Jim Read for Minnesota State Representative District 13A

“I am running because we face a number of critical decisions at a time of deepening political division. I believe the best way to bridge these divisions is through individual face to face conversations. I will aim to visit every household in the district, and talk with every voter I meet, regardless of party. I cannot guarantee we will always agree. But I promise always to listen.”

Jim Read lives in Avon with his wife Pia, who teaches at St. Cloud Technical and Community College.  Jim has taught at the College of St. Benedict and St. John’s University since 1988. He encourages young men and women of all political persuasions to become active and informed citizens. He teaches and writes about the framers of the U.S. Constitution, and is currently writing a book about Abraham Lincoln.

Jim ran for the Minnesota House of Representatives in 1992 and came within 98 votes, proving to him that every vote matters. He enjoys talking with voters one on one, and looks forward to door knocking every city and township in District 13A.

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I want to thank everyone who supported my campaign for the Minnesota House. Pia and I put every ounce of skill and energy we had into this. I wish we could have brought back better results. Our one important success, is that we helped to mobilize young voters at the College of St. Benedict and St. John's University. The torch of democracy and hope is now yours to carry.

I want to congratulate Lisa Demuth on her victory. I believe she is a good and decent person. There is much in our politics, and in the outside money and tactics deployed to defeat me, that is neither good nor decent. I hope that, once in office, Lisa can set a different example.

I am pleased that my friend and former student, Dan Wolgamott, was elected to the Minnesota House in District 14B, which covers the eastern side of St. Cloud. I salute the victories of Tim Walz and Peggy Flanagan for Governor and Lieutenant Governor, of Dean Phillips in the 3rd Congressional District and Angie Klein in the 2nd, of Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith in their U.S. Senate races, and others.

I was also encouraged to see the Democrats win a majority in the U.S. House of Representatives. From my own perspective running in a district that is trending more Republican than ever, I do not see view this as any "blue wave." It is more like a territorial gain in a long and costly trench war, in which each side builds their walls higher and their trenches deeper and braces for the next battle.

I decided to run for office because I saw how deeply and toxically divided our politics had become. I chose to do my own part to bridge those divisions by going door to door and talking with people, regardless of party, face to face as fellow citizens. I believe that from about November 2017, when I began doorknocking, and August, I was accomplishing my goal of bridging these deep divisions.

But this changed late in the summer, when Donald Trump chose to make this election in effect a re-fighting of the 2016 presidential race, around the same divisive issues that he had ridden to victory two years ago. Making this election "all about Trump" worked to the advantage of Democrats in the Twin Cities and inner ring suburbs, which helped Democrats win statewide races and pick up the 2nd and 3rd District. But in my district, where Trump got 65 percent of the vote in 2016 and Hillary Clinton a mere 29 percent, this shift made it impossible for me to bridge the divide. Instead, everyone was re-tribalized, the walls became higher, the abyss deeper.

So the final, very ugly stage of the campaign, driven by enormous amounts of outside money, consisted of one large-volume attack mailer after another accusing me, among other things, of letting illegal immigrant criminals run rampant in our community, and siding with violent protesters who throw Molotov cocktails and drop chunks of concrete on police officers. None of this has even the remotest connection with anything I've ever said or done. But this is the fear-and-hatred formula that Trump and his supporters have found working to their advantage in districts like mine, and it was deployed with a vengeance.

People say they hate attack politics of this kind. But it will not stop until voters prove that it doesn't work. It clearly did work in my district.

Despite my great disappointment, I do not regret running for office. I got into this because I felt I had to fight the destructive madness I saw taking hold of our political life. I believe it is more important than ever to continue fighting that destructive madness. I will not be doing it as a candidate for public office in the future, but I will continue to raise my voice.

Thank you again to all who supported me.
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Improve Health Coverage

Jim Read believes that, whatever happens in Washington, we in Minnesota must take responsibility for ensuring affordable health care to everyone in our state. As he campaigns go door to door in District 13A, he will invite voters to describe their own experiences with our health care system, and how they believe it can be improved.

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Expand Economic Opportunity

Jim Read believes in real economic opportunity for all Minnesotans, regardless of family background or what part of Minnesota they live in.

If elected, Jim will work to create conditions that enable our local businesses to grow and hire, and our workers and their families to thrive.

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Ensure Educational Excellence

Minnesota’s economy and high quality of life depend on excellent education at all levels.
Jim Read will work with teachers, principals, parents, and community leaders to improve success for children of all backgrounds and incomes, and to make post-secondary options available and affordable to graduates of all interests and career paths.

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