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DFL candidates, activists work to energize voters for election

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DFL candidates, activists work to energize voters for election
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MORRIS - As the Nov. 6 general election inches closer, DFL candidates and local activists are ramping up their fundraising and campaigning efforts, including get out the vote efforts with University of Minnesota, Morris students.


The Stevens County DFL held their annual bean feed and rally last Wednesday, Oct. 17 at the Eagles Club in Morris. Local DFL candidates Jay McNamar and John Schultz thanked attendees for their help so far and asked for support in the last weeks of the election season.

McNamar, the current mayor of Elbow Lake and candidate for Minnesota House District 12A, said that his campaign has evolved from a focus on local government aid and repaying the shift in school funding to include a broader plan to bring back jobs to west central Minnesota and improve the economy.

McNamar's plan to improve the economy includes three parts: replacing infrastructure in towns of 6,000 or less in rural Minnesota to create jobs for local contractors, offer tax incentives to businesses that create jobs with benefits, and forgive companies who outsourced jobs with tax breaks to those who bring jobs back to the state.

"My plan is a work in progress," said McNamar. "It needs to be improved, tweaked, expanded.... Every time I get help, it improves."

Schultz, a DFL activist from Correll, took the opportunity to encourage attendees to support him and vote against the two proposed constitutional amendments defining marriage and requiring a photo ID to vote, calling them the "gay discrimination amendment" and the "voter suppression amendment."

"If you believe that nobody in the United States of America should be discriminated against, you will vote no," said Schultz.

A group of UMM students are also teaming up with local DFL candidates to get out the word to vote. On Tuesday, Oct. 23, Evan Vogel, DFL Youth Vote Director and UMM student, organized a phone bank with UMM students calling local voters, highlighting the local DFL candidates and encouraging residents to vote in general.

"We feel that trying to win back seats at the local level will do more good for Minnesota than focusing on the national election," said Vogel. "The key to winning an election is exposure. We want voters to know who the candidates are and what they stand for."

About 15 UMM students, along with the local candidates, used laptop computers and lists generated from the DFL party to call local members. Students talked about the candidates, the platforms they are running on, and answered questions for residents.

"There are a number of students on campus who are willing to put in the time and effort to get the word out about these candidates," said Vogel.

Vogel also helped organize a door knock around Morris a couple of weeks back. Students went door to door in an attempt to inform voters about who their local DFL candidates are and why they should vote. "We want to make sure that people remember to vote and help them understand that who you elect can help prioritize the state," said Vogel.

Vogel plans on organizing at least one more phone bank in which they will target registered Democrats and Independents with a list generated from the DFL.

Kim Ukura
Kim Ukura has served as the editor of the Morris Sun Tribune since August 2011. She graduated from the University of Minnesota, Morris in 2008 with degrees in English and journalism. She earned a master's degree in journalism from the University of Wisconsin, Madison in 2010. Prior to returning to Morris to work at the Sun Tribune, she worked in trade publishing. She has been recognized by the Minnesota Newspaper Association for both business and public affairs reporting.