Monday, June 21, 2010

What you learn in front of a door

We swung into doorknocking last Friday with a gang of eight (two of whom are my wife and daughter.)  Great to see the enthusiasm from them, and the impetus to make doorknocking a daily ritual.  And so it is now.

Tonight I was by St. Cloud Technical and Community College along one of the roads perpendicular to 15th St.  This neighborhood has been there for probably 30-40 years and a mix of old and new homes, old and new families.  I met one family who had just arrived in St. Cloud from out of state; their neighbor, another young family, joined in.  The new residents are here for jobs at our hospital (one has the job, the other hopeful.)  We talked a bit about the area and how the health care industry has grown so dramatically here.  I was lifted by that scene, a neighbor greeting a new family to town.

That is really what door knocking is about.  I'm not just a guy looking for a job, though that is what I am asking you for.  I'm a neighbor, I'm someone who calls St. Cloud home, and I am given the opportunity in this race to meet all my neighbors, new residents and old ones.

Also met a younger man tonight, perhaps 30, who has been told his job running a kitchen is in jeopardy because the restaurant needs to balance its books.  I told him that I wanted to balance the state's books with without* increasing the costs at his restaurant.  It turns out his family has other restaurants, one of whom my son cooks at!  I asked him to thank his family for me, because I know they treat my son well there.

But it is hard for restaurants to keep treating their workers well when government decides to disallow a young person from working for a restaurant for less than the minimum wage.  It is hard for a restaurant to keep treating its workers well when we raise taxes on liquor (already the highest-taxed good in Minnesota and taxed 20-80% higher than in surrounding states.)  It is hard to treat your workers well when the government decides your sole proprietorship making $300,000 in net revenue should pay higher taxes out of 'fairness'.

All that out of a 3-minute meeting with a voter in north St. Cloud.  And I get to do that every day between now and November.  I look forward to visiting more of you and hearing more about the lives and concerns of my neighbors.

* -- corrected for typo; thanks to Fred for catching it!