Sullivan throws his hat into the ring for Walz seat

Published 7:35 am Thursday, August 3, 2017

A Mankato resident became the seventh DFLer to file for election for the 1st Congressional District seat on Tuesday.

Joe Sullivan, 42, said he is running for Congress after working for southern Minnesota his entire career.

“We have great schools, a strong agricultural foundation, great parks and trails and a spirit of getting stuff done,” he said in a press release announcing his decision. “Southern Minnesota offers opportunity.”

Joe Sullivan, 42

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Sullivan said his priorities are affordable education, health care, improving infrastructure and building on the region’s agricultural base.

“I believe in a politics that is focused on fairness and providing opportunity for everyone, no matter what their station in life,” he said. “My career has been about building and investing for the future, and that’s what I want to keep doing in Congress for southern Minnesota.”

Sullivan — who has taken a leave of absence as manager of strategic relations at the Center for Energy and Environment to focus on the campaign — said 1st District constituents want candidates to understand their concerns, listen and be civil.

“I really think that [voters wanted] civility and listening and being respectful to not just other DFLers and citizens, but being respectful to members of the other party,” he said. “Civil discourse — I think that’s a really big thing.”

Sullivan said he has worked for the law firm Flaherty & Hood on a number of rural development issues for the wind industry as manager of state policy.

With the Center for Energy and the Environment, he focused on advancing policies that support energy efficiency and the state’s growing green economy,” the press release stated.

Sullivan said his vision is “to build a stronger southern Minnesota. It is based on helping people and communities with the tools they need to succeed. That is the story of southern Minnesota’s success.”

Sullivan and his wife, Kara, have two young daughters. He said he was inspired to run when he visited Arlington Cemetery during Memorial Day Weekend.

“As I am walking through the cemetery, you can’t help but be struck by all of the people who have died for this country and sacrificed for this country,” he said. “In that moment, I said, ‘I have to take action. I have to be apart of this’ … Our politics today is beneath the sacrifice of these people, and that’s why I am running.”

About Sam Wilmes

Sam Wilmes covers crime, courts and government for the Albert Lea Tribune.

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