Campaigning is the hardest interview process out there. What happens after is even harder.
In all professions, the interview process can be an anxiety ridden, grueling process. We put our best face forward and hope to persuade the person on the other side of the desk why we are the best person for the job over anyone else.
In politics, the interview process involves not just a few people, but whole communities.
Win or lose, candidates come out on the other side changed. It should be this way because it is a challenge like no other, encompassing all aspects of your life. As the only female candidate in my race, I had extra layers of scrutiny. Commentary about; my hemline, my motherhood, and my level of education being correlated to a lack of intelligence by some people. Additionally, people would tell me, “You have to have thick skin to run for office.” This is true, but I found knowing who you are is a far better anchor.
During my campaign I talked about being a community service leader for the last decade, the issues that are important to me (promoting jobs in the trades, mental health and addiction issues and community development) and my attraction to county government because it’s about the people in your own backyard. All these things are true. But why I ran is this: I am a connector and collaborator who believes civility should be part of politics and that helping people is what matters most.
All of this sounds good, I know. But what does it mean? What does it mean to be a good county commissioner?
This is the question that weighed the most on me the morning of Tues. January 8th, 2019 when I was sworn into office in a room full of family and friends. More than gender or ethnicity or age, what I cared most about was what it meant to be a good public servant and how I would uphold my duty.
In the meetings since my swearing-in, this question has only become heavier as I’ve only just begun to learn the intricacies of what exactly county government does and how it affects our lives. I have sat in meetings with my colleagues and county department heads with a growing appreciation of the definition of good governance. I thought I knew what it meant to be humble, and realize now it was false modesty I felt, not humility.
Humility is sitting alongside staff who have worked around the clock for days to protect as many people’s benefits as humanly possibly from the partial government shut down. Humility is having the opportunity to represent the most vibrant and diverse district in Anoka County, understanding that not everyone wants me to have this job. Humility is knowing I won’t always give everyone what they want and will still be responsible for my failure to meet their desires.
Humility is not having all the answers and forging a path forward anyway.
As I enter into this entirely new space for the first time, the campaign trail still smoldering behind me, I often think about the people I shook hands with asking for their vote, and the faith they have instilled in me for the next four years after one conversation. I wonder what I can tell them when I’m up at night, worried and excited about the opportunity they have given me.
And I think it’s this: I worked hard to get the job and will work even harder to do the job. I look forward to what comes next.
To see my swearing-in, HERE is the link.