Help wanted: Senate District 9 has an opening

Tom West - West Words

West Words by Tom West

Help Wanted: Senate District 9 has an opening for a leader of mankind to serve in the Minnesota Senate.

Term: This is a temporary position. The successful applicant will begin work on approximately Jan. 2, 2013, and be guaranteed employment until early January, 2017.

Compensation: To be determined by the current Legislature, which has set its own salaries at $31,140 plus per diem of $86/day while on state business. Per diem for this position will total about $11,000-$12,000 annually.

Hiring Committee: All adults over age 18 living within Senate District 9 which includes all but two townships of Morrison County, all of Todd County and parts of Cass and Wadena counties. Of these, a fourth will pay you no attention whatsoever, a fourth will do everything they can think of to keep you from getting the job, and a fourth will do everything they can think of to help you get the job. The remaining fourth will decide if you get the job.

Supervisors: The 79,163 residents of District 9. Of these, approximately a fourth will pay you no attention whatsoever, a fourth will hate everything you do in performing the responsibilities of this job and a fourth will defend your performance even when they think you are crazy. The remaining fourth will decide if you should be rehired for another four years, should you so choose.

Residency requirements: The successful applicant will have lived within the state of Minnesota for one year and within the boundaries of District 9 for six months. The applicant will also be a qualified voter in the state.

Qualifications: None, actually.

However, experience has shown that those most likely to succeed in this position will have the following attributes:

• An affinity for attending church suppers, charity benefits and wedding receptions.

• An ability to express yourself in such a way that you sound more intelligent than 99 percent of your neighbors on any subject including barking dogs, light bulbs and credit swap derivatives.

• A belief that you actually know more than your neighbors on one or two of those subjects.

• An ability to maintain your composure while having your character picked up by the scruff of the neck, turned upside down and shaken to see if anything that even remotely looks like a scandal falls out.

• A stoicism or singularity of purpose that allows you to maintain focus even when whom you married, whom you didn’t marry, where you married, when you married, how many times you married and the ages of your children will all be questioned.

• A family that will support you even if your darkest secrets are exposed.

• An automobile in good working order that will allow you to drive to St. Paul and back once or twice per week for three or five months each year on business, and that will take you to the far corners of District 9 in search of friendship and understanding.

• A willingness to attend the meetings of the four county boards, 36 city councils, 83 townships, and 14 school boards in District 9 at least once annually and sometimes more to explain what you have been doing on their behalf.

• An ability to make every well-meaning constituent believe that he or she carries the wisdom of Socrates, no matter how cockamamie his or her suggestion may be.

• A determination to battle with the most intransigent members of the state bureaucracy every day on behalf of your constituents.

• An ability to bore down through the minutiae of state statutes and legislative bills to find the ticking political bombshells before they blow up in your face.

• A tendency to smile at the sight of any face, even those of your greatest mortal enemies.

• A shamelessness that allows you to ask not only your best friends but passing acquaintances for money.

• No irritation at being called “senator” by people who otherwise don’t know your name.

• An ability to find totally dedicated, world-class experts on campaign finance and volunteer organizing to run your campaign. It also helps to find someone willing to replace lawn signs up to a half dozen times at the same location.

To use the words of the British author/poet Rudyard Kipling, “If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you, …

“Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies, or being hated, don’t give way to hating,…

“If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools …” then you have a decent chance of becoming a pretty good legislator.

That said, if you would like to apply, we suggest that you contact your DFL or Republican county chair to seek their advice and counsel. You can still apply without their help, but you may want to first put an ear to the soil to determine if you can hear the first rumblings of a groundswell of support.

Timeline for hiring: The deadline for applications is June 5, but the successful candidate will begin immediately to demonstrate that he/she has all of the qualities listed above.

Even if an incumbent senator moves into the District 9, as Sen. Paul Gazelka says he will, for now it is an open seat. The Hiring Committee will narrow the list of candidates on Aug. 14, and will make its final decision on Nov. 6. District 9 is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

Tom West is the editor and general manager of the Record. He may be reached at (320) 632-2345 or by e-mail at tom.west@mcrecord.com.

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