I had to start.
On June 16th, 2017, I will be setting out on a 80 day listening tour, to take the pulse of our varied district. Let’s talk about what makes us so unique, what we have in common and where we can start to re-build the politics that govern us, but don’t define us. Please check out my event calendar or show me around your corner of our great district. Share your story, share your thoughts, share your recommendations for the best pasties and pastries in your town! Wherever you lie on the political spectrum, let’s talk about how we move our district into the future together.