I have had the pleasure of working closely with Lee Byberg for the past five years. While I selfishly may wish that he remain in our organization, we need to send him to Congress.
Lee is genuine, honest and passionate about this country. Long before he decided to run for office, I had the pleasure of debating public policy with him in the areas of immigration, energy and the economy. I've left these discussions with well-reasoned challenges to my thought process, but have always felt respected. We need this healthy debate in Washington!
Is he perfect? Nobody is. He's in my fantasy football league and had a terrible draft this year (he bids too much for Viking players). He's also a bit of a workaholic. I don't know where he gets the energy to engage in campaigning and the rest of life. I keep expecting to find him napping at his desk, but in months of campaigning I've never seen him without a twinkle of excitement in his eyes at the office.
Those who have met Lee will vote for him, as his positive passion is infectious and tough to ignore. But the district is huge, so this message is aimed at those who've missed the chance to meet this rare individual. I don't know both candidates, but I've had one opportunity to see them in the same event. The contrast was clear.
In the Willmar parade, Lee was grinning from ear to ear and trailing 50 yards behind his group, trying to shake every hand in the crowd. It was the first time I saw him on the campaign trail. Take that energy along with the intelligence and common sense I've seen in action for five years and we've got ourselves an honorable representative. Collin Peterson sat in a pickup. He was staring straight ahead with a get-me-out-of-this-podunk-town look on his face -- obviously anxious to be anywhere else. Maybe he was just having a rough day, but it sure provided me a sense of confidence that I'll be voting for the right man on Nov 2.