What I have learned from the campaign for House seat 22B

This is what I have learned from my campaign for State Legislator in District 22B.

I am not a politician.  I am a citizen who believes that you can’t stay on the sidelines forever.  I believe in paying it forward and repaying the good fortune I have experienced.  I’m untrained in the arts of avoiding questions and pivoting to better talking points. What I do know is how to analyze a problem and work with people to get the best result.  I am problem oriented and I care deeply about the people–ALL of the people—who live and work in 22B.  I know how to listen, not just “hear” and I know how to compromise and negotiate.  I have met many of you, I have learned from you, I have been effected by you, and I will be responsive and responsible to you not to special interest groups.

I would not trade the last 5 months for any other experience.  The people I spoke to were honest about their feelings and beliefs, their hurts and hopes, and what they wanted to have happen in the Legislature.  I never really knew what political belief someone had when I went to their door, but I knew that I would listen to them with courtesy and acknowledge that we were either similar or different but that we were both entitled to our beliefs.

I ran the campaign my way, not the “established” way.  If I win it will be because the voters believed in my message.  If I lose then I know that I tried my best, but that the voters preferred that things stay the same because that is what the incumbent offers.  More of the same—more cuts, more constitutional amendments, more favors for special interests.

If you want to know about a candidate, look at where their money came from and went.  (It’s in the Campaign Finance Board report)  My contributions came from many donors who gave $5, $10, $25 or $50 (and a few special people who gave more) and a few groups whose philosophy I have embraced my entire adult life (women, education, and labor).  They came from an anonymous person who contributed $2.00 because she wanted to give me something in addition to her vote, from my grandson who contributed his earnings from 4 hours of work at a minimum wage summer job, and from family and friends who believed in me and contributed what they could.  I spent my money locally.  I did not buy tires for my car or an iPad, I did not pay my phone bill, or contribute to charity from those donations.  I used them for two mailings, a ‘leave behind’ door knock piece, lawn signs, postage, and supplies.

I wore out a pair of shoes walking in parades and door knocking.  I was in towns where people asked why I was there.  When I told them I was running for office, they could not believe that a candidate would come to their door let alone their community event (and without an entourage).  They did not know who their current legislator was, they had never seen him.  Heck, I was in all the parades (except Windom’s) and I only saw him twice—once in Mt Lake and once in Worthington.  I have been in Lamberton, Revere, Walnut Grove, Westbrook, Storden, Jeffers, Mt Lake, Windom, Bingham Lake, Dundee, Wilder, Heron Lake, Okabena, Brewster, Lismore, Adrian, Rushmore, Lakefield, Round Lake, Bigelow, Ellsworth, and Worthington either at parades, community events or celebrations, door knocking or meetings.

I was honored to speak in a high school about running a campaign and about the issues.  It was so inspiring to see young people engaged in the process of becoming informed voters.  I have eaten lunch with Senior Citizens to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Senior Nutrition program, and to just visit with them.  I have patronized community businesses when I could.

If you want to know about an incumbent look at his voting record and legislation record, not the propaganda he puts out.  I made an attempt to participate in every debate and forum available.  I am sorry that my opponent could not make either of the 2 opportunities offered to him by Pioneer Public Television on October 25 (there was a medical appointment that could not be changed) or November 1 (he did not even acknowledge that he could not attend that one).  During the exchanges in which my opponent did participate, he did not offer a defense of his record.  He did not tell the citizens that he voted to cut funds for Welfare to Work programs, early childhood education, health insurance and health care for poor children and adults.  He voted for cuts of 15% to MnSCU and the U of M which would have kept tuition from escalating, for the school funding shift of 40% with no repayment date and against closing the tax loopholes on little cigars. He voted to cut LGA funds which raised our property taxes.  He voted for the 2 divisive amendments to our constitution.  He followed the party line voting with the Republicans even though he says he is bipartisan.

The incumbent has a record of awards as noted in the Daily Globe’s endorsement.  I have a record of working with people.  I have a record of working hard and I am not afraid of taking on those who are opposed to the best interests of the individuals I represent.  As one of my conservative friends put it, “you are the smartest woman and the hardest working person I know.”  I have and will continue to put my ‘smarts’ and my hard work out there and do the best that I can for the citizens of 22B.

Thank you for the opportunity to serve.

Cheryl Avenel-Navara

District 22B candidate

4 thoughts on “What I have learned from the campaign for House seat 22B

  1. You deserve to win, Cheryl! I totally agree with your conservative friend! You ARE smart and hard working! I know you would put the people first! Good Luck!

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