Even though the news has been dominated by the COVID-19 pandemic, it is still an election year. Appleton native Benjamin Dolan (DFL) is challenging Rep. Tim Miller (R) for the District 17A House of Representatives seat.

Even though the news has been dominated by the COVID-19 pandemic, it is still an election year. Appleton native Benjamin Dolan (DFL) is challenging Rep. Tim Miller (R) for the District 17A House of Representatives seat.

Dolan was born and raised in Appleton; his parents still live there. “I graduated from Lac qui Parle High School in 2006,” he said.

Upon graduating from high school, Dolan attended Ridgewater College in Willmar, and played basketball for the Warriors. “The next year I transferred to Southwest Minnesota State in Marshall because of all the activities they had there. During my final year I was student body president,” he said.

After graduation, Dolan did blue collar work, working with concrete. “I then decided to go to law school at the University of South Dakota, where I was also class president.”

Then, after graduating, he worked as a clerk for a law firm in South Dakota. “I did that for a little while, but I wanted to move back to Minnesota,” he said.

When he returned, Dolan entered into a clerkship with a judge. “I assist the judge in his legal research and legal writing. I’ve been doing this for the last year and a half. I’ve still got a path to the bar, and I’ll get that done. I’d like to do civil litigation or work with worker’s rights,” said Dolan.

When asked if he was married, the 32-year-old Dolan laughed and said: “I’m a single, attractive bachelor!”

Dolan is one of those people who want to perform public service. “I’ve always wanted to become involved in politics. I’m starting now because I think politics is about doing good things for our communities, and good things for our farmers, our blue collar workers, our other workers, our small business owners, our schools, our teachers, our parents, and our children.”

Dolan feels he can do a good job representing the constituents of 17A. “I believe our current representative doesn’t subscribe to the same ideals as I do. Rep. Miller is part of a group of four Republicans who formed their own little caucus which doesn’t always get along with their fellow Republicans. I don’t think their views are representative of our district,” he said.

Dolan has a list of priorities he would like to see addressed for the constituents in 17A. He said: “Something I’ve always thought is a priority is affordable health care for all. I’ve spoken with many people around the area who feel affordable health care for everyone is a priority. Another big priority is affordable and available day care.”

Another important issue in Greater Minnesota is jobs. “The economy before the pandemic hit was pretty good, and everyone was working,” Dolan said. “Being realistic, though, the majority of people around the area work from paycheck to paycheck. Many of them work two or three jobs and don’t have the time to spend with their families.

“Yet another priority is decent, affordable housing for everybody,” he continued. “There is a shortage of good housing in Greater Minnesota.”

For Dolan, mental health resources and accessibility to those resources are another priority. “We struggle to provide mental health care to those who need it. People seeking care are often put on a waiting list when they need immediate help.”

The Prairie Correctional Facility is also on Dolan’s radar. “I would like to see the state use it. The area lost a lot of good jobs when it closed. I want those jobs to return to the area.”

Dolan is confident that a change in direction for 17A is warranted. He said: “Those are the priorities I feel we need to work on for our area. The overall theme for our area is economic development. I feel our district would respond quite well to the priorities I’ve laid out.”