My Point of View: Get ready to get out and vote

Published 8:45 pm Tuesday, April 26, 2022

My Point of View by Robert Hoffman

All too often our talents go untapped. Mark Twain once described a man who died and met Saint Peter at the Pearly Gates. Knowing that Saint Peter was very wise, the man asked a question he had wondered about throughout his life.

Robert Hoffman

He said, “Saint Peter, I have been interested in military history for many years. Who was the greatest general of all time?”

Saint Peter quickly responded, “Oh that’s a simple question. It’s that man right over there.”

“You must be mistaken,” responded the man, now very perplexed. “I knew that man on earth and he was just a common laborer.”

“That’s right my friend,” assured Saint Peter. “He would have been the greatest general of all time, if he had been a general.”

Maybe we don’t need to shoot for being the greatest of all time like the man asked about in the Mark Twain story, but we can set out to be our best. Many elections are being held this year — let’s find those who have set out to be their best and make sure we support them. Let’s also try to find those who “would have been the greatest general of all time, if they had been a general.”

Mayor Vern Rasmussen announced he is not running for reelection after serving many years as the mayor of Albert Lea and as a city councilman. Sheriff Kurt Freitag also just announced that he is not running for reelection after years as our sheriff and 29 years of service. There may not be a more important combination of local elected positions than these two, and later this year we will have a new mayor and a new sheriff.

Mayor Rasmussen and Sheriff Freitag left nothing on the table and did strive to be their best and are two of our “greatest generals of all time,” and with pride they, and our community, will not look back and say, “if they had been a general.”  

A lot of new stories are soon to be told. All five Freeborn County commissioner seats are up for election this year because of redistricting despite three brand new commissioners just being elected in 2020 (each are running for re-election in 2022.) Along with the now open mayor’s position there are four Albert Lea City Council seats up for election as well.

The county and the city are not the only ones having all the fun. Long time School Superintendent Dr Mike Funk recently resigned after 13 years with Albert Lea School District 241. Dr Funk’s superintendent position is not an elected position but as he leaves there are four of the seven school board positions up for reelection this year.

Locally it is a very exciting time for the school district, City Council, Sheriff’s Department and county commissioner elections. That should be enough excitement for now; but wait, there’s more!

Minnesota is full speed into statewide races and in August there will be primary elections for the governor, attorney general, secretary of state and state auditor. Until August’s primary elections, we will hear a lot from these candidates, and it is very important to listen. Minnesota has never been more poorly served than it is right now by statewide elected officials, and those currently in office should each be replaced in November’s elections. Our state needs this change, or we will look more and more like the metro’s mess. There is only a small break in the craziness because of reelections. Minnesota will be back behind masks, students will be kept from classes and they will again call to defund the police if reelected. Reelections do not erase their actions.

We are very blessed to have amazing elected officials in southern Minnesota who reflect our calm, consistent, common sense, conservative values. Sen. Gene Dornink, Rep. Peggy Bennett and Rep. Patty Mueller have chosen to serve again, are seeking reelection and have been endorsed by their delegates. These humble servant leaders (a former union carpenter and former teachers) we have trusted to elect in our past elections, serve us respectfully and are exactly who we need to represent southern Minnesota.

A very important special election is underway right now, and we need to get out and vote for Congressman Jim Hagedorn’s successor. Jim loved our community. Locally we can do a lot to honor his legacy. Early voting has already started and the special election primary is less than a month away on Tuesday, May 24. We can get out and vote right now — today!

Author Margaret Mead gave us: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

Robert Hoffman is chairman of the Freeborn County Republican Party.