While I was in Russia, I kept up with American news and local opinions about what was happening at home and abroad. I became a student of world history and cultures as I hosted Russians and Asians in my home. At the same time, I became a teacher of American history and values as a home schooling mom and representative to local people. All of this required more study, and I was willing to dig deep into the resources availed to me. As I began to search out the past to better understand the present, I found myself eager to know more about my own family line. Who were the first immigrants in my family who came to America?
When I was a little girl learning American history, I assumed that "our forefathers" who fought in the wars for our freedom meant someone else's grandfather. I was familiar with my Norwegian side, which eventually settled in Sacred Heart in the late 1800s. I also knew my Quaker side, relatives who used their ingenuity to create inventions and opposed war. I knew about the persecution my German ancestors faced, and the involvement of one grandfather in forming the first anti-slavery bill in America. As I began to research my American family history, though, from my Russian apartment, I followed an unfamiliar line all the way back to the Mayflower. I was not only surprised about that, I was dumbfounded when I learned that I had great-grandfathers who had fought in every major war, from the Revolutionary War to WWII. There, on their obituaries and in the stories, were the tales of sacrifice, both emotional and physical, not just of the grandfathers who fought but also of the entire family. I suddenly felt a sense of indebtedness and responsibility I had never felt before, not just to our nation’s heroes, but also to my own ancestors who sought to preserve a freedom that has been handed down to me.
In the last year, while in Russia, I personally felt and saw the effects of U.S. sanctions on Russia: regular people not being able to get a paycheck, the ruble crashing, American banks fearing to work with Russian banks in sending our own citizens money. It’s a scary thing to have mouths to feed and not be able to access your own money in America. These sanctions have only caused to make tension between friends and partners and hurt businesses there, with ripple effects back to America. We need to work with respected leaders in our world to defeat common threats and work toward common goals. Seeing refugees pile into the immigration offices of Russia, knowing most were from Ukraine and others from Syria, my heart felt a tug to return and contribute the knowledge and understanding I have toward international policies.
As we returned to America, we began the process of changing jobs and, with that, health insurance. All this time living overseas, we’ve paid our dues to American insurance premiums even though we would never rack up the amount paid in medical bills. As we move into next year, we look at the choices for health insurance and see there are no real choices. Everything is outrageously expensive. I’ve been meeting local people, those starting businesses, self-employed people, and farmers who all say they can’t afford the Obamacare requirements. I’m seeing this directly and negatively impacting employment growth, business growth and the overall local economy. Storefronts with historical buildings are vacant, grocery stores are closed, my 90 year old grandmother has to drive(!) 30 minutes out of town to get her groceries! This same grandma was a single mom in the 1960s to 70s who went on to run her own truck stop cafe in Eagle Bend. Today, who could start anything with this extra tax burden called Obamacare. It’s time to repeal Obamacare. Collin Peterson won’t try, but I will passionately and diligently work to stop this huge tax burden and create incentives for young people to start their businesses, inventions, and farms in our district.
I put my kids in public school this year. My kids don't like the taste of skim and 1% milk, and I’m a firm believer that Minnesotans in cold weather require a few more lipids. When I checked with the school to see if there was some way we could have 2% milk available to my kids, I had to work my way up from the head of the school's cafeteria to the MN Department of Education and then was told I would have to talk to my U.S. Congressman about getting my kids 2% milk. I’ve called Congressmen about this; they confirmed it’s up to them. The National School Lunch Program touts that school lunch is "a matter of national security". Really? When we have to talk to our Congressman about what our kids eat and drink at school lunch, I think we have a big problem with government overreach. I called Congress and the USDA, and there really is nobody who can get answers to even clarify this issue. Can you imagine what this is like having national policies for anything educational? It's like playing volleyball, and the ball just volleys back and forth with no real resolution about anything. The very spirit of the law is lost, and we keep aimlessly trying to follow it-- this is stupidity. Federal regulations on local schools brings an environment of fear as our schools attempt to do everything by regulation and can't do anything about parents' concerns. Eventually, we all have to give up, give in, and drink the skim chocolate milk. These issues have confirmed to me we need different people in Congress than who is there now to stop this federal overreach.
If there’s anything I learned from working in a church, that is that if you see a problem, be the solution. After a couple weeks in my new home in Long Prairie, faced with these new twists in our culture handed down by Congressional laws, I found myself profoundly resolved to give into the tug on my heart which has been growing for the last several years. I knew I could not just sit here and complain about the issues; I could do something about it. My life in the Far East, near North Korea has taught me to live boldly for what you believe in. I’ve seen the effects of tyranny and government imposition firsthand and never wish that on a single soul. Who will work tirelessly and honestly for the preservation of the freedom our forefathers and present-day soldiers sacrificed their lives for? Please don't say Amanda Lynn Hinson will... I will, but I hope we all do that in our spheres of influence! As for someone to represent you in Congress, I sincerely ask for your support. In return, I aim to make this district proud to have changed its course and brought in new blood to Washington, DC. Thank you for your support!