Congressional candidate Dan Feehan is taking a positive approach to politics
WORTHINGTON - It's just over a year until the 2018 election cycle, and some races are so crowded with a multitude of announced candidates that it's hard to know who is who.
Dan Feehan, one of eight Democratic candidates for the First Congressional District seat, is taking an interesting and positive approach to getting to know possible constituents - he calls it Service Saturdays, in which he takes on community service projects around the area.
"The country is in a fragile state, and the combative political mode makes it worse," Feehan said last week during a stop in Worthington. "I want to create positive energy."
The Service Saturdays show that we, as people, take care of each other, Feehan said. He has helped paint a daycare center in Austin, and worked at a food bank in Rochester this past weekend. He's looking for service projects in southern Minnesota to carry on the positive vibes.
Feehan, who said he plans to abide by the endorsement process as the election rolls closer, grew up in Red Wing and after 9/11 joined the U.S. Army, during which he did two combat tours as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He then joined Americorps as a middle school math teacher, working with underserved children.
"I wanted to keep serving people," he said. "I needed to keep serving."
He also wanted to be part of the policy's that impact people's lives, using the lessons he had learned in life. There's good policy, he said, bad policy and sometimes no policy, and the last two can be equally as destructive.
To that end, he went to work at the Pentagon as the Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense.
The decision to run for Congress came because he wants to continue with public service, he said. He's used to working with Congress, and believes that it has to be a co-equal branch of government.
When it comes to the issues he is passionate about, Feehan says it's not about what he's against.
"It's 'What are you for?'" he said. "And I'm about getting things done."
He said his top priorities are health care, the rural economy and national security. He wants universal, affordable health care for everyone. He wants middle class growth that keeps kids here and a farm economy that allows young people to get into farming. And he wants national security that is not based on how much is spent, but about how it is used.
"Like a doctor, you start with the basic principal of 'do no harm,'" he explained. "The idea that you focus on solutions. You look at the consequences and ask yourself what the impact is."
When it comes to the contentious issue of immigration, Feehan said there currently is no system - no line. Immigrants are part of the continuity and fabric of our country, he said, and to willfully turn them away is not the right answer because they are economically important.
"And building a wall is not feasible and impractical," he added.
Feehan now makes his home in North Mankato.