As we read Marty Seifert, candidate for Governor, visits Fulda, in the Fulda Free Press, Bluestem learned:
“My candidacy is about bringing the state together. I can bring a lot of common sense to the governor’s office. I believe that I am the only gubernatorial candidate who was raised on a farm and knows what it is to live in rural Minnesota. I understand small town. Unless you live small town and farm, you don’t get it,” Seifert commented.
We can only wonder what endorsed Republican gubernatorial candidate Jeff Johnson, who was born and raised in Detroit Lakes (population 5797 in 1970, four years after Johnson's birth) must think about that.
And then there's Kurt Zellers, who was raised on a farm (admittedly one in North Dakota). As the St. Paul Pioneer Press's Bill Salisbury reported in New House speaker Kurt Zellers is a farm kid at heart:
One look around Rep. Kurt Zellers' office in the State Office Building tells you a lot about the man who will be the next speaker of the Minnesota House, the second-most-powerful office in state government.
A large photo of the barn and windmill that his great-grandfather built on the North Dakota prairie in the 1880s adorns one wall. There's a toy John Deere tractor and a minnow bucket on the window sill. Mounted behind his desk is a framed calendar featuring a photo of his grandfather standing eyeball-deep in a field of sunflowers. Old footballs decorate a couch and chair.
Zellers, 41, is a four-term Republican from suburban Maple Grove. But at heart, he's a North Dakota farm boy with hardscrabble roots. Once a promising college football player, a blown-out ankle shifted his course to politics.
If his office decor exudes toughness, the guy behind the desk hides it well.
Zellers is one of the most affable and best-liked pols at the Capitol.
"He's an all-around nice guy who brings farm-kid charm to the table," says veteran Rep. Mary Liz Holberg, R-Lakeville.
"Kurt's a likeable, dedicated family man whose farm roots help him maintain a sense of balance," adds current Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher, a Minneapolis DFLer who also grew up on a farm. . . .
(Kelliher, by the way, is a cousin to Seifer by way of marriage).
Perhaps Seifert is right, though. He's the only one to be raised on a farm. In Minnesota.
As a young friend who grew up in rural Fillmore County observed after reading the Fulda Free Press story, "You only really get it if you've poked a dead cow with a stick..."
We are certainly no position to argue with that.
Image: Detroit Lakes, up there in Becker County.
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