Aug 19, 2019

Finding my voice in politics.

 It’s not that I haven’t had anything to say.  Quite the opposite.  In the past six months or so of being in office, I have been inspired, motivated, humbled and disheartened.

As I’ve gotten older and life has presented its opportunities and setbacks, I’ve worked hard at being thoughtful.  My best thoughts then, become something purposeful through action and voice.   This is the internal system I’ve developed.  Largely this has meant I’ve become good at advocating for those who are not in the room, about issues I know well and care about.

Writing has long been a way for me bring voice to those issues.  More than that, it is a deeply personal way for me to reflect, process and experience the world around me.  Technically, I am a professional writer having been published in magazines and receiving recognition in local contests. Before taking office, writing was a field I was just beginning to develop a sense of accomplishment and competency in.

Then I took office and went silent.  I haven’t produced a meaningful article in months.  In the past, before I took office, this was mostly because of “writers block”. 

Now, it’s because I find myself in a space that is incredibly new and vast and complex. I did not know where to begin.  I became mute.  This is a good thing.  Now, I am someone who is representing a lot of people who aren’t in the room—approximately 65,000—about issues I don’t know well—yet.   Before, I had the luxury to focus and work on issues I personally cared about.  Today, I don’t have that luxury.

As an Anoka County Commissioner, I need to focus and work hard on all the issues I’m responsible for because my decisions affect other people’s lives.  If I’m going to speak about politics in a public realm, I better know what I want to say. 

If I’m being honest, I’ve also held back because of the subject matter.  Before I took office, I wrote about community, the arts, travel; things that were safe and felt good.  I wouldn’t define politics as a safe or feel good topic.   And I didn’t get into politics to be safe or feel good.  I’m leaning into being uncomfortable every day because it’s the only door that leads to success.  What I am having a hard time with, is translating politics into a realm I’ve long considered sacred—writing.

But I’ve decided this is just how it’s got to be.  I must write about politics because it’s who I am.  I must write about politics because it isn’t safe or feels good.  Politics needs to be humanized and shared, not kept on a dais.

So, these many months, I’ve been committed to learning about county government, my responsibilities and most importantly how I want to define what it means to be a County Commissioner.  Although it is daunting to write about such a weighty profession as a fledgling, I am ready to start talking about it.  

I invite you to come along on my journey.