My Story

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I got into this work by accident … or maybe it was destiny.  Nothing else seems to explain 35 years as an introvert as organizer. 

Raised rural and Republican, the son of a Lutheran minister and elementary school reading teacher, I found somewhere in the mix of small town smallness and the Beatitudes my streak of rebellion, sense of fairness, and passion for organizing, teaching and learning.

I was politicized organizing street demonstrations in Washington DC for the peace movement in 1981, during the first year of President Reagan.  The poverty, racism, government surveillance and repression I witnessed that year made me profoundly angry.  Angry at unfairness.  Angry at the government and its leaders.  And angry because deep down I knew that it didn’t have to be this way.

That rage has since turned to outrage – both moral and hopeful – and my anger to a strategic anger focused on righting what is wrong. My friend and political mentor, Paul Wellstone, taught me that anger can be a fuel for positive change when grounded in the values that "we all do better when we all do better.”

For the past 35 years I’ve brought my passion and experience as a labor, community and electoral organizer to helping progressive organizers and leaders develop the vision, strategies, skills, messages and stories - the power - needed to win something better.

When I am not traveling I live and work out of a century farm in Esko, MN, just south of Duluth MN and the Canadian border - the Midwest's "San Francisco" with a view you can afford.