When I first began considering running for State Representative in January 2018, I could not have anticipated the journey upon which it would take me. The past few months of this campaign have been an exhilarating learning experience that have given me a new appreciation for the work it takes to run a campaign and the increasingly elusive art of political compromise.
As you probably know, I did not win the election. However, we did succeed in reversing some of the downward trend for DFLers that has been taking place in District 22A since 2008. The last Democrat elected in 22A was in 2000, so I knew going into this that it would be an uphill battle. Southwest Minnesota did not become heavily Republican in just one election cycle, and it is going to take just as long to begin to turn the tides back in our favor. Democrats not only in rural Minnesota, but nationwide need to reframe the conversation where we stress what we have to offer other than resistance. Our conversation needs to be about a Minnesota and a United States where progressive policies build a more prosperous nation, state, and community.
Throughout this experience I have grown immensely and have many people to thank for that. I want to extend my sincerest gratitude to everyone who made this campaign possible.
First and foremost, to all campaign donors. Without you none of this would have been possible. I would name you all here, but I am fortunate that the list of donors is too long for me to do that. Requesting donations is a big ask of friends, family, acquaintances, and strangers, so your generosity is deeply appreciated. I am humbled to know you believe in progressive politics and my commitment to enacting change to make the contributions you did. (Remember to file your Political Contribution Refund forms!) You helped get the word out about this campaign.
Second, to every person who gave their time to work on this campaign, from parade walkers to phone-bankers to door-knockers to those working behind the scenes. I know your free time is limited and I am appreciative of the personal time you gave up to be out campaigning with me. A special shout-out to my trusty campaign treasurer, Beth Kaufman, for all the time she spent on financial spreadsheets, reporting, and innumerable calls with the Campaign Finance Board. And of course for every time her treasurer duties resembled campaign manager duties.
To the local DFL units in District 22A (Lincoln, Lyon, Murray, Nobles, Pipestone, and Rock Counties) for their endorsement, fundraisers, and support, as well as the Minnesota DFL Party — including the wonderful Cristina Diaz and Paul Schwarz — for their wealth of knowledge and resources. A thank you to Congressional District 7 DFL Chair, Jennifer Cronin, for her tireless work for the party in western Minnesota — we are truly lucky to have your leadership. Additionally, a thank you to House Minority Leader Melissa Hortman who gave me the words of advice that encouraged me to run.
I want to also thank every person who sat down with me to talk about the issues affecting their lives and community. From progressive Democrats to conservative Republicans, I spoke with Minnesotans of all political persuasions and from all walks of life during this campaign. While we surely did not agree on every issue, hearing your experiences and opinions has helped me learn how to better understand and serve this community.
Finally, my wholehearted gratitude to each and every one of the 5,377 Southwest Minnesotans who cast their votes for me. I am humbled by your support. It is difficult to express how it feels to come full circle to a point where the community members I grew up with are casting votes for me. It makes me appreciate the tight-knit nature of Southwest Minnesota that much more.
I am grateful to have shared this experience with you all in working toward a better Minnesota.