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Pints and Politics aims to inform

FAIRMONT– Conversing over a pint has long been a favorite pastime for many. Pints and Politics offers this plus the opportunity to hear from local politicians.

The Martin County Republican Party will host a Pints and Politics event at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 30. The event will be held at Tami’s on the Ave. and the guest speakers will be Michelle Benson and Doug Wardlow, who are running for Governor and attorney general, respectively.

Dr. Tim Hamp is co-chair of the Martin County Republicans and the organizer of Pints and Politics. He shared how the increasingly popular event initially came to be held in May of this year.

Following a Martin County Republicans board meeting, Hamp said he was running an errand and came across someone who asked why he was dressed up.

“I told him I had been at a meeting and he asked what kind of meeting and I told him and he said, ‘there’s a Republican group in Martin County?’ And I thought that was strange,” Hamp recalled.

He was surprised to find out people didn’t know the group existed. Someone suggested to him holding a Pints and Politics event to help raise awareness.

“I had never heard of that but she said people meet at a bar, have a politician come and speak and then people can ask questions. I thought that sounded like a great idea,” Hamp said.

He immediately called Tami’s on the Ave and inquired whether the basement would be open the next Thursday and they said yes.

“I actually reserved the place before I had politicians lined up. I contacted Bjorn (Olson) and Julie (Rosen) and they said yes,” Hamp said.

Hamp said he felt relived to get everything lined up last minute and was even more pleased to have more than 50 people show up for the first event.

“It was pretty much word of mouth. I believe we had it posted on our Facebook group, too,” Hamp said.

After the first event concluded, Hamp said people were already asking when the next event would be held. People also shared that they wanted to hear from candidates so Hamp said began making phone calls.

“People also suggested we hold the event at different areas in Martin County,” Hamp said.

The June Pints and Politics was at the Legion in Sherburn. Mark Marti, who will run for Governor, was the speaker.

Hamp said that event wasn’t as well-attended and the feedback he got was that some people didn’t want to drive out of town if they were going to be drinking.

“In July we had another gubernatorial candidate, Mike Murphy, at Holiday Inn in Fairmont. Julie Rosen, Bjorn Olson and Jeremy Munson were also there,” Hamp said.

The group didn’t hold an event in August because of the Martin County Fair, but has been planning for the September event.

“It was suggested at our last meeting to have two candidates. We’ll have attorney general candidate, Doug Wardlow and Michelle Benson, who is running for Governor,” Hamp said.

Hamp said he sees several benefits to holding Pints and Politics.

“People can listen to and ask questions of the candidates. They’ll become better informed and can then make a better decision. Information is always good,” Hamp said.

He said it also allows people to meet others who are interested in politics and that new friendships can be formed.

Hamp stressed the Pints and Politics isn’t just for Republicans, but that Democrats have attended as well. He said he’s been in contact with the Lt. Governor’s office and is working on seeing if she can come down for an event.

“If there’s any Democrats running for office, if Walz decides not to run, I would invite that person to come,” Hamp said.

He’s looking forward to October when three gubernatorial candidates, Scott Jensen, Paul Gazelka and Neil Shah will be the guest speakers at Pints and Politics.

“I would like to do this every month for a very long time. If we get repeats of politicians that’s okay because life changes. If they get elected, hopefully they won’t forget about us down here in southern Minnesota,” Hamp said.

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