Will Jared Loughner's self-described "assassination" attempt outside a Safeway in Tucson make United States representatives less accessible to average citizens? Doesn't look like it in Minnesota, where even statewide politics still maintains a retail flavor.
Earlier today, fifth district congressman Keith Ellison announced a "Congress on Your Corner" event Friday at the Global Market Atrium, and Congressman Walz's office has scheduled a store stop in Mankato:
“Hearing the thoughts and ideas of southern Minnesotans is the cornerstone of our representative democracy. I am looking forward to the opportunity to hear from folks,” said Walz.What: Congress on your Corner with Rep. Tim WalzWhen: 11:00am – 1:00pm on Friday, January 14Where: Mocol’s Super Market, 1001 N Broad St, Mankato
The Post Bulletin has more:
Walz's Press Secretary Sara Severs said the event is a way for the congressman to honor Giffords and to also show his commitment remains when it comes to being accessible to the public.
This has always been important to him and obviously that was one of the most shocking things about what happened on Saturday, (Giffords) was doing her job and doing what she was elected to do and he has always felt strongly about doing events like that and being accessible," Severs said.
Work will keep me away from the gathering, but I wish I could go. I've been to other grocery store stops that Walz has held, but this store has sentimental value. Mocol's, the last remaining small, family-operated grocery store, is a Mankato institution, opened in 1917 by a Lebanese immigrant. The city's "Syrian" community should be familiar to the thousands of Maud Haud Lovelace fans who read her children's book, Betsy and Tacy Go Over the Big Hill. Some of the stories about immigrants, language and bigotry in that book still strike a familiar chord.
The Mocol family is interviewed here in Mocol Boys..., a piece for the Voices in the Valley oral history project; I hope you go listen. Then, if you live in the First and have time on Friday, go talk to your representative.
Photo-- What the store would have looked like when my own immigrant grandfather went down to Mocols with my late father--then a small boy--in tow. True or not, my father always said Grandpa learned Arabic from Lebanese immigrants in the Americanization class he took around the time of the First World War, and would haggled over fruit in Arabic. What did that language sound like with a heavy Danish accent? Photo swiped from the audio project.