2018 saw a lot of highs for Minnesota as a whole, but in Greater Minnesota the story is still not a rosy one. The time is now to begin to think about our slate of candidates for 2020, and this is me officially throwing my hat into the ring for consideration. I’m a substitute teacher, father of two under five, and recession refugee from Scott Walker’s Wisconsin who knows what it means to have to struggle to make ends meet. In my 33 years I’ve been a teacher, city clerk, 3rd shift bakery packer, office manager, tourism director, and pumped the toilets on boats. I went to high school in Mabel, MN, and after my college years in Chicagoland, when it came time to find a place to raise my new family, I knew it had to be in Bluff Country. In my time working with kids, workers, and every day folks, I’ve seen first hand who gets the worst part of this broken, psycho-capitalist system that puts profits over people, and its time the folks around here had a regular guy like them willing to fight back, willing to say what needs to be said, and willing to do whatever it takes to bring back prosperity to the region.
The question remains: where do I run, and if there is a better candidate, where do I apply my talents as a writer, speaker, singer, and Bluff Country ambassador?
A race against Greg will be entertaining, I guarantee, but it’ll also be a bareknuckle back alley brawl from the word go. Someone needs to send a message that there’s a new breed of progressive running that won’t play by the old rules where we adopt a conservative frame on everything. I challenge power wherever I go and I’ve been fighting bullies since I got in a fistfight with Nathan Shaw in the second grade because he bragged too much on the football field. The campaign will be honest, simple, and brutal: This man has been in office since I was six years old, nothing has gotten better for the people of his district, and I am ready to lay that blame squarely at his feet.
A race against Jeremy will require a little more finesse. As much as it pains me to say it, I think the key to defeating Jeremy in this district is to compare him to Hillary: wishy-washy, milquetoast and ultimately unconcerned with issues affecting the real folks in the district. We need to critique his voting record to the punctuation marks. We need to call him Jeremy Clinton. We need to hand out free “Jeremy Miller Nothingburgers” at county fairs that are just empty paper plates with his failures on them. Most importantly, we need to run someone who doesn’t necessarily care if they win or lose, but can see the big picture. This candidate needs to be a bowling ball thrown at Jeremy’s ankles as he starts running for governor, and I am more than willing to be that hired gun.
Hagedorn is still in the planning stages, but here’s something to chew on: Walz won his district by fewer and fewer votes every cycle, and it finally broke with Feehan. Running the same old same old won’t work anymore, but there is an opening for Minnesota to have its own “AOC” to run on popular, lunch-pail, classical Farmer-Labor issues and score an upset over the big money and big corruption. We have been investing in the top 1% for as long as I have been alive (33 years) with tax cuts and deregulation on the idea that it would pay dividends. Instead, they took the money and ran. Any investor would be crazy not to ask for their money back, and that’s the sort of campaign I want to run. It’s time to Soak The Rich and Get Your Money Back to fund your town, your schools, your roads & bridges, your life. Wendell Anderson ran on such a platform and won every county in the state, and the DFL could do so again if it embraced its progressive roots. Whether it’s a slugfest with Greg, a throwdown with Jeremy, or a revolution against Hagedorn, I’m willing to be on the front lines and do whatever it takes to bring this state, and this country, back from the brink.
Eric M. Leitzen