Sometimes the clear differences between two politicians don’t show up in campaign debates or fancy literature. Instead they show up in a person’s everyday behavior and reveal the true depths of their character. I believe such behavior was displayed last week by our new state representative, Jeremy Kalin.
Kalin spent a week living on $3 worth of food per day to “raise awareness” that the government apparently doesn’t give enough food stamps to those in need. To the best of my knowledge, Kalin’s “raise awareness” stunt put no food on anyone’s table.
Now contrast that with his predecessor, Pete Nelson. During his years as a butcher, Nelson helped raise and donate thousands of pounds of food to local food shelves. He has volunteered his services in the Cows, Cows, Cows program since 2000, which has donated literally tons of food throughout east-central Minnesota. Countless thousands of our neighbors ate meals borne from Nelson’s sweat equity and generosity.
That to me shows better than anything what each person has to offer as a public servant. One spends his time making a symbolic plea for more government; the other rolls up his sleeves and goes to work, earning real results. Even though Pete Nelson is out of office, I am sure his generosity continues, because he didn’t do it for personal recognition. He did it because helping those less fortunate is the right thing to do.
I can’t say the same for Jeremy Kalin. I’m afraid we took a step backward last year by electing someone who apparently thinks symbolic gestures are enough to pass as public service. Our communities deserve better than that.