By MaryHelen Swanson
Young, old, in between, friendly, not quite so friendly, banners, signs and even a tiny dog were part of the scene outside Congressman Chip Cravaack’s North Branch office Wednesday afternoon.
With the announcement of new redistricting maps Tuesday, Democrats across Dist. 8 decided to hold a protest.
They wanted to draw attention to the fact that no matter how the lines are drawn, Rep. Chip Cravaack does not live in Minnesota’s 8th District.
It was their intent to highlight Rep. Cravaack’s absence from the district and the importance of having a Congressperson who is open and accessible.
Learning of this rally, local Republicans decided to join the Democrats on the public sidewalk with their own banners and signs., many denoting the public events that the Congressman has conducted in the 8th district.
The air was brisk as the sun headed west and the conversation, between sides, at time, was also.
“It’s not about where you own your house, ” said Jon Stignani from Lindstrom, “it’s what you do in Congress.”
But Democrat Dennis Johnson reminded this reporter that the Republicans “blasted” Congressman Jim Oberstar for not living in the district.
The signs held by Democratic protesters pointed out that Minnesota does not equal New Hampshire, referring to the fact that Cravaack’s wife and children are living in that state. Cravaack’s camp said he has a home across the freeway in North Branch.
The signs drew honks from the many passing cars on Main Street. The rally extended to both sides of the street as more supporters of both sides appeared after the 5 p.m. scheduled start.
Democratic rallies were expected to be held held in Duluth, Cloquet, Hibbing, Virginia, Ely, Grand Rapids, International Falls and Brainerd.
Photos by MaryHelen Swanson