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Rausch’s run continues quest for truth

Chris Rausch, gop, election, 2024
Chris Rausch
Third GOP candidate to seek House 19B
Kay Fate, Staff Writer

COVID did a lot of things to a lot of people. For Chris Rausch, it turned him into a reluctant politician.

He’s making his second run at a seat in the Minnesota Legislature with a bid at House District 19B, currently held by Rep. John Petersburg, R-Waseca.

But back in 2020, the Burnsville native who moved with his family to Owatonna about a year ago – “one of the best decisions we’ve ever made” – said the whole world was asking what was true about the virus.

“I started having some questions,” Rausch said. “I’m a question-asker; I’m a truth-seeker – and I just want everyone at the table to see the truth on the table. It’s not about getting my own way.”

It was time to attend a caucus.

There, he listened and learned and gained “an understanding of the current structure of our government and how it works – and no one is standing up,” Rausch said. “I thought of my family, and I refuse to leave problems that I might have an ability to do something about.”

So he challenged Sen. Matt Klein (DFL-Mendota Heights) in District 53 in 2022, losing by about 6,500 votes in a DFL stronghold.

He thought at the time – still does, he said – that he was capable of making a real difference.

“I know that every one of us has the ability to go and legislate,” Rausch said. “We can all sit at the table; things like deciding about buildings roads or water treatment plants or new apartments – that’s not hard.

“But I really do believe we’re in a battle for the soul of this country,” he said. “There’s always wrongs in every culture, in every society – mishaps, and I believe that comes from when good men don’t stand up.”

People are valuable, Rausch said, “and meaning is very important: Why we do things, how we do things and how we treat people and steward our neighbors and our families and our jobs is a huge thing for me.”

One of the biggest challenges about running for office, he said, comes at candidate forums and other events.

“They give you 180 seconds to answer incredibly complex, matrix-layered questions,” Rausch said. “It’s not fair to the listener to try to give an answer.

“We’re talking a lot about symptoms in our world and government and society, and we’re not talking about the real conversation,” he said. “We’re struggling with heart.”

Disagreeing about topics has sparked “a spirit of fear in this country to have conversations. There’s a spirit of dread. We don’t discuss (difficult) things,” Rausch said. “To have hard conversations and not be intimidated by those conversations, and not go into them with closed ears, is challenging. It also requires listening.

“I don’t think we’re very philosophical as a country anymore; we’re very led by what we hear and regurgitate,” he said.

“Things are charged and very biased; there’s an agenda,” he said of politics and politicians. “There’s a lot of money at stake, there’s a lot of lobbying going on – on both sides of the aisle, 100%.”

But everyone is a leader, “in different capacities and different seasons,” Rausch said. “I’m not here to rule over anybody. It’s not hard to listen to our community and get in the room with business owners” and listen.

“You can’t solve anything unless you understand the problems,” he said. “Culture is so label-heavy; people don’t realize they’re actually identifying with principles and ideals. They don’t take the time to sit and understand what those mean.”

Rausch believes “government should be out of our lives; I think we should be conducting our lives in a moral fashion. Morality comes with an understanding that we don’t have all the answers,” he said.

“I’m not going to paint a fake picture for somebody,” Rausch said. “You can’t solve the backward ideas about spending unless you understand the stewardship of people’s lives. You can’t benefit one group of people by compromising another or taking from another; that is not stewarding or honoring all walks of life.

“Benefits need to be for every person, and you don’t get that by complicating things; you get it by simplifying things,” he said.

Then Rausch said something you don’t hear from many candidates:

“I don’t want votes; I want trust,” he said. “One of my favorite things Billy Graham ever said was, ‘where is the hope?’

“Hopefully somebody can see something inside me that will inspire them.”

Rausch joins GOP candidates Mick Ditlevson and Taylor Zinkel in the race for Petersburg’s seat.

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