DFLers rally in Albert Lea

Published 9:18 am Monday, October 20, 2008

Though former Vice President Walter Mondale was unable to attend the local DFL meeting Saturday because of the death of a close friend, Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie in his place encouraged area residents to show their love for their country by voting in the upcoming general election.

“If you love this country, if you love your community … then you take responsibility for it,” said Ritchie, a DFLer who was elected two years ago to a four-year term. “One of the ways you take responsibility for it is you vote.”

In a political climate where anything’s possible, Ritchie said, he also came out to endorse his friend and U.S. Rep. Tim Walz, DFL-Mankato, in the 1st District race against Brian Davis, R-Rochester. Ritchie talked of Walz’s patriotism and work to compromise on many issues.

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He also talked of two cities in Minnesota that have voter registrations above 90 percent.

He said when he asked the people in both of those places why this was the case, they told him, “We love this land; we love this country; we are very patriotic, and we vote.”

It has been his goal since he ran for office, he said, to make sure everyone who wants to have a voice in the election process can be heard and to reassure people that all votes in the upcoming election will be tabulated accurately. The results of the election process can be trusted, he said.

Walz also spoke of the role of voting.

He said the most important thing the people in a democracy can do is vote. Minnesota has always had a leading number of voters, and he said, “When people cast their vote, they must be ensured it’s going to be counted.”

He showed his support for Democratic presidential nominee, Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, and said the country also needs to keep a Democratic majority in the House and a working majority in the Senate.

The congressman said he knows people didn’t come Saturday to see him; they came for their country. People want to see this country respected again, he said.

“This is the most important election of our lives,” he said. “You’re not voting for the next four years, you’re voting for the next four generations.”

He said he sees a golden opportunity to turn back many of the mistakes that have been made in the last few years. However, the real work will start after the election — in getting this country’s soldiers home, figuring out a health insurance plan and getting people to start investing again.

“If we do not elect Barack Obama president, nothing’s going to change,” Walz said.

District 27A Rep. Robin Brown, DFL-Moscow Township, also spoke briefly and extended apologies from Mondale for not being able to come to the event.

She, too, showed her support for Walz.

“He’s done such a wonderful job for our district in representing our needs at the Capitol,” Brown said.