This is why we’re running

“Why are you running?”

Since I first announced I was running for governor and in the 13 months since then, I have gotten a frequent, understandable question: why are you running?

At first, I couldn’t give enough answers.

As a dad who wants a healthy future for his kids, I know our healthcare system is broken and needs repairing – I believe that single payer is on Minnesota’s horizon, and that creating a public option through MinnesotaCare is a good immediate step to control cost and expand access to care.

As a lifelong teacher who was in the classroom when Tim Pawlenty’s cuts devastated our public schools, I’m passionate about making sure that educators have the tools they need to create great student outcomes. Right now, they don’t.

And as a person who sees climate change as an existential threat to Minnesota’s future, I believe we have a moral obligation to move more quickly to a green energy economy.

But you know what? DFLers have wanted to do those things for years, and they haven’t happened. This past legislative session, we had trouble advancing many progressive policies at all.

The Map Tells the Story

The more I thought about it the more I realized that I’m really running because of this map. It’s the vote margin, by county, of the presidential election in 2016:

If we want to fight for the Minnesota that is, and the Minnesota that can be, the story that this map tells has to be changed.  We need to unite this state around progressive priorities. We have no other options. The challenges we face are too important.

We’re Building a Coalition to Unite Minnesota and Fight for Our Values

That’s why I’ve set out to build a campaign with the goal of uniting our state.

That’s why, as a rural Democrat, I sought out Representative Peggy Flanagan to run with me. As a Native woman and someone who grew up in Saint Louis Park, MN, she brings lived experiences to our ticket that I don’t have. And the fact that Peggy was my trainer at Wellstone Action, is a distinguished member of the Minnesota House, and is a nationally-recognized advocate for children means that we bring a real partnership to this race, not a partnership of political convenience.

That’s why I’ve built a campaign based around organizing – which helped us win 7 of the 8 Minnesota congressional districts in the DFL Straw Poll on caucus night.

That’s why I’ve built, by far, the broadest coalition of labor partners, from Education Minnesota, to the construction trades unions, to the faculty at Minnesota State colleges and universities, to the public employees at MAPE. I’ve built a coalition of elected officials from greater Minnesota, the suburbs, and the core cities.

DFLers, it can’t be enough that we hope to win enough votes in the metro to squeak by in a Governor’s race. It can’t be enough that we hope to lessen our minority in the State House so that, hopefully, fewer bad laws get sent to the Governor’s desk.

Our message is simple – we need to unite this state to fight and protect the parts of Minnesota we love – and to move us forward to the Minnesota that we can be.

It’s on us, progressives: until we unite Minnesota, everything else is just talking points.

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