My dad milked 57 cows every morning and every night and each of his six kids got the full farm experience. We did chores before and after school, we took responsibility for the animals in our care, and we did not stop working until we got the job done.
Growing up on a family-run farm taught me to see the opportunities in my future. If today was too wet to plant, the next sunny day was just around the corner. If this year’s corn yields were down, next year held the promise of a banner year. The next opportunity for success was right there, if only our family was ready to work hard and reach for it.
Unfortunately, many members in Congress appear unable to focus on the future. Where a Minnesota farmer sees opportunity on the horizon, far too many in Congress can’t (or won’t) see past the next political fight. This shortsightedness prevents them from envisioning, much less planning, for a better future for our country.
No better example exists than what happened with the recent Farm Bill. Instead of focusing on the opportunity for productive farms, ensuring safe and secure food sources, and figuring out how best to help hungry families, Congress spent years pulling political stunts that risked taking down the entire farm safety net.
In the end, the Farm Bill got done because our Minnesota Congressmen, Colin Peterson and Tim Walz, rose above the partisanship and shepparded it through a broken Congress.
If the Farm Bill saga taught us anything, it is that we need to change the people we send to Congress, if we want to change the results coming out of it.
I’m running for Congress because Minnesota families deserve a future full of opportunity. We need representatives in Congress who are willing to build consensus around important issues. That is how we will create the opportunities for our families in the future.
We need to stop the constant shift of the tax burden onto middle class families, so they can help create the family-sustaining jobs we need for the future.
We need to invest in a 21st century transportation system by rebuilding our roads and bridges and addressing the ever increasing demands on our aging rail system.
We need to move forward with comprehensive immigration reform that secures our borders, but also takes families out of the shadows and meets our growing agricultural employment needs.
Addressing these challenges is how we rebuild the middle class and create the opportunities for our future. I’m ready to lead on these issues.
This week at Farm Fest, we may see families eating great food, kids staring in wonder at the size of the new tractors, and farmers imagining what they could accomplish if they upgrade this piece of equipment or that. But, we’ll also see people thinking about the opportunities in their future. Isn’t it time we send representatives to Congress who care about those opportunities as much as they do?
Mike Obermueller is the DFL endorsed candidate for Congress in Minnesota's Second Congressional District.