By Chris Baldus, Austin Daily Herald - I don’t usually do this, but this is a special case.
Well, here goes: Hi Grandma! I’m in your newspaper!
That’s right, I’m kind of dorky.
Edith Baxter is my grandmother. I love her dearly. She has lived in Austin as long as I’ve been alive, and like I can say about so many people in my life, she had a profound effect on me.
The story she likes to tell about me was about when she was my babysitter. I think I was maybe 3. I don’t remember. I just go by what she tells me.
The situation was I would not stay in the fenced back yard. I kept sneaking out and she kept catching me. Finally, she said, she paddled me. I was done escaping, mostly because I was keeping my eye on her.
I suppose that was when I first developed a healthy suspicion of authority. By the time I was 9 , I think it was that and comics that led me to want to be a reporter. The best superheroes worked for newspapers, and they had no problem getting past fences.
Another thing I don’t do a lot of is write much about me, mostly because I prefer to report about you and hear from you. It’s no accident that this column is below a letter from the Logtermans. This is your community newspaper. We want you to share with us your news, photos and opinions.
Jim Hagedorn, a Republican candidate for Congress in the 1st District, stopped into the Daily Herald office this week, making him the first Minnesota politician I’ve been in the same room with since Gov. Jesse Ventura gave a speech on Law Day in Stillwater, Minn. I was the editor of the Gazette back then. He took the podium that day and announced he would take questions from anyone but the media.
I was the only media there. He was much more chatty during his campaign. We’d only talked on the phone, so surely he didn’t recognize me.
Mr. Hagedorn is beginning his third consecutive attempt to win the 1st District. He talked about the need to protect the family farmer and the problems caused by Obamacare.
Now I’m not really all that partisan, but I tried to impress on him that rising premiums, deductibles and medical costs in general are nothing new. They were happening before the Affordable Care Act as well.
I know the carping about Obamacare by heart. We need a new conversation.
That said, Mr Hagedorn did offer health savings accounts with backup catastrophic care insurance as a partial solution. He also supports competition in the health market across state lines.
The election is not until 2018. Maybe the discussion will improve by then.
The Austin Daily Herald is going to join more than 200 Minnesota newspapers in making a statement about local journalism on Monday. It will be unlike anything I have ever seen in 26 years in newspapering. It should stick out.