Secretary candidate visits Austin

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 22, 2002

The campaign literature announces "Buck Humphrey brings a new voice and new ideas to an office in need of direction."

Not exactly.

Close one's eyes and the voice reminds of his grandfather, Hubert H. Humphrey.

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The long answers to questions are reminiscent of his father, Skip Humphrey.

And, who is to say, this Humphrey's so-called new ideas were championed by two previous generations of family. For instance, putting the public's interest back in public service.

But, voters can listen and then decide on this third generation Humphrey.

The secretary of state candidate visited Austin Tuesday on an early campaign swing through southern Minnesota.

He visited with the Mower County Auditor Woody Vereide and Mower County Recorder Susan Davis among other courthouse officials.

He wants to listen to them and learn how the secretary of state can make government more user-friendly.

He wants Mary Kiffmeyer's job, who he claims has allowed the state's rich tradition of leading the nation in innovative ways to encourage full participation in

the electoral process.

Humphrey, 32, is not his father's nor grandfather's reincarnation. He is, he will tell listeners, his own man.

"The tradition that my family has, especially in public service, is one that I firmly believe in and I really, firmly believe that public service is the highest calling," he said

"A fellow asked me the other day if us Humphreys ever made an honest living and I told him public service is the most honest living of them all," he said.

For over a year, Humphrey has been campaigning for the Secretary of State office. A visit from Humphrey is a lesson in civics. "Government is 'us.' It's 'we.' It's not 'them.' We have to

get away from consumerism government; that it's doing something to us or for us, but that it's actually public work and we all have to strive to engage in our self-governance each and every day."

Kiffmeyer's push to make voting more convenient through optical scanning voting machines instead of paper ballots only serves those who impatiently await the results; not the citizens who vote.

Humphrey says the costs of optical scanning machines prohibits some township and counties from purchasing them.

However, Humphrey would like to see kiosk voting or early voting, as well as Internet voting, to "enfranchise more people" into government.

Also he differs from Kiffmeyer's assertion fewer people vote because of

her worries of fraud.

"My first question would be to ask 'Why aren't you bringing that to the attention of county attorneys and why aren't they prosecuting it," said Humphrey.

"I do not want to get rid of the institution of the voting precinct," he said. "I think it is paramount to the fabric of America and of Minnesota. I think that voting has to be a very serious, dutiful responsibility that people feel compelled to vote."

"But I also believe that because you don't vote you get that right taken away. It's a Constitutional right and not a privilege like hunting or fishing or driving."

Lee Bonorden can be contacted at 434-2232 or by e-mail at :mailto: