By Megan Gavin
MNA Education Specialist
I’ve knocked a few doors in my life, but this weekend I had the best conversations with voters I’ve ever had!
I talked to one man in his early 30s who wasn’t sure who he was voting for. I told him why I was supporting DFL State Rep. Erin Murphy for Governor. I asked this voter what issues mattered to him. He started by saying immigration. He talked about his work and said that it relied on immigrants’ labor. He was concerned about the efforts to curb immigration. He paused, and then he asked me if I knew Erin’s position on, in his words, “protecting his marriage.” I listened as he explained to me that some people don’t want him to be able to stay with his partner. He was worried about what might happen to marriage equality at the national level.
Oh, I do know where Erin stands. Not only does Erin wholeheartedly support marriage equality, her running mate, state Rep. Erin Maye Quade, understands exactly how this voter feels. Her relationship with her wife is threatened by political leaders across the country. It’s no longer sufficient to elect people who are merely sympathetic. We need politicians whose governing is informed by their lived experiences, such as this one.
Erin has spoken about one particular experience as an operating room nurse on a transplant team. As the procedure was ending, Erin told the surgeon they were missing a sponge and not to close the patient’s incision before finding it. The doctor refused to examine the patient and instead insisted that Erin search the room, including digging through the trash. As Erin spoke to our group, the room was silent as this smart, powerful woman stood on a stage in front of hundreds of people to tell her own, belittling story about a man instructing her to crawl around the floor.
Ultimately, they found the sponge, and, as Erin had predicted, it was located in the patient’s incision. Sponges left inside a patient are serious medical errors that can cause death. Erin saved that patient’s life while enduring the disrespect of the surgeon questioning her judgment and humiliating her in the process.
If we want to remedy the injustices that women, people of color, the LGBTQ community, or any of our fellow Minnesotans face, then we need members of those communities in positions of power. It’s not enough to elect people who say they stand against racism, sexism, homophobia, or Islamophobia. Instead we need to elect women, people of color, LGBTQ Minnesotans, and Muslims. Only then we will truly have a government of the people.
We cannot continue to elect people who represent our exclusion and hope that they will remember us in their governing. We deserve a turn at governing ourselves. It is long, long overdue that we elect women to the highest offices in Minnesota.
We have an opportunity to make history by electing Erin Murphy as our next Governor and Erin Maye Quade as our Lieutenant Governor. Erin and Erin are my Minnesota future. Join me in sending them to the Governor’s office on August 14!