To the Editor:
Growing up in Coon Rapids, my family was a pretty typical suburban family. My parents both worked, I went to good public schools and life felt pretty safe to me in our suburban bubble. My parents were Republicans; they were raised Republican, as were many of my extended relatives. The nightly news was always on and devotion was subtly paid each night to Presidents Richard Nixon (even with all the Watergate fallout) and Gerald Ford.
At 18, I fell in love with Jimmy Carter (or at least his humble message and approach to life/politics) and as a young woman in the outlying suburbs that was a pretty big deal in my family. He spoke to something inside of me. I was just learning the differences between Republicans and Democrats and my parents loved that I was engaged and I exercised my right to vote.
I also voted for Ronald Reagan (the second time), which may surprise many of you, but once again, his message worked for me at that time. Since then, I've cherished the idea I could vote for the candidate who truly worked for me, not because it was a family tradition and was dictated to me at family gatherings or because I was registered one way or another.
So many people in our area have voted Republican for so long that it's hard for them to consider alternatives. This year in particular I ask you, before making your final decision, to look at and listen to our Democratic candidates: Barack Obama for President; Al Franken for U.S. Senate; Tim Walz for Congress; and Dale Hansen for State House of Representatives. As someone who has voted for candidates outside of my chosen party when I've felt their ideas were fresher and wiser, I can assure you that the sky will not open up and swallow you if choose another path this year.
My point is simply that no matter your background, your past voting record, please exercise your right to vote for whichever candidates speak to you at this moment in time. This year, I happen to feel quite strongly about what the DFL candidates up and down the ticket can do for each one of us - but what's important is on Nov. 4, I have a chance for my one vote, my one voice to speak loudly to the country.
My parents are both gone now, but I know they are watching the nightly news discussing this historic election.
Kim G. Hansen
Martin County DFL