Jeff Wilfahrt has been a strong voice against a proposed amendment to the Minnesota Constitution banning rights for same-sex couples, and he intends to bring that voice to the Minnesota Legislature in 2013. Last week, he filed to run in his district in Rosemount.
In a letter to friends and fellow advocated of LGBT equality, Wilfahrt explained his decision to run for office.
“I turn to you hoping you recognize that my wife and I have put ourselves forward to advance the protection of the MN Constitution and keep discriminatory amendments out of that document. I intend to work for progressive causes here at the state level,” he said. “As you are aware last year in 2011 we lost our eldest son to an IED in Afghanistan. Had the GOP not put forward the Marriage Amendment for the 2012 ballot many of you would not know my name nor would you be receiving this beg letter.”
Jeff and his wife Lori lost their son Andrew to an IED in 2011. Andrew was gay.
The Wilfahrt’s have spoken out in Minnesota and nationally about the fact that their son died for a country whose laws discriminated against him.
Wilfahrt is running in District 37B, a seat currently held by Republican Kurt Bills who also voted for the anti-gay marriage amendment. The district has a reputation of being a moderate one. Phil Sterner, a DFLer held the seat from 2008 to 2010, and Republican Dennis Ozment held the seat before him. Ozment was considered one of the Legislature’s few moderates when he retired in 2008.
Dave Mindeman of the Minnesota Network for Progressive Action praised Wilfahrt’s decision to run:
His message won’t be ambiguous. It won’t get sanitized. And it won’t be hiding. This House District race will get a much needed shot int he arm.
And Wilfahrt will have a campaign manager who knows the district pretty well. Former Rep. Phil Sterner has taken on the challenge to lead the way.
I had written this district off as a lost cause this year, but this is like a jolt of caffeine for area Democrats.
It may be a somewhat conservative area but at least they are going to have someone who will challenge the status quo.
Here’s Jeff Wilfahrt’s full letter:
I am writing to ask for money.
I, Jeff Wilfahrt, will be running for the MN House of Representatives in fall of 2012 on the DFL ticket. Pending the outcome of redistricting my opponent will most likely be Republican Representative Kurt Bills.
Last summer I was first approached about considering a run for a House seat. I deflected that for many months. Last weekend I finalized that decision.
Some of you receiving this are not residents of 37B let alone residents of Minnesota. But I turn to you hoping you recognize that my wife and I have put ourselves forward to advance the protection of the MN Constitution and keep discriminatory amendments out of that document. I intend to work for progressive causes here at the state level.
Monday I opened a campaign account and filed with the State Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board office.
The campaign needs two things most critically, money and volunteers. In addition it means I am committed to door knocking in what is currently Senate District 37B.
The account is held at the 1st State Bank of Rosemount under the title
“Wilfahrt for House Elect Committee”.
Should you find it in your interest to contribute, your check should be made payable to that name. You can mail your check to:
12707 Chinchilla Ave
Rosemount, MN 55068
You are allowed to donate in any amount up to and not exceeding $250 per individual. The initial balance is $500, comprising $250 each from my wife and me.
I am running on DFL ticket. To that end I declare myself fiscally conservative and socially progressive.
To the first point I offer the following evidence. We own our home free and clear. We put two of our children through college debt free. Aside from the revolving door of taxation we owe no one. In our leanest years we went without to achieve those ends.
To the second point; as you are aware last year in 2011 we lost our eldest son to an IED in Afghanistan. Had the GOP not put forward the Marriage Amendment for the 2012 ballot many of you would not know my name nor would you be receiving this beg letter.
Born and raised in New Ulm, MN.
Graduate of the UofM Morris, BA, Chemistry
I remain married to my high school sweetheart since 1978.
We had three children, the eldest of which is lost to us.
Our daughter is in graduate school at Cornell and enjoys a free ride due to her excellent academic efforts.
Our younger son is in graduate school at UNC, Chapel Hill and also enjoys a free ride due to his excellent academic efforts.
For 15 years I worked for 3M on the Maplewood Corporate Campus.
I took a buyout at the age of 39 in 1992 and went immediately back to work for 3M on a contract basis writing high end engineering software until 2003.
I have been self employed for most of the 19 intervening years. I am my own job creator.
My political philosophy:
My core philosophy is a paraphrase of the Wellstone statement; “Everyone does better when everyone does better.” We achieve the best of that through governance.
I believe in Government. It is what binds us as a society. It serves a critical function across the spectrum of our daily lives.
I believe in Labor, as in unionized. If you have benefits and the weekend off, thank the labor movement in this country in years gone by.
I believe in Education. To the point of boredom I have told our children that by definition half the population is below average (the ‘mean’ for you technocrats) and that our only hope is to raise the average.
I am definitely prochoice on the issue of abortion.
I am definitely supportive of the long overdue Equal Rights Amendment in the state constitution.
I am definitely supportive of a resolution to establish fairness on the issue of immigrants and their status.
I oppose the notion that government is our kitchen table and bound the trite idea that we must live within our means. Government to me is the lever by which we will lift ourselves upward and outward from this morass we are in.
I oppose Photo ID. As put more succinctly by others, this is a solution looking for a problem.
I oppose the marriage amendment.
I oppose the requirement of a super majority for tax increases.
Kurt Bills teaches economics here at Rosemount High School. Two if not all three of our children had him for classes in their high school years. He is popular with students and well known in the community. He won the last election with more than a 15% margin. He will be hard to beat, hence the need for money and support.
He is a tenther. In May of 2011 he introduced a bill which is still pending to allow the payment of all debts without taxation in silver or gold specie. In addition that bill advances the minting of coinage specific to MN. He also has a bill pending to expand the kill zone for home invasion. Needless to say he voted for the marriage amendment to be placed on the ballot. There is more but I leave it to the reader to investigate how far right this man is politically.
My staff and resources:
At this point the last DLFer to hold this specific seat (2008 – 2010), Phil Sterner, is functioning as my campaign manager. It is early and I will need to fill the role of treasurer and volunteer coordinator at a minimum.
There will be a web site and Facebook page eventually.
Please forward this email to anyone you feel can support this campaign.
I thank you for your consideration and support.
“Everyone deserves a good day!”
Steven M. Portner, Quito, EC, Oct, 2010