Keeping it real at the Capitol

Emily Bialkowski
Argus Managing Editor

Yes, yes, yes. Secretary of State Mark Ritchie seems to be keeping it real at the Capitol.

By now you’ve read he visited Caledonia on Sept. 19 during the Houston County Township Officers Association Banquet. During his speech he said things like, “I want to make sure our rural communities have a voice in our democracy.”

He talked about our responsibilities now for times we’ll never see. He said, “If you love this place, take care of this place, which includes participating in the political process.”

Who talks like that today?

Well, a man who cares deeply for the welfare of the citizens of Minnesota and the United States.

The office of the Secretary of State is kind of obscure unless you’re attempting an international adoption, starting a business or you take interest in the election process. Those are the three main functions of the office.

Ritchie is nationally recognized for his elections work. In 2008 Ritchie presided over the most publicly scrutinized recount in the history of the United States Senate, the election contest of Al Franken and Norm Coleman. He also learned a thing or two about working with the Pentagon after pushing for easier ways for Minnesota’s military personnel to vote.

He inspired his audience of rural supervisors by saying, “As the nation urbanizes that results in fewer representatives in the government. Our voice must remain strong and even get stronger. It needs to become more unified, more articulate, more visionary and more grounded.”

He’s not fancy, stuffy or presumptuous. He looks you in the eye when introduced and wants all Minnesotans – new, old and everything in between – to know they are welcome at polling places on Election Day.

“As a society we decided there are things we need to do together,” he said. The simplicity of his message, about caring for our state and country, touches a universal chord about freedom.

He did not express favor, or a lack thereof, toward the proposed Constitutional Amendment that would require a photo ID for voting. He didn’t have to.

He said – and not lightly, mind you – Minnesota has the best elections process in place in the nation. Politicians from all over the country swoon over Minnesota’s turnout ratios.

He strongly encouraged all attendees to actually read the constitutional amendment before voting because what you’ll see on the ballot is not what will actually be put into the State’s most sovereign document.

Visit for more information.


You can contact Emily Bialkowski at [email protected]