Cara Schulz, past PNC co-editor, has been a door knocking candidate for the Burnsville City Council the past year. After qualifying in the primary to oppose the two incumbents up for election, she has risen steadily in the local polls.October 23rd an incumbent supporter posted a letter to the “Sun” Paper editor (also check the comments) titled “intriguing information on cara schulz”. I have to wonder what the “intrigue” was?
Cara responded: “The letter wasn’t explicitly degrading towards Pagan religions, but it’s clear the motive was to induce fear and sensationalism about my religious beliefs and encourage people to vote for my opponents specifically because they aren’t Pagans. ”
“Ms. Erickson also intimates she uncovered my religion through research, as if my religion is something I’ve tried to hide. That’s a laughable position to take, especially after listing how openly involved I am in my religious community. What I haven’t done, which many persons running for office feel compelled to do, is to make my religion part of my campaign. Religion is irrelevant to a person’s fitness for public office and is private. I view this similar to not giving out much information about my husband or son in my campaign. This doesn’t mean I’m not ridiculously proud of my family, just that they aren’t running for office and their ages or accomplishments are irrelevant to my fitness to serve on Burnsville’s City Council.”
“I called on my opponents, incumbents Dan Kealey and Bill Coughlin, to denounce the letter as it was written on their behalf by their supporter. So far Mr. Coughlin has not only refused to denounce it, he appears to be promoting it by emailing it to his supporters immediately after it was published. Mr. Kealey has remained silent on the matter. “
‘This tactic appears to be backfiring as some of Mr. Coughlin and Mr. Kealey’s supporters have contacted me to say they have withdrawn their support for them and will now vote for me. One person contacted me and told me he had removed Mr. Coughlin’s sign from his yard. Burnsville residents have always been welcoming of different cultures, faiths, and ideas. It’s one of the things I love most about Burnsville.”
“It’s true I’m a religious person and I’m active in my religious community. Freedom of religion is one of the freedoms our country was founded on and it’s one of the freedoms I defended while serving in the US Air Force during the first Gulf War. I’m proud to continue pushing back against religious bigotry where ever I find it. Burnsville residents can be assured I will not discriminate against them or treat them as second class citizens based on their religion, race, gender, or social status.”
” Mr. Kealey and Mr. Coughlin need to make a clear and public statement that bigotry, as demonstrated by Ms. Erickson, is not welcome in Burnsville’s government and the Sun This week should apologize for choosing to print this particular letter.”
Twin Cities News Talk featured a radio interview with Cara discussing the matter and her candidacy: starts at Around the 23:30 mark and Part 2 here. After her interview ended one of the radio how hosts tried to diminish the significance of religion being brought up in the campaign as not rising to the level of bigotry. Bigotry isn’t measured by the level of hate speech it includes. For a candidate’s supporter to bring religion up in this context is at best poor taste. When an incumbent then forwards and refuse to denounce such a statement, it indicates some fear and worry over the success of Cara’s door knocking campaign regarding the issues. Let’s hope it stimulates voter turnout on the 4th!
And Wherever You Live. Get Out and Vote Tuesday!