Bennett shows she has voter crossover appeal

Published 10:26 am Tuesday, November 18, 2014

My Point of View, by Brian Hensley

As a conservative, I took some lessons from the election held Nov. 4 in Freeborn County. There were some positive messages starting with the Minnesota House District 27A race. How was Peggy Bennett able to defeat an incumbent state representative?

Brian Hensley

Brian Hensley

The first place when examining any campaign is with the candidate. Peggy Bennett’s reputation as a teacher was well-respected and people were able to trust her. That is where it always starts for a citizen who decides to enter a political race. She is a very likeable person who worked hard.

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Second, she was able to admit that, like most private citizens, she doesn’t possess all the answers. In several of the candidate forums, Bennett said, “I don’t know the answer to that, I will have to do more research, which I will do. I think the answer will come down to a want versus a need.” That resonated with citizens. We appreciated someone who was honest with us.

Once you look beyond the candidate, it’s important to look at the issues on which Bennett campaigned. Bennett repeated the message that rural Minnesota has specific wants. Our elders have specific wants. Our schools, our children and our businesses have wants. Wants are everywhere — BUT it’s not the government’s role to solve all of our wants.

State government’s role is to provide a level playground where private citizens, businesses, churches and nonprofit groups can meet the wants and needs of its populations. It’s a basic tenant of a conservatism that individuals solve their problems. It was not our Founding Fathers’ intent, nor is not the government’s role, to solve every concern a citizen might have.

Bennett repeatedly questioned whether Minnesota over the past several years was prioritizing spending correctly. She believed that the state was putting wants ahead of the needs of Minnesotans and especially those from southern Minnesota.

Two examples that garnered much attention around the state included the Senate Office Building, which is being built, and the money being spent on metro rail in comparison to general road and bridge construction and maintenance. Were these needs or wants? Could money been better spent addressing issues with long-term care, removing burdensome regulations or reducing the rate that citizens and businesses are taxed?

Bennett was a likeable candidate who brought conservative principles front and center to the electorate. She shared her ideas and goals and ran a clean race that questioned her opponent’s stance on issues and questioned her opponent’s voting record. That is fair. Citizens voting appreciated her honesty and sincerity.

So what does the future hold for conservatives and Republicans in southern Minnesota?

First, Bennett’s results were not the normal results in Freeborn County. Other statewide races from U.S. senator, governor, state auditor, secretary of state and attorney general were won by the liberal Democrats. For different reasons, voters supported DFL candidates up and down the ticket, but when they got to the District 27A race, they switched to support Peggy.

That occurred because, as former Democratic Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill, stated, all politics is local. Bennett’s ideas and personality resonated with local voters. She spoke about issues that mattered to residents in this district. Positive, honest, genuine and conservative.

If you supported Peggy Bennett, thank you. The local Freeborn County Republican Party wants to invite you to engage with us; from our meetings, to our candidates and to our events.

The next two years are going to be an exciting time to get involved locally. Local citizens will start to consider running for offices including U.S. House of Representatives and the Minnesota Senate. Presidential candidates will start to emerge and share their conservative beliefs. There is a groundswell of activism emerging for local, likeable and conservative candidates. The future for conservative, humble, honest candidates in Freeborn County is very bright.

If you got involved in Peggy Bennett’s campaign, voted for Peggy, wrote letters for, or donated to Peggy, thank you. We look forward to welcoming you and your opinions to help shape the future of the Freeborn County Republican Party!


Albert Lea resident Brian Hensley is a local volunteer on the Freeborn County Republican Party Board.