Halvorsen’s modest past keeps him grounded

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 8, 2002

Editor’s note:

This is the second in a five-part series on candidates for state House of Representatives and State Senate. Tomorrow: Senate candidate Terry Kelley.

&uot;Humble&uot; might be one of the last adjectives coming across when you think of lawyers or politicians. But, you will encounter an exception when you see Allan Halvorsen, attorney and political candidate.

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DFL House District 27 candidate Halvorsen describes himself as a reserved person, which can be a great asset he can employ in the jungle of politics. And he is fully aware of it.

&uot;You are who you are. You have to be true to your personality. And there are many ways to be effective with it,&uot; Halvorsen said. &uot;Not everybody has to be real boisterous. There are many different ways that you can be effective. But, if you are trying to be somebody you aren’t, for the most part, that’s not going to work.&uot;

Experiences observing people’s hardships as a private-practice attorney and public defender are among the the reasons Halvorsen said he’s running for public office for the first time.

&uot;I’m a lawyer now. But I still classify myself as a working-class person,&uot; Halvorsen said.

Born onto a dairy farm family in the Emmons area, Halvorsen acquired a diligent personality by watching his hardworking parents and helping them.

At the University of Minnesota, where he studied animal science, he worked jobs as janitor at the Student Center, milking cows, driving a gravel truck and canning vegetables on a factory line to finance his education.

Before coming back to law school, Halvorsen worked for 10 years on his farm, not only maintainig his own dairy operation but also assisting other farmers to organize.

&uot;My experience has exposed me to a lot of people who had worked very hard, but because of circumstances completely beyond their control became financially devastated,&uot; Halvorsen said. &uot;We need to make sure that those people get incentives and chances for change.&uot;

Halvorsen thinks he is a fortunate individual living in this difficult economy. &uot;I guess that’s a part of our system, but sometimes you have to help those people pick up the pieces so that they can move on,&uot; he said.

This year coincides with a centennial of the year his great-grand father, Ole I. Opdahl, began his term as a state representative for Freeborn County.

Halvorsen stressed that it is important for a legislator to listen to the people, find out as many facts as they can, and be flexible.

&uot;Not necessarily on your basic ideas and goals, but a lot of times if you form an opinion too soon and take such a hard stand, then I need to reevaluate my position,&uot; he said. &uot;If you don’t do that, you can’t be an effective legislator and advocate for what the community wants.&uot;