Senator Kiffmeyer: Expressing my heartfelt gratitude for everyone who ran for office

By: Senator Mary Kiffmeyer

While some races are still being decided, the 2020 election is by-and-large in the books. For many, the work will continue as they prepare to transition into their new roles at the various levels of government. For others, the campaign is over and they will return to their normal, pre-campaign lives, but with a new appreciation for the process. 

I know many of you who came up short may have been disappointed by the result. You may even feel it wasn’t worth the time, energy, money, or effort. Let me assure you: nothing can be further from the truth. No matter the outcome, every candidate is a winner for stepping up to the plate and saying, “I am willing to serve.”

Public service is at the core of our republic. From the first day of this country’s founding, we have depended on good men and women from all walks of life to run our governments at all levels — from your local parks and rec board all the way up to the president. Public service is the heart of who we are as Americans. 

Most do not realize that running for office demands months and months of long, stressful days. Door knocking until sunset. Returning phone calls and signing thank you cards until bedtime. Early morning meetings. And since most elected offices are part-time, candidates end up doing this work on top of their regular 40-hour per week job. 

That’s why public service demands a special character. It demands people who want to put their community first; people who have an ingrained determination to make our state and country a better place. They are the ones responsible for important decisions that help assure your community has clean water, smooth roads, good infrastructure, and good schools for your children. These are decisions that can have a large influence and don’t just impact current residents; they set the stage for your city’s future growth and success. 

And all of these decisions are dependent on civic-minded citizens answering the call to serve.  

The presidential election is the one that receives all the headlines and attention, but your local governments — city councils and mayors, school boards, and the state legislature — also have a great impact on your daily lives; sometimes even more than what happens in Washington. 

The candidates who run for those offices are the ones who especially deserve our thanks. They put themselves through campaigns for their fellow citizens. They don’t get any fame or fortune, and they rarely receive any gratitude. They do it because they want to make their city, state, and country better for the generations that will follow in our footsteps. 

To everyone who stepped up to serve their fellow citizens this year, we sincerely thank you. 

For those re-elected or newly-elected, let’s work together for the public good. 

I hope those of you who came up short will give it another shot next time around but nonetheless, consider staying involved in other ways. 

You are needed and it matters!