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Feehan conducts video campaign

MANKATO — In a typical election year, Minnesota First congressional candidate Dan Feehan (DFL-Mankato) would be traveling across southern Minnesota and speaking to crowds of supporters.

Instead, the new reality of COVID-19 has him creating campaign videos from home and talking to voters over the phone. The Feehan campaign is adapting to the new normal, but is maintaining the motto of “People First.”

Feehan said when reaching out to people, he first asks how they are doing. His campaign is trying to figure out what people need during this health crisis.

“For us, it is realizing that we’ve all been through a dramatic shift,” Feehan said. For many in Southern Minnesota, their homes have become a combination of childcare, school and office.

Feehan said they are using the platform of the campaign to spread information. This includes information on the virus and where to get food or manage finances.

Feehan said he is also using the campaign to create a level of normality in a time of upheaval. Feehan is running his campaign from home. Videos are posted on his website and facebook page.

“Staying home is still the message,” he said. “We are practicing it on the campaign. It is the best way to save lives.”

Feehan is against trying to restart the economy prematurely. He said “the economy will not be fully healthy until we beat this disease.”

Feehan was pleased with the steps Minnesota took to reduce the spread of COVID-19, but said this was less than a month ago and people infected now likely caught the disease before distancing measures were in place. He believes these measures would need to stay in place until people with the virus can longer spread it.

Feehan said this could be the difference between weeks and months, but this would be determined by the virus. He added people could still have an impact through social distancing.

COVID-19 has impacted nearly every part of life in Minnesota, but a top concern for Feehan is health care. Health care coverage was already a top issue before the pandemic.

“Rural health care was a worry before [COVID-19],” he said. There is concern the rural areas in Minnesota are not set up to handle a crisis. He is hopeful that the pandemic will highlight shortfalls in the system that can be addressed in the future.

Health coverage was another concern of Americans before the crisis. Feehan encouraged those not covered to look into MNsure during the enrollment period.

Feehan said he has great faith in healthcare workers. The message he wants to give all the healthcare workers on the frontlines is that “you’re more ready than you think.” He said it will be their resolve that gets us through this crisis.

Asked about the virus delaying the 2020 election, Feehan was confident Minnesota could handle an election. “We have a great vote by mail and absentee system.”

Feehan said delaying the election was up to Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon, but he believes the election should go forward as elections are an important part of running a republic. He believes Minnesota has had enough time to make preparations.

Overall, Feehan is optimistic in seeing a number of people and organizations helping during this crisis. Feehan has personally assisted ECHO Food Shelf in Mankato to help deliver groceries to people unable to leave home.

Feehan also praised New Ulm’s United Commercial Upholstery (UCU) decision to begin producing protective face shields and isolation gowns for healthcare workers.

Feehan said he sees people stepping up and helping across Southern Minnesota. “It is in our character. It is endearing.”

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