Final Thoughts Before Primary Results
If you told me a year ago my name would be on a ballot for an elected office, I would have laughed at you. Me? Running for Anoka County Commissioner? That seems—unbelievable. It’s not that people haven’t asked me. They have. I’ve been working in the community for over a decade building a diverse network that I employ to improve my own backyard. It has become clear that my connections could be put to higher use if I wanted.
But, I’ve shied away from politics for a variety of reasons: it’s a highly competitive profession that incurs highly questionable—yet “accepted”—tactics; it is a space where rigidity of positions and thought seem to determine if you are good at it or not; and once you enter into politics, you agree to give parts of yourself up to public scrutiny until you decide to exit.
I’m not opposed to competition. In fact, I thrive on it. My background in music performance taught me the true meaning of healthy competition; to always strive to do better today, so you may prevail in competition tomorrow.
I am an idealist and as such, I live in the opposite space of rigidity. I have a life that has been full of tremendous opportunity because I have always and only believed in possibility. It is this belief in all-things-possible that has kept me out of the snares of bleak complacency and allowed me to think and act creatively with great joy and openness.
Accepting public scrutiny is something I’m familiar with, but is never any fun. For many community issues, I have been the spokesperson*. As an established blogger and community leader, I have the skillset to write and speak to the public about hard, complicated issues. I do so with compassion and fairness while firmly holding my position.
But it has been hard for me in politics. I’ve sometimes wondered if I have what it takes to get to the finish line: that the chatter of others might mean something.
And I’ve surprised myself. Because what being in politics has taught me is that like any profession, your success or failure is based on the strength of your relationships and how you have built them. I’ve approached my candidacy like I have in any other project; in partnership with a diverse group of my community. I would not be here without a capable team.
For every small and large set back, my pursuit to Anoka County Commissioner has only clearly defined who I am and how I want to be in the world. I have never (really) been put through the fire to discover my own mettle. And for this “fire”, I am grateful. For knowing I remain faithful to my core values despite the heat, I consider myself successful in politics, whatever the polls may show.
As I wait with you for Primary results, I think about how far I’ve come—and how far I have yet to go—there is one word that fits this incredible, crazy, and privileged journey.
*I was part of two controversial topics, the Fridley Superfund sites and the new Fridley City Hall. Both can be found in the Star Tribune.