The merits of public service explored

As much as the world loves to skewer legislators on a regular basis, there simply has to be one truism: It must really be lousy for family life to be an outstate legislator. Mondays can’t be any fun.

One can’t imagine that a per diem makes up for the privilege of living alone during the week, while your family musters on back home, and your kids get older.

From the sound of the article in the Bemidji Pioneer this morning, that’s the reality that led Rep. Frank Moe to announce over the weekend that he’s done at the end of this session.

“It’s growing increasingly difficult for Sherri and me, with me being away all week for months at a time,” Moe told the paper. “Many of the goals that I set out to do four years ago have been accomplished and I guess I want to take my marriage off the back burner.”

Moe also got a Bush Fellowship grant that allows him to study at the University of Minnesota for the next 18 months.

Iron Range writer Aaron Brown says on his blog:

It’s remarkable that anyone in the legislature can stay married or loved by their children. It’s not necessarily a difficult job but the time commitment is vast and you’re never off the clock. There are tremendous advantages for any legislator who is either single or whose family has grown and left the house. Anyone with a busy family life or another career faces difficult decisions about time every day. Living outside the metro area only compounds this problem (For my metro friends; Picture the busiest time of your life and add a four hour drive to a home you see once a week). In this regard Moe’s decision is quite easy to understand.

These sacrifices aren’t a “DFL thing,” Republicans are doing the same thing. It is mostly, however, an outstate Minnesota “thing,” that makes one wonder why they think it’s worth it in the first place.

  • Bob,

    Great question. Many very good people don’t run for the family reasons, even more don’t for the nasty public garbage (read partisian blog).

    I have ran for office twice, today not winning seems like a blessing.

  • c

    I just watched a documentary on Nelson Mandela over the weekend. It seems that his political career took him away from his family and may have been the catalyst in his decision to divorce his wife Evelyn.

    It seems as though the picture of a ‘family man/woman’ is a large attraction to any candidate running for a particular office. If doing the job seperates a potential candidate from their family and puts a burden on the family relationship, then why do we look for family oriented candidates. Maybe we should start looking to the single candidate. If a candidate truly has FAMILY VALUES then you would think that they would look for a career that gives them more family time.