Waseca County Pioneer 111 W. Elm Ave.

Waseca, MN (507) 837-6767


What do you ask a congressman?

I had the opportunity to attend a recent fundraiser in Waseca for Congressman Brad Finstad, our local representative in the United State House of Representatives. 
The most surprising part, for me, were the people I spoke with while in attendance. One attendee, a Pioneer reader, gave me a hug and started crying. She said some kind words about my work with my two newspapers. 
The moment was deeply moving for me. 
Numerous other people shared kind words. I never tire of hearing compliments about the newspaper. They reinforce the value of my hard work and dedication. 
I love what I do. It’s important and gives my life meaning.
Politics, outside of local elections, are something my dad always cautioned the newspaper to stay away from. I generally follow his advice. 
This week was a slight exception. I do feel our congressman and senator visiting Waseca are important news stories. These types of visits don’t happen every day. 
I’m at a point in my life where, politically speaking, I am unsure where I stand. On the one hand, there are elements of both parties’ platforms I can agree with. On the other, both have taken some positions I cannot support.
I’m brought back to the history book I read in college. It claimed anyone who uses terms like “left” and “right” does not understand people. I’m grateful to be my own person, not obligated to agree or disagree with a certain set of people simply because I’m “on that team.” 
During the fundraising event last week, I had the pleasure to talk with a great number of folks prior to the congressman’s speech and my time speaking personally with him. 
I spoke with two of the four candidates running for the republican nomination to replace soon-to-be retired John Petersburg. 
I also spoke with John, who invited me for a tour of the Capitol. 
I appreciate everything John does for Waseca and told him as much.
What little I’ve learned about politics so far is that I don’t much enjoy candidates belittling their opponents. Naturally people will disagree, but complaining and name calling, in my opinion, reflect badly on the person throwing the mud. 
There were many, many other people at this fundraiser, too numerous to mention. 
A few conversations, however, stand out to me. 
Waseca County commissioner Doug Christopherson was there; I asked him about the congressman’s speech. His response was likely based on his experiences as an elected official. “It’s difficult to approach all of these issues and ever expect one person to change them when they require much more.” 
One of my favorite sayings proclaims “A problem well stated is the first action required for solving it.” 
The congressman’s speech was good. After listening to him, I can easily understand why he is our representative. He has strong values and convictions, is a farmer, and has strong faith in God. Numerous statements he made about how “politicians in Washington need to be adults” resonated. He talked about the “instant gratification” people have access to today. And much, much more. 
Regarding my opportunity to speak with him personally, I wish we would have had longer together. 
Prior to our interview, I had sent out a request to about 150 different local leaders and businesses requesting their suggestions regarding questions for the congressman. I felt compelled, after reading through nearly 100 replies, to simply ask about the most-suggested topics: farming, health care, immigration, emergency services and taxes. 
I had been sent some very specific suggestions about an amazingly wide array of issues. Some addressed internet access, home schooling regulations, and very specific elements of health care including the worker shortage and the ability of Medicare to cover certain hearing aid brands. The list goes on and on. 
Whenever I speak to local representatives–and I’ve spoken with most of our local state senators and house members–I tell them my biggest concern is caring for our aging population. The shortage of healthcare workers will only be exacerbated in the coming years as demand grows. 
The congressman agreed this is a problem, although neither he, nor really any federal bill I am aware of, offer any solutions. 
Representative Peggy Bennett had a good response when I asked her about it last summer. I’m hopefully optimistic and I do believe Minnesota will fare better than other states as the need continues to grow.  
“If all printers were determined not to print anything till they were sure it would offend nobody, there would be very little printed.” Benjamin Franklin


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