A winning campaign

Rhonda Silence
starnews@boreal.org unorganizedterritory.me

It was fun getting to know the candidates who were running in the primary for the Minnesota House 3A seat. As Rob Ecklund said in the statement that he gave to the Cook County News- Herald the day after the primary, it is a sad way to get to this election, with the passing of Representative David Dill, but it was nice to see an intelligent and caring field of candidates coming forward to fill the vacancy.

I didn’t know Rob Ecklund at all before the primary campaign, but he seems like the type of person who will be straight with you. He didn’t dodge the tough questions at the Cook County Chamber Election Forum or tailor his answers to the audience. Statements he has made in articles in other newspapers in District 3A have been consistent.

And, he is friendly and easy to talk to, so although I’ve only talked to him a few times, I feel like he’s a friend.

Of course I already knew our “local guy,” Bill Hansen. It was nice to see the overwhelming support he received from the North Shore. And it was really nice to talk to Bill the day after the primary, to hear his still-positive voice. He assured me he will still be involved in the community in some other way, so that is good news.

I did know Eric Johnson. I met him the last time he took a run at the House 3A seat and he too, is a hard-working, goodhearted guy. He became a good friend of my son, Ben, when they took a class together during the previous campaign. He stops by to say “hi” whenever he makes it to Cook County. And of course he got bonus points with me when he told me what nice guys both of my sons are.

I didn’t know Heidi Omerza before the primary campaign but I’m glad to have met her too. She’s a well-spoken and outgoing person and you can tell she is passionate about public service. She’s also warm and friendly. I’d love to sit down over coffee with her sometime.

I wish Eric and Heidi well in whatever they go on to do. I hope they are facing the disappointment of the defeat as well as Bill Hansen is. As Bill said in his concession statement, they ran campaigns that were always cordial and they stayed focused on the issues that are important to the voters. I really appreciated that.

I would like to add my thanks to all of the candidates. It takes a huge leap of faith to run for office. Taking on the task of phone calling, traveling, speaking to the press, posing for photos and TV interviews is daunting and all of the House 3A candidates appeared to be having a great time doing it all. There is energy to spare amongst these folks.

It takes a major financial commitment. In addition to raising money for advertising and yard signs and travel, it means a lot of time away from regular jobs.

It also takes immense courage to run for office. I can only imagine the reactions of these candidates’ families. “You want to do what?”

Running for office you put not only yourself in the public spotlight, but spouses and children as well, so that is a hurdle to overcome even before applying to run for office. The candidates were all able to get their family members on board and they went on to campaign with smiles.

In that respect, they were all winners.

Advocacy groups and voters are not wrong to push candidates to declare their position clearly on policy issues. That is good citizenship. Hard questions should be asked of every candidate, every politician. And those public servants should be prepared to answer, but in their own words.

Mark McKinnon

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2015-10-03 digital edition

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