This may sound like a terrible thing for any Minnesotan to say, and especially odd for a northern Minnesota Congressional candidate to say during the heart of Minnesota’s popular deer hunting season, but for the longest time I couldn’t stand venison. I don’t think my mom or sisters would allow it in the house.
Growing up in Ely, my dad worked in the mines. When I was eight years old he was laid off at the Minntac mine, and that ushered in some hard times for our family.
My dad was a deer hunter so he knew he could put meat on the table, but we still struggled. My parents are very proud people so I know it was tough for them to accept help in the form of heating fuel assistance and food stamps, but they had young mouths to feed. Even with the help, it didn’t make things easy.
That’s where the deer hunting comes in – you see, we ate venison for just about every meal. We ate venison steak, venison filet, ground venison, venison jerky, venison sausage, venison roast, venison polish and venison stew. You name the dish, we ate it with venison.
This went on for over a year until my Dad found another job. Our family went through our hardest times, but thanks to family, friends, our community and government our family made it through.
This story is not unique to my family. In fact, my story is really our story. Many of our friends and neighbors throughout the region have experienced similar struggles. It is these hard times that have helped forge our culture and values. It is why we are the people that we are. We don’t look down on people who are struggling. Instead we lend a hand when it is needed most. We don’t chastise the assistance government provides to help those among us in their most desperate times.
I will bring our story and our values to Washington. I will bring our compassion to the halls of Congress and stand up for Northland families. This is representation we’re lacking in Congress. Rep. Chip Cravaack continues to stand with big oil, big banks and billionaires over us in Northern Minnesota. We deserve better. We deserve – simply put – one of us, for us!
We eat venison again now. It took the whole family a few years, but we enjoy it. It helps remind us of all that we have to be thankful for.