Patti Fritz is running for a fifth term as a representative in the Minnesota House of Representatives - and she is excited.
"Shoe leather - shoe leather - shoe leather," she said, as she sipped on a Pepsi at the Sub Sandwich shop in Dodge Center, sitting beside her husband Jim. "We get out and about. It's personal. That's what this is about. That's public service."
The couple lives in Faribault. They have five grown children. She has been in the legislature for eight years.
"I planted seeds for Paul Wellstone in Rice County," she said. "He was a real person. That's why I like the House. It's the People's House. It's a good thing to have Jim around because I keep long hours sometimes."
She went to the House as a nurse, an LPN. She knew how it was to do the hard work at bedsides for barely adequate wages. She knew that nursing homes were running behind financially.
"I went to get help for my grandmas and grandpas and workers and providers," she said. "I have worked hard on health care issues. All of us are in the same boat. The industry is sinking. I had been testifying as a citizen worker. My sense was that it was my time to run for office. After I had been there for a couple of years, Paul Theissen, the minority leader and committee chair, gave me the job of heading up a task force, across party lines, to go around Greater Minnesota to listen.
And the people came - residents and staff. I chaired the meetings and I listened. I have put in a bill every year to increase money from the state. We got 1 1/2 percent one year. My bills cover the disabled and assisted living. I have championed those things and I will keep going. That's why I'm there and that's why I'm going back. Daily living - and the dignity of every person."
She helped pass the Vulnerable Adult Act, which makes it a felony to intentionally harm a vulnerable adult, even in his or her own home.
"It keeps the bad people out," she said. "It took 18 years to get it passed. I worked in cooperation with Iris Freemen and an organization called Seniors and Workers. I testified."
"She's going to stay as long as they need her," Jim said.
"Why do I keep running?" she asked. "It's wonderful and I love it. We can help people. I hope to win because there is more work to do."
The perky lady took one more sip of her pop and was on her way, back on the road to knock on more doors, giving it her best shot at another term in the House.
Her district covers the City of Claremont and Claremont Township as well as Ashland, Ellington and Ripley Townships in Dodge County and parts of Rice and Steele Counties.
She makes a point of encouraging people to call her and to invite them to visit her in St. Paul. She stands for reducing burdensome property taxes for homeowners, farmers and small businesses, protecting seniors from devastating cuts to essential services, ensuring all children have access to a world class education, Supporting Main Street business expansion to help our local economy grow and continuing the growth of living wage jobs in the community.
Her slogan is, "Practical, Productive, Proven Leader - She Delivers!"
"It's the People's House," Fritz said again. "I want to hear from them."