My Point of View: Calling for volunteers in upcoming races

Published 10:16 am Tuesday, August 9, 2016

My Point of View by Brian Hensley

Brian Hensley is chairman of the Freeborn County Republican Party and local financial adviser with Intego Financial Group. He serves on the city of Albert Lea Parks and Recreation Board. 

Brian Hensley

Brian Hensley

This political year has been unlike any I have seen. At the top of the ticket it seems to be a hold your nose, pick your candidate and hope Congress can balance the individual.

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If this is your opinion, it’s important to ask yourself a few questions. Did you vote in the caucus? Did you identify a candidate who you liked in late 2015, and then work to help that person win Minnesota? Did you visit a nearby state and help their campaign in Iowa or Wisconsin? Did you talk with your neighbors and family about why supporting them was important? Did you find a local political party and attend their county convention, congressional conventions and state conventions?

Locally, less than 1,400 people voted in the Freeborn County Republican caucus. That number was a huge increase over the past, but that’s still less than 30 percent. Those 1,400 selected delegates to the county convention. Over 240 voters raised their hands and asked to participate in the county convention. Of those 240, only 90 attended the convention to work on the platform and select delegates to go to the Congressional and state convention.

It is my opinion that democracy and many of the freedoms guaranteed in the Bill of Rights are at stake.  Many will say those unalienable rights are at stake in the November election. I think that is slightly alarmist, but I do believe the next 8 to 12 years will dictate much of this country’s next 100 years.

So how do we reverse this trend? The first thing that must occur is as individuals we have to become involved. Let me start with myself. As the county party chairman, I didn’t get involved in the Republican presidential primary. I stayed neutral and didn’t get involved. I supported all of the candidates, and didn’t share my preference with hardly anyone. That won’t happen again. By not becoming involved, a candidate was selected that I am lukewarm about. Here’s the funny thing, good friends of mine that are involved in the Democratic side are saying the exact same thing. Hopefully we all have learned a lesson.

If you aren’t comfortable joining in supporting Republican activities, but perhaps strongly supporting one of the candidates for office, contact myself, or their campaign directly. There is always much work to do for the individual candidates and the campaigns are always looking for help with placing yard signs, completing mailings, setting up for special events, hosting events and making phone calls. You will never be asked to do something you aren’t willing to do. It’s often hard, but you will meet some amazing people and help steer the course of elections toward outcomes that you like.

Secondly, we have to realize that politics is important and will affect your family’s life. I have always been interested in politics and studied more about politics in college. I felt there was an obvious connection between history, politics, economics and finance. All four were tied together. If I wanted to become the best person I could become, I had to understand all four. Politics was a way of shaping the rules that would affect my family, my communities and my neighborhoods. Politics was a way to help create the future I wanted for my family and friends.

Many don’t see that or simply don’t believe. I challenge you to get involved now and to stay involved, because politics is affecting your life.

On Aug. 15, the county Republican Party will hold its annual summer picnic. Check-in will start at 5:30 p.m. with dinner being served at 6 p.m. State Rep. Peggy Bennett will give an update on her campaign for re-election. Congressional candidate Jim Hagedorn and state Senate candidate Gene Dornink will share about their backgrounds and their beliefs. We are also lucky to have Rep. Drazkowski join us as we hear more about how the state of Minnesota is taxing and spending your money. The event will conclude before 9 p.m. This is a great opportunity to hear directly from the candidates, meet them and ask them any questions you might have!

On the Republican Party side, we hold monthly meetings where we discuss volunteer opportunities and discuss ways to support candidates. Starting in September we will meet twice a month heading into the election. This is another great way to become involved.

Finally, let me say thank you from the candidates running for office and the volunteers who help them.  This past week the Freeborn County Fair was held. We had over 60 volunteers assist at the fair, handing out stickers, talking with their friends and families and answering questions about out candidates. I think everyone who worked made a few new friends and enjoyed a few laughs. People for and against our candidates were able to stop in the booth and say hello. That’s what makes Freeborn County the best!

If you are interested in becoming involved with the Republican Party, a individual campaign, running for office yourself in the future or attending the summer picnic, please contact me at