Meet Dan

Meet Dan

I was raised in Red Wing and from an early age, I was inspired by the public service of my parents and the election of the late Paul Wellstone, and I knew that I wanted to follow their example and serve my community. I was given that chance because of September 11, 2001. I entered college as a young man unsure of his place in the world but wanting, in some way to serve. As I watched the Pentagon burning, I had clarity that this was an opportunity where I could step-up to serve others. In the coming months after the terrorist attacks, I committed myself to military service, signing up for Army ROTC in college so I could do my part to protect the nation’s security. 

From 2005 through 2009, I served as an active duty soldier and completed two combat tours of duty as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom. In Iraq, I searched for roadside bombs and led a scout and sniper team that captured dangerous terrorists who threatened Americans and Iraqis alike, earning the Bronze Star for Service, the Army Commendation Medal with Valor, and the Ranger Tab. As I led 50 soldiers in Iraq, of different races, from different backgrounds, and with different political views, I saw that service unites people. Ultimately, all that mattered was that we shared a common purpose and mission to protect our country.

Even as my military duty was ending, I knew that my dedication to service was only beginning a new chapter. I felt a new calling to serve children at home as a teacher in high needs communities. On the week I left the Army in 2009, I began teaching first graders on Chicago’s south side, followed by two years spent as a middle school math teacher in Gary, Indiana. I experienced firsthand that Gary is a tough place to be but was an even tougher place to be from. The kids I taught were talented and hard-working but I saw how the failures of policies affected so many of them in their ability to learn, grow, and thrive. My experience as a soldier and teacher taught me the enormous impact public policy has on the lives of everyday people, and I became determined to use that wisdom as a policymaker.

For the third time, I asked to serve and joined the Department of Defense, eventually becoming an acting Assistant Secretary of Defense in the Pentagon. In that position, I worked tirelessly to ensure that our millions of service members were ready to fight, and that they had the tools to lead a quality life as veterans after their service was over. I worked closely and continually with Congress to make sure new policies and laws made sense and had the best impact possible. It was in this role that I learned that the best policies were made not by just working with people who agreed with me, but actively working and partnering with those who had different visions of how to improve people’s lives. It is in this role that it became solidified, Republicans, Democrats, and Independents may disagree on the issues, but when we work together and we are united in a commitment to put people first, we can create and enact policies that improve people’s lives.

After finishing my service with President Obama, I came back to Minnesota. Since coming back home, I have worked with the Farmers Union to create solutions on the mental health crisis facing our farmers and rural communities.

Why I'm Running

My wife Amy, an elementary school teacher, and I live in Mankato and we are raising our three children — Conor, Declan, and Maeve — in the same southern Minnesota that instilled the value of service in me. My children go to public school in Mankato and we face the same challenges and joys so many families across southern Minnesota have: driving our kids to soccer practice, figuring out how we pay our bills, and wanting to build a strong, supportive community for our kids. I’m running to continue my service to this country and build a better future for all southern Minnesota families.

Today, the issues facing southern Minnesota are complex and challenging. But we cannot solve these problems until we have a representative who puts people first, not corporate special interests. That is why I am refusing all money from corporations and corporate PACs and instead I will be an independent voice who fights for policies that improve the lives of people right here in southern Minnesota.

That is why I am fighting to make sure that every southern Minnesotan has affordable, accessible, and high-quality health care and prescription drugs. That is why I am fighting for our farmers by ending Washington’s disastrous trade policies and finding new markets throughout the world and here at home. That is why I am fighting to strengthen early education, K-12 education, and post-secondary education and finding opportunities to increase union apprenticeships so we can bolster our economy for working families and ensure everyone has a fair shot on a level-playing field in southern Minnesota.

Finally, in foreign and defense policy, I will do whatever it takes to keep our country safe and secure. That is why I will lead an effort to bring new Congressional oversight to our unending war on terrorism which will ensure our service members are only sent into harm’s way with a clear mission and when it’s absolutely necessary. What’s more, I will work to help our veterans find empowering opportunities after their military service has concluded.

Our southern Minnesotan communities are at their strongest when we know we all belong, when we serve each other, and when we put people first. And our country is at its strongest when America can be counted on to lead by example. It is critical that our Members of Congress embody that spirit of leadership, and I plan to do just that as your representative, a responsibility I would consider the honor of a lifetime.

Contribute to Dan's Campaign

As a fifth generation Minnesotan, I have spent more than a decade working to defend and serve the people of this state .

Contribute to Dan's Campaign

As a fifth generation Minnesotan, I have spent more than a decade working to defend and serve the people of this state .