The presidential election this year may feel like one of the most important in recent history. Regardless of your favorite candidate, the divisiveness we are currently experiencing makes it feel like this election is all or nothing. But, the presidential election cycle is about a lot more than electing our next in chief.
In our communities across Central Minnesota citizens will be voting (or may have already voted!) for a lot of elected positions this November. While the presidential election gets all the media attention, local and state elections have a lot more influence in our everyday lives.
As our region becomes more diverse, we must ask ourselves:
Are our representatives truly addressing the needs of our whole community?
To be represented means many things, but in its essence, it means that citizens feel their voices are being heard. At the local level this is always important; part of our sense of community comes from how we connect to our teachers, to law enforcement, and to various city and county employees. This sense of community is especially important when a community experiences significant changes, and our communities have changed more than most in the past two decades.
To be represented it is not necessary to have people who “look like me” in an elected position, but it sure helps! As communities change, the voices of those in power must change to better address our needs. We should strive to have an elected body that truly embodies and embraces the diversity of our communities. We should support the candidacy and election of people from diverse backgrounds, to empower those who do not currently see themselves in government, be it because of their race, ethnicity, religion, gender identity, socioeconomic status, or any other lived experience that can bring a new perspective to how our communities should be addressed moving forward.
This year we submitted candidate surveys to better understand how our candidates hope to represent us. Because we are interested in building communities that emphasizes our shared sense of safety in hopes to decrease fear and suspicion of those who are different from us, we focused our questions on these issues. We will share the responses from all candidates who were gracious enough to share their vision for our communities. We hope the information helps you find candidates who will represent you in elected office.