This will be my last blog post as a candidate for office. I am hopeful the next time I write it will be as the Representative from District 34B representing the people of Osseo and Maple Grove.
Lest there be any doubt, voting is a "right!" My opponent has been quoted as saying that voting is a “privilege.” He is incorrect. The privilege is living in a country that affirms the basic "right" to vote for all eligible citizens.
Perhaps the best way to tell you what voting means to me is to recount conversations and experiences about voting I have had with women who have been influential in my life.
The first woman to whom I refer is my mother. Linda and I were recently chatting about how proud my dad and she would have been over my running for public office. My mother was the strongest woman I have ever known, highly educated, and a past president of the Duluth League of Women Voters and the American Association of University Women. She was also a classmate of Hubert Humphrey at the University of Minnesota just prior to WWII. She instilled in my brothers and sister and me the importance of being politically aware and involved. There were few things more sacred to her than the right to influence the future by voting.
The second woman is my daughter-in-law Beth's grandmother Millie. Unfortunately, Millie had recently been in failing health and passed away just a few days ago. In spite of her failing health, and even after having been given the sacrament of last rights, Millie requested an absentee ballot so she could vote! Millie understood that a better future begins with the right to vote. She was also one of my greatest fans, never failing to ask about the progress of my campaign.
The last woman is my Aunt Blanche (my dad's sister). I visited her a few days ago in her care facility in Brooklyn Center. While with her she asked me to check her mail to see if her absentee ballot had arrived. I found it and after getting help with the vouching portion from one of the administrators of her facility we proceeded to go over each section of her ballot so she could exercise her "right" to vote (she is legally blind). We completed her ballot, sealed everything per instructions, and I delivered it to Brooklyn Center city hall as she requested. The last thing she said before I left her was that her dad, my grandpa Hoden, would be proud that she voted. She reminded me that grandpa Hoden always made sure his children exercised their "right" to vote. In hearing this, I am reminded that grandpa came to America with an 8th grade education from Sweden. He was one of the wisest men I have ever met.
In closing, please know how much I appreciate the support, encouragement, words of wisdom and good wishes you have blessed me with these past few months. I fully intend to validate the trust and confidence you have placed in me. Mere words cannot explain how grateful I am that you are willing to exercise your precious right to vote in my favor.