I really appreciate that this paper helps inform us about the candidates in our elections. I, like most people, want to be an informed voter. But there was one thing in particular that jumped out at me when reading the recent Q&A articles for Minnesota House District 55B. The question was “How will you ensure the voice of your constituents is heard?” Dr. Andrea Nelsen gave a very straight forward answer about holding regular town halls, office hours and being available through the usual methods of phone, email and regular mail. Nothing extraordinary there. That’s what I expect of an elected representative.

But what caught my eye was Rep. Tony Albright’s answer. Or should I say non-answer. I was very confused and couldn’t quite make out what he was trying to say. It was some very flowery prose but ultimately it left me scratching my head. There was nothing in Mr. Albright’s answer that promised regular contact with constituents. And he closed with a statement about being judged by his actions and accomplishments. Leaving me with the impression that we only get to weigh in at the next election.

I wasn’t very happy with this conclusion so I decided to do a little more research. I looked at past articles (legislative updates) he had written for this paper. Now credit where credit is due, I appreciate that he took the time to do this. It’s important that we voters stay informed all the time, not just at elections. But there was a thread that ran throughout all the writing I saw from him that made me very sad. Mr. Albright fairly consistently framed everything as “we are good, they are bad.” He didn’t really try to explain the nuances of the different issues so that voters could understand. This is just more of the party before country rhetoric that I think is causing so much damage in our political discourse. No matter which side it comes from.

Taken as a whole I come to the conclusion that Mr. Albright does not really believe in doing the hard work of democracy. Democracy requires that all voices be heard and that we debate, argue, work together, in good faith, towards solutions that work the best for all concerned.

I’m reminded of the quote from Winston Churchill. “Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all those others that have been tried from time to time.”

I don’t demand perfection from my representatives but I do demand that they are willing to do the work that democracy requires. I believe Andrea Nelsen is the candidate that can and will do this.

She has my vote.

Charlie Hautman 

Spring Lake Township