Mondays can be a double edged sword. For many, Monday’s are a dreaded day where we leave the weekend behind and start another long week of work. For me, I have been lucky enough to be given the immense honor and opportunity to represent approximately 40,000 people in Central Minnesota as well as the whole state. I have always loved Monday’s when I had to pack up and head to our state Capitol and work in a beautiful building with some of the best and most inspiring individuals I have ever met. Mondays were the start to great possibilities and working towards making our state better. Mondays were full of potential, opportunity and genuine excitement. I have been so lucky to be able to serve the last seven years where Mondays were great…
At the start of this year’s legislative session I dropped off my 16 mos. old son Gavin at daycare and brought my 4 1/2 year old son Garrett to school. When I said goodbye to Garrett and told him that I will miss him when I’m gone for the week something different happened to me than in the years past. Like normal, I choked up (I’m a sap like that), but this time Garrett also shed a tear. Unfortunately lately my Mondays are a repeat of this event and no longer do they consist of the excitement I once experienced. I truly do love my job and the responsibility that has been granted to me by the citizens of Central Minnesota. However I love my family more and feel that today is the right time to step aside and declare my intention that I will not seek re-election in 2012.
Twelve years ago, I took a journey that I never dreamed of taking. I first ran for Mayor of St. Joseph at the young age of 21 and to many people’s surprise, including my own, I won. I was elected under a (deserved) cloud of concern for some, and guarded optimism for others. I quickly learned that my unexpected path into electoral politics was one that I enjoyed, and hopefully was good at.
Along my side from day one was my then girlfriend, Holly. Holly and I made St. Joseph our home. Holly and I became engaged in the St. Joe 4th. of July parade, I was re-elected Mayor, I completed my Masters Degree, and in 2004 with Holly’s support I ran for state Representative and together we were successful. We married in 2005 at St. John’s on a beautiful fall day, and have since had two wonderful children.
Holly has supported me through six elections, close to 100 parades, hundreds of days of being away from home, and hundreds of days and weekends spent campaigning. My children have yet to watch a parade from the curbside where they can run after candy being thrown their way. It is time to take a break from electoral politics and focus on catching candy…my family, summer weekends, volunteering in the community, going to local school events, and other things that I desperately want to do that I simply do not have the time to do now.
During my time in elected politics, my hardest day has always been the day following the election. How in the world can I adequately express my thanks and appreciation to those who gave me the phenomenal responsibility to represent our area? How could I express in words the appreciation towards my family, supporters and volunteers who themselves so unselfishly gave of their own time, family, and money in order to support me? Today, I find the inadequacy of my words to express my sincere thanks is even more amplified. I can’t thank you enough for the absolute honor that has been given to me. Being at the winning end of 6 elections was not made possible by me, but made possible by all those around me and who believed in me. It is this realization that I feel that I am disappointing many of you by not running for re-election, and if that is the case, I truly am sorry.
With all my ramblings aside, I can tell you one thing for certain…I am not done fighting!!! I just need to find a different way to fight the fight. I will still be working to be a voice for the poor, marginalized, disenfranchised, intimidated, elderly, disabled, young, and all those who need a voice. Thank you for allowing me the honor to represent you, for the trust you have given me, and for the support you have shown me and my family. It will never be forgotten and will be cherished for my entire life.
Most sincerely and humbly,