By Lydia Glen
Aric Putnam announced on Monday, Nov. 6 that he will be joining the race for the Minnesota District 14A House seat.
Next year’s election will determine the outcome of two CSB/SJU professors, Aric
Putnam and Jim Read. Putnam is running for a seat in the Minnesota state legislature representing District 14A, which includes South and Northwest St. Cloud, St. Augusta and Waite Park. Read, on the other hand, is running for the District 6 Minnesota State Legislature seat.
At CSB/SJU, Putnam spends his time teaching classes within the Communication Department, with a primary focus in the history of rhetoric in politics and rhetoric relating to race.
Although being a professor does not specifically give Putnam an advantage in his campaign, he believes his background in rhetoric does.
“A lot of politicians depend on their party for talking points and research. I bring a new independence to the job of legislator because I don’t need that,” Putnam said.
Putnam’s extensive educational background has given him a basis for research in politics, as well as methods for reaching a communicating with members of his home district.
Putnam ran for the first time in the last election cycle and was defeated by Republican Tama Theis, who has held the seat since 2013 and is currently serving her third term. In that election cycle, Putnam won 46 percent of the vote, but ultimately lost to Theis. However, 46 percent of the vote is the best a Democrat has ever achieved in the conservative stronghold of St. Cloud.
Aric Putnam originally ran for office in 2016 in lieu of the endorsed candidate when the endorsed candidate had to drop out of the race at the last minute. Putnam was approached by a friend and was asked to run for office, leaving him six months to prepare for the election.
“I don’t tolerate mediocrity or complacency in myself or others,” Putnam said.
Putnam is involved in the community of St. Cloud, presenting at workshops for teachers and volunteering in the area. If elected to office, Putnam would continue to advocate for educational reform in the St. Cloud Area School Districts, campaign finance and legislative reform and affordability and accessibility of healthcare within Minnesota.
“As I see it, the biggest difference between how I would do the job and how most incumbents do it is that I would bring new energy, transparency and accountability to the position,” Putnam said.
He would also work to make sure everyone within St. Cloud has a voice through monthly town hall meetings.
Several CSB/SJU students are also involved in the campaign, including senior
Emily Dosch, who will be interning on Aric Putnam’s campaign next semester.
“I was inspired to intern for [Putnam] because he’s not afraid to voice his opinion on issues and back his words up with actions. In the classroom and personally he has taught me how we can personally impact the world around us,” Dosch said.
Dosch will primarily be planning and facilitating events, as well as helping increase awareness of Putnam’s campaign in the St. Cloud area and on campus at CSB/SJU. The first event of his campaign will be held from 5-7 p.m. on Nov. 13, 2017 at Beaver Island Brewery in St. Cloud.