By Chuck Hunt, Faribault County Register - While the next state and federal election is more than a year away, two Blue Earth 'native sons' are already busy running for public office.
Both have several things in common, but the one main factor is that both were born in Blue Earth.
Jim Hagedorn was born in Blue Earth in 1962, while Phillip C. Parrish was born in the hospital in Blue Earth in 1965.
Both men did not stick around town for long. But while Hagedorn moved back to his hometown several years ago, Parrish is a resident of Kenyon, Minnesota.
Hagedorn, the son of Thomas and Kathleen Hagedorn, moved a year after his birth to Truman to grow up on the family farm. His grandparents, Fred and Viola Mittelstadt and Pete and Elaine Hagedorn, were all life-long residents of Blue Earth.
After living most of his adult life in the Washington, D.C., area, Hagedorn returned home to Blue Earth and ran for the First Congressional District against DFL incumbent Tim Walz not once, but twice.
In the Nov. 4, 2014 election, Hagedorn, a Republican, lost to Walz 122,851 to 103,536, or 54.2 percent to 45.7 percent.
Hagedorn challenged Walz again in the Nov. 8, 2016 election and lost by a much closer margin, 169,074 to 166,526, or 50.3 percent to 49.6 percent.
Almost immediately after the election loss, Hagedorn declared his intention to run against Walz a third time in the next election, set for Nov. 6, 2018.
However, if Hagedorn does win the Republican nomination, he will not be facing off against Walz for a third time.
The reason? Walz has announced his intention to not run for the Congress again, but instead has tossed his hat into the political ring to run for governor of Minnesota. With the retirement of Gov. Mark Dayton (who actually is unable by state law to run for another term), Walz will face off against a host of other contenders who have announced intentions to run.
In fact, there are six DFL candidates, including Walz, and five Republican candidates saying they want the job as well.
One of those Republican candidates for governor is Blue Earth native Phillip Parrish.
Parrish was born in Blue Earth, the son of Rodney and Sandy Parrish, both teachers. His father, Rodney, was a teacher in the Frost School District. But after a short time, the Parrishes moved to Olivia, where Phillip Parrish attended kindergarten.
The next move was to Medford where his father was a teacher for close to 40 years.
Parrish is a graduate of West Concord High School (now combined into Triton High School) as well as Mankato State University (now called Minnesota State University, Mankato).
Parrish became a teacher like his parents, with a focus on math, music and civics.
He also has served in the U.S. Navy Reserve as an Intelligence Specialist, and was deployed and traveled in Europe and Afghanistan.
While he has never held public office of any kind, Parrish did run for the U.S. Senate for Minnesota in 2014, and gathered 17 percent of the vote.
He calls himself a "mustang" and if elected governor of the state, he has plans to shake things up a bit.
"I have no time for so-called back-room deals, too much bureaucracy or political shenanigans," Parrish said in an interview with the Faribault County Register. "I will treat everyone politely and with respect, but I will hold true to my beliefs."
He says government has shown a lack of respect for the regular citizens of the country, and that needs to change.
Parrish thinks his status as a political outsider will work to his advantage come election time in 2018. And, despite the crowded field of potential candidates for governor, he feels his chances for election are as good as the others.
He formally announced his candidacy this past January and filed the proper financial statements. He has been campaigning and raising funds since then.
In fact, he was holding a campaign rally in Kenyon on Sunday, July 9.
While both of these men didn't actually grow up in Blue Earth, they both happily list Blue Earth as their place of birth.