From: Sen. Jeremy Miller



Darrell Downs, a professor at Winona State University, is back at it again with another letter. I’m not sure why he is so fascinated by me, but I guess it is what it is. There are hyperpartisan folks like Downs on both sides of the aisle. Whether it’s a letter to the editor, attacks on social media, or the disrespectful handwritten note on a Winona County DFL postcard I received after the election, some people find satisfaction in attempting to further divide our society by making negative, and in Downs’ case false, comments about others.

The attacks got so bad this past election cycle that one day my boys came home from school after being mocked on the school bus by another student whose parents were talking about me at home. Rather than whining or complaining, the boys stayed positive and told me they stood up for me in a respectful way. I often tell my boys to be nice and respectful to others, and while they certainly have their moments, I couldn’t have been more proud of how they handled the situation. 

Negative attacks by Downs and others could easily discourage or slow me down, but instead, they motivate me to keep working hard and help me stay focused on making things happen. We probably all know someone who talks negatively about others and thinks their way is the only way. While some may find satisfaction in this type of behavior, it would make me miserable.

My approach is to bring people together and work toward consensus. Differing views and respectful dialogue is healthy and usually leads to better outcomes. I’ve had a tremendous amount of success, both in and out of the legislature, with this strategy. But this type of success doesn’t just happen. It takes hard work, determination, and the ability to work with others. It takes setting goals and learning from mistakes. It happens with something I call grit.

You see, my parents taught me that if I wanted something, I had to work hard and figure out a way to get it done, because if I didn’t, someone else would. Through life experiences, I’ve also learned the importance of building relationships and being respectful to others. While people like Darrell Downs strive to divide, I’ll continue to strive each and every day to make things happen. 

It’s an honor to serve in the State Senate, and I’ll continue working together to help make southeastern Minnesota an even better place to live, work, and raise a family.