MEDFORD — To Phillip Parrish, Washington, D.C., is full of dark secrets, false narratives and manufactured cover-ups. And he’s upset about it.
“I have chosen to try and start a conversation and have a connection with people to discuss some things that are very serious and very wrong,” he said.
So Parrish decided to try and take it up with Washington from the inside and seek the Republican nomination to run for the U.S. Senate.
The spot, currently held by DFL Sen. Al Franken, is up for election this year.
Born in Blue Earth, Parrish, 48, grew up on a farm just outside Medford. He graduated from Minnesota State University with an education degree now works in England as an intelligence officer in the Navy Reserve.
Parrish has a reactionary political outlook, driven by a desire to bring American politics back into his conservative ideal. He self-identifies as a constitutionalist on his Twitter page.
He endorses government transparency and a resurgence of state power. His campaign slogan is “restore our republic,” a call to pull back the reins of what he sees as government power gone too far.
His interest in politics began in high school when he did grassroots campaigning for Steve Sviggum, former Minnesota state representative.
In 2006, he launched his first campaign and attempted to enter the Minnesota gubernatorial race. As a former teacher, he wanted to correct what he considered to be bad practices in special education reform.
It was another case of the government pulling the wool over people’s eyes, he said.
“Another agenda was spun up and kept in the forefront to stay away from a special education agenda that a few people had in the Department of Education,” Parrish said.
Parrish ran without the endorsement of a major political party and failed to collect enough signatures to make the ballot. The incumbent, Republican Tim Pawlenty, went on to win the election.
Now seeking a U.S. Senate seat, Parrish wants to take his message to the national stage. This time, he’s hunting for the spot on the Republican ticket.
His opposition for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate includes state Sen. Julianne Ortman, businessman Mike McFadden, state Rep. Jim Abeler of Anoka and St. Louis County Commissioner Chris Dahberg.
His policy points include reducing the national debt, bolstering the military and repealing the Affordable Care Act, which is referred to as a “fraudulently named abomination” on his campaign flyer.
As the mid-term election season draws near, Parrish hopes to get out on the campaign trail full-time. He has been traveling between Minnesota and England. He’s proud of his Navy Reserve duties, but has his eye set on his candidacy.
Parrish will tour district conventions and speaking engagements in the near future to gear up for the summer campaign season. He wants to meet as many people as he can, he said.
And though all that secrecy and federal power can instill anger, he says the best thing to do is to get out and talk about it — civilly.
“You can sit here and complain, or you can stand up and have a conversation,” Parrish said. “Let’s focus on what we can do.”
Parrish will host a public question-and-answer session at the Comfort Inn near Cabela’s in Owatonna from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday.