Notes From The Capital: December 2018


On the last day of 2018, I’m thinking about the past year, and all that’s happened.

People tend to use two phrases to describe what this year has been like for me: “whirlwind” and “hit the ground running.”

The whirlwind was showing up in Washington almost exactly a year ago to meet with my new colleagues and staff, have dinner with Al and Franni, and, amazingly, find a place to live in an hour and a half. The whirlwind was the hundreds of meetings with Minnesotans—there were times when I fit 17 different meetings into one day. The whirlwind was going to dozens and dozens of committee hearings, helping pass the strong, bipartisan Farm Bill and bipartisan legislation to address the opioid epidemic into law, and hosting my first Minnesota Congressional Hotdish Competition. I only wish I could have slowed the whirlwind down and remember every single minute.

Sometimes when people say, “you really hit the ground running,” I remember the time when I was a Senate intern in Washington, and I literally fell down the Capitol steps in my hurry, papers flying, grateful that I was wearing pants that day. That’s what it has felt like sometimes as a new Senator. There was the time I went off to find lunch and ended up in a corner of the basement in the Russell office building, completely confused about where I was. Or the time one of my colleagues from a southern state, as we were riding up in the “Senators Only” elevator, smiled at me and said, “you must be a big Packers fan!” I smiled back and said, “well, I’m actually partial to the Vikings!” He looked befuddled—another case of mistaken identity.

I’m most proud of the thousands of constituent questions we answered and problems we helped solve. And if hitting the ground running means that I ran my heart out to accomplish good things for Minnesota, even in a year when most people said nothing could get done in Washington, then yes, I did hit the ground running.

I wish you all a joyful New Year. I’ve been gathering my strength and purpose for the year ahead, and hope you have too. We are all going to need it!