“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 has been a resident of Stearns County since 1988. He lives in Avon with his wife, Pia. Jim grew up near the small town of Chesterton, Indiana, where he attended public schools. His mother, Charlotte (Johnson) Read, was the daughter of Swedish immigrants. His father, Herbert Read, the great-grandson of German immigrants, went to college on the G.I. Bill.
Jim grew up loving the outdoors. He was active in the Boy Scouts and earned the Eagle Scout rank. In high school, Jim worked as a bus boy and dishwasher. To attend college at the University of Chicago, he took out National Direct Student Loans and won a National Merit Scholarship. During college he worked on a paving crew and as a seasonal employee for the National Park Service. Jim and Pia met in 1978 and will celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary in 2018. Jim went on to earn a Ph.D in political science from Harvard University.
For the last 29 years, Jim has taught political science at the College of St. Benedict and St. John’s University. He teaches students of all political persuasions about their rights and duties as citizens. He is the author of three books, including Doorstep Democracy: Face to Face Politics in the Heartland, his account of door-to-door campaigning for the Minnesota Legislature. He is currently working on a book on Abraham Lincoln.
Jim believes in educational opportunity and economic mobility for all Minnesotans. His own hard work and initiative were encouraged and supported by essential public investments in education, transportation, medicine, technology and more.
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 doorknocking every city and township in District 13A.