Jeff Erdmann -- Minnesota 2nd Congressional District
Jeff Erdmann is a high school teacher and football coach. He was born and has been raised in southern Minnesota, a part of the country steeped in Progressive tradition. He is running to represent the 2nd Congressional District, on the southern outskirts of St. Paul/Minneapolis. The People’s House Project proudly endorses Mr. Erdmann as a candidate meeting our principles for election to Congress. He:
• Has first-person experience with the economic crisis
• Directly represents America’s diverse working class
• Is more connected to his community than to elites
• Will not make a good villain for the other side to campaign against
• Holds Progressive economic priorities central to his campaign
We believe Jeff Erdmann will be an invaluable addition to the House of Representatives, a passionate and energetic advocate for the interests of the people of Minnesota and working people everywhere.
The Minnesota 2nd Congressional District has a nice blend of people. The southern part and a little of the western part are agricultural and rural. In the middle we’ve got suburbs, and then toward the top we get more urban. The people of those different areas have different needs.
As a teacher, for 28 years I’ve gone to school every day. I’m looking after my constituents – my students in class and my athletes on the team I coach. My career has been about investing in people and challenging students to reach their full potential. In the classroom, I teach American government, and I teach both sides, left and right. My kids can’t tell if I’m a Democrat or a Republican. I know the conservative and liberal arguments both. I teach them both. To do that, you have to listen and learn.
I worked on a previous campaign and I was very disillusioned by it. In my training, they talked about people out in the trailer parks not being smart enough to understand the issues. That’s me they’re talking about. I grew up in modest circumstances, and that attitude made me really mad.
Democrats have been losing because of their candidates. We have candidates who are absolutely the definition of corporate America. They don’t resonate with working class people. They can line up the endorsements, but the voters know they’re not authentic leaders. We need to offer different candidates who can connect with working Americans.
Last summer we went to Washington DC on a family trip to a Christian music festival. I went out for my morning run by the Jefferson Memorial. There was a Marine in his dress blues, early in the morning, and he had his daughter with him, dressed as a princess. It occurred to me that he was shipping out, saying goodbye to his daughter. The sacrifices these people make…I was touched by that. And I thought about what our country needs, that I have leadership skills, that I have the ability to help people be better, and I thought I need to do more as an American, and I decided to run for office.
In sports, if your coaching staff continues to go with a losing strategy, you’re going to keep losing. Democrats have been in a situation where we’ve had so many losses, and yet the Party still wants to promote the same kinds of candidates. We need to do something different or we’re going to keep losing. We need someone who will stand up to the corruption in our political system.
I’ve made 8500 calls as a candidate and many people I talk with can see the system is broken. We need bold, courageous leaders who are going to stand up to that. This election is a great way to define what the Democratic Party is going to be. I’m a teacher and a union member, and I’m against a medical device executive with a corporate philosophy. Which one of us offers the greatest potential for change?
On our football team we have a simple slogan: “Glory is achieved when the many come together to form that which is invincible: the power of one.” Think where we would be if we did this as a country, if we all focused on working together – if we listened and learned from each other.
We’ve got great momentum going. When we’re out at events, our message of looking out for working class voters resonates across party lines. That whole populist movement is because people are sick of establishment politics. We need leaders who are doing it for the right reasons, not just for political careers.