In the State Primary Election on August 11, Benjamin Dolan became the DFL's candidate to take on Rep. Tim Miller for the District 17A seat in the Minnesota House of Representatives. This is Dolan's first foray into the realm of politics.
In the State Primary Election on August 11, Benjamin Dolan became the DFL’s candidate to take on Rep. Tim Miller for the District 17A seat in the Minnesota House of Representatives. This is Dolan’s first foray into the realm of politics.
Dolan, who was born and raised in Appleton, spoke of his background. He said: “I graduated from Lac qui Parle Valley in 2006, and after that I attended Ridgewater for a year. I then went to SMSU in Marshall where I was class president and was involved in many campus organizations. I graduated from SMSU with a degree in political science.”
After that, according to Dolan, he spent some time working blue collar jobs. “I loaded trucks, and did concrete work; things like that. Then I decided to enter law school at the University of South Dakota where I served as class president for one year.”
For Dolan, home is where the heart is and after graduating from USD, he returned to make his home in Appleton. “My family lives in the area, and our roots in Swift County go back about a hundred and fifty years,” he said. “After graduating, I decided to come back home. I could have lived anywhere else in the state and done a lot of different things, but this is home to me. Greater Minnesota is the best place to live!”
Dolan has been putting his law degree to good use. “Currently, I’ve been doing a clerkship for the State of Minnesota. I do legal research and legal writing as a clerk,” he said.
Dolan explained why he decided to toss his hat into the ring of District 17A politics. “I decided to run shortly before COVID-19 hit,” he said. “I feel we need leadership that cares about the people of Minnesota, specifically western Minnesota and District 17A.
“I believe politics is about doing good things for the hard working people of our area, and I believe that you have to be pragmatic in your approach to what’s best for our communities.”
Dolan has a number of legislative priorities if he is elected to serve district 17A. “Affordable health care and education are very important for our area,” he said, “as is getting broadband to our part of the state.
“We also need to invest in our infrastructure by putting together a workable bonding bill, which our legislature failed to do this year.”
Dolan also mentioned bringing local tax dollars back to our communities and finding ways to help family farms maintain their viability during these difficult times for farmers. He said: “Part of that is ensuring that farmers have access to affordable health insurance. A lot of family farmers run into issues with being able to afford health insurance, and they have to take extra jobs in order have health insurance and keep their family farm in the family.”
Another priority which Dolan pointed out is the general lack of mental health resources in our area. “Practitioners, counselors, psychiatrists, psychologists, you name it. We’re lacking in that area and I believe we need to invest greatly in mental health resources,” he said.
Dolan feels he can bring some positive personal strengths to the legislature. He said: “I’m a great communicator and relationship builder. I’m persistent, I’m relentless, and I’m a strong advocate. I’m legally trained so I can write bills without needing someone else to do it. I am competitive, and I love my community!”
When asked why voters should cast their votes for him, Dolan said: “I’m a local kid who understands hard work. I put myself through school, and I came back home because I truly care for my community. I want to represent 17A and see our district and our people do well.”
Even though Dolan is 32 years old, he noted changes which he has seen in our local communities; changes that often haven’t been good. “I drive around the area and see businesses closing and not reopening. I remember going to various stores when I was a little kid. We had two big hardware stores in town and a couple of grocery stores. Now, when businesses are shut down, they’re not being replaced.”
Dolan is hopeful that he will get the chance to serve the constituents of District 17A. “I’m a hard worker. On November 3, we have an opportunity to elect a hard working legislature that will get things done for 17A. I’ll make sure we’re noticed, because sometimes it seems we’re forgotten out here.”