Restoring our trust in politics

This past year and a half has illuminated the fact that it is our responsibility to use local politics as a lever for change. To see the regressive agenda that’s coming down the pipeline from the federal level to our own state government has been disheartening and upending for many of our communities.

Between my professional work in the nonprofit sector, involvement with the East Harriet Neighborhood Association and my recent run for a city office, I spend countless hours hearing directly from my neighbors about their concerns. I hear what they care about, and I know people are ready to believe in someone again.

Meggie Wittorf, my friend and neighbor, is bringing that hope, trust and energy back into politics. I first got to know Meggie when she and I sat down for coffee. We met for an hour, but I only needed five minutes to know that I could trust Meggie as my next state representative.

She has a unique ability to hear all people. Every person is important to Meggie, and no issue is too trite. She does not just talk about being community-powered, she lives those values daily. Meggie does the little things, like remembering every person’s name, and the big things, like always bringing new people to the decision-making table, literally. At our weekly community meetings we’ve had to add overflow seating from Meggie’s kitchen table to fit everyone Meggie welcomes into the conversation.

Meggie understands all of our communities not just because she comes from an education and farming family but because she’s doing the grassroots advocacy work on a daily basis. As a board member of Outfront Minnesota, one of the most progressive organizations in the state, Meggie does the on-the-ground work that powers LGBTQ equity legislation.

Meggie is an example of putting ideas into action. Some people talk about disparity; Meggie led the Women’s Mentorship Program to address the opportunity pipeline and gender balance in higher education. Some people talk about equity; Meggie’s work with Outfront Minnesota protected marriage equality and created safe and inclusive schools for our youth. Some people talk about a culture shift; Meggie roots her campaign in transparency and accountability.

In 2018, we urgently need to make politics reflective of who we want to be, and we do that by electing candidates with unique backgrounds and perspectives that represent our communities. This election is about pushing ourselves into a world of politics that is accessible, where new candidates, from farming and working class families, can get elected.

As a state representative, policy is important, but what matters most is a combination of vision and leadership style. Meggie best represents the visions of our neighbors and has long track record of leading by building relationships and bringing new voices to the table.

I am excited to caucus for Meggie Wittorf on Feb. 6 because she has a track record of showing up, leading and getting things done. At the doors, on the phones and in neighborhood meetings, nobody has to guess what kind of leader Meggie will be because she shows us in action. Meggie invests time in people and in understanding their concerns, motivations and needs.

We need her strategic thinking and her approach to tackle our biggest issues like affordable housing, healthcare and education. The elections in 2018 will be telling about the future of our politics, statewide and locally. The people of 61B, because of our large voter-turnout, have the opportunity to chart our path. Let’s endorse Meggie Wittorf, an experienced advocate and business leader, to restore trust in our politics and bring new perspectives to the Capitol.

Adam Faitek

East Harriet