My Point of View: Local youth rising up to serve the nation in nat’l convention

Published 8:45 pm Tuesday, May 7, 2024

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My Point of View by Robert Hoffman

Stories are a lot more fun than statistics, let me tell you a great one. A young friend of mine, let’s call him Jack, is living the life, and not to give away the end of the story, but Jack is the future of our nation. Jack just turned 18 and is graduating soon from home schooling. He has been working since he was 14 and is no stranger to a long day’s work.

Robert Hoffman

Let me tell you exactly how hard of a worker this young gentleman really is. His family does lawn care and snow removal for dozens and dozens of properties. They also take care of many apartment buildings and commercial properties. On top of that they own a carpet steam cleaning company and a couple of car washes. Jack’s family is also partners in a floor cleaning compound company that makes the cleaning compound, assembles the boxes for distribution and prepares it all for sale (and if we play our cards right, this company may soon relocate its operations from south of the metro to Albert Lea — let’s cheer them on.) One of Jack’s uncles is also in real estate sales and investments, and Jack wants to do the same.

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Jack is also interested in politics, and at 18 it is a perfect time to be. So, we need a wise old man in Jack’s story now. Let’s call him “Uncle-Bob.” It has a nice ring to it. (…OK, “Uncle-Bob” is me. I’m not actually his uncle. Just a catchy title.)

Back to our story. Jack asked to shadow Uncle Bob’s company for a careers class assignment. Jack happens to be friends with another younger gentleman who also works for the same company, we’ll call him Aaron. Aaron is 21 and also “kind of into politics.” (Aaron is big into politics!) Now the pressure is on to not let down Jack or disappoint Aaron. How do we tie together real estate and politics for a careers class assignment?

During most career shadowing days students get to hear from a professional about their job, conduct an interview and maybe have a cool tour of an office, factory, farm etc. Jack, his buddy Aaron, Jack’s actual uncle Shannon and “Uncle Bob” (again, not really his uncle) went to St Paul for a state housing summit. Jack sat in on a morning’s worth of presentations by amazing state and national leaders in housing and then walked over to the State Capitol building to visit his state representative and state senator.

Jack’s state Rep. Patty Mueller has met Jack many times before and was excited to hear Jack was going to be voting for his first time, for her! Jack’s state Sen. Gene Dornink is also a familiar face and great to hear from because of Gene’s background in real estate investments and running a hard-working family business also. But it was state Rep. Peggy Bennett who changed the weather that day!

We wanted to tour the Capitol Building more and then ran into Peggy Bennett right away. She invited us to watch a press release the news was covering and then had us in as guests at her caucus meeting. Peggy invited us to watch the House’s session from the upper level of the House Chambers. Sitting in the House Chambers, after just sitting in on a caucus meeting, I asked Jack if he had enough to write about for his careers class and he said, “Nobody is going to believe this!”

I think he was inspired. Jack decided to run to attend the national convention in Wisconsin this July. To do so he had to apply, interview and be elected to go by his Congressional District. In every story there is the part where the main character must be knocked down, and Jack was. After the interview process, a committee deemed him unqualified based on his age and experience. This story’s gut punch.

Last weekend Jack attended the Congressional District Convention. He watched the convention get kicked off by “Uncle-Bob” giving the nominating speech for our U.S. Congressman and a standing ovation for the endorsement of Brad Finstad followed. Jack was going to have to address the same large crowd and from stage he asked them to, “not see him as unqualified, but under-qualified, and electing him is part of the process of him changing that.” With another standing ovation and the delegation voting yes, Jack will be an 18-year-old ready to vote for his first time ever and serving southern Minnesota at the national convention. We can all be very proud.

Jackson Cox from Hayward will graduate high school this month. He isn’t considering his options; he’s going to help our nation out. We could use a lot more like him, and thank God there are many more.

Robert Hoffman is chairman of the Freeborn County GOP Party.