These past few months have been a stressful time for students across southern Minnesota. Many of us were furloughed or laid off, but unable to receive any aid from the stimulus. A stimulus check even arrived in the mail for my deceased grandfather, and yet I and many of my peers with rent, student loans, and other bills to pay received nothing.
Many have continued going to work at essential jobs, working for wages close to minimum wage and with heightened concerns about their health and safety on the job. Many seniors I know are graduating without a ceremony into a job market where they are struggling to find meaningful work that will get them ahead in their lives.
The transition to remote learning has also been particularly challenging for some students. I have a cousin who had to drive to a church in the nearest town to do his school work because the internet options at their family’s farm were not adequate or affordable.
While I am dismayed with the blame, division and political showmanship some politicians are displaying, Dan Feehan’s efforts to listen and unite gives me hope. Instead of ignoring students’ he has met with student governments and supported voices of students like Winona State’s Ben Ellgen advocating for our needs. He has done the same for small business owners, healthcare workers, farmers, and others currently struggling.
Crisis has a way of revealing leadership, testing whether we can rise above fear, work together, and show everyone matters.
Feehan has proven himself as that leader and I know that as our representative he will leave no one behind.