Thursday, December 18, 2014

Senator John A. Hoffman - How were the humanities vital to your life and/or work over the past year?

First elected to the Minnesota Senate in November 2012, Senator John Hoffman represents residents of Minnesota Senate District 36, which includes Champlin and parts of Brooklyn Park and Coon Rapids. Senator Hoffman was the Senate sponsor of HF 2812, the successful legislation that created Veterans’ Voices Month in Minnesota. He serves as vice chair of the Environment and Energy Committee and is a member of the Health, Human Services and Housing Committee and E-12 Division Committee (Education Finance). He is also a member of the Rules and Administration - Subcommittee on Elections and the Fish and Wildlife Subcommittee.

As a freshman Senator, I chief-authored 116 and co-authored 242 pieces of legislation, all of which were bills that I had a good understanding and knowledge of. I felt each and every one of those bills had purpose for our life in Minnesota. More importantly, I was chief author of three bills pertaining to Veterans, from establishing regions dealing with housing to pursuing funding for renovation of the Brooklyn Park Armory through the Bonding Bill process.

I couldn’t have had the success of many of my bills if it wasn’t for partners. One such partner, the Minnesota Humanities Center, approached me to chief-author a Veterans’ Voices Month bill to honor and celebrate the accomplishments of Minnesota Veterans and to educate the public by sharing and studying Veterans’ experiences. With passage of the bill, the month of October would be set aside so that schools, communities, and the general public could not only celebrate Veterans, but would also provide them an opportunity to learn from our Veterans and increase understanding of Veterans and military culture by exploring their stories as told through art, essays, poetry, and other media created by Veterans.

This new partnership between the Humanities Center and I came about from a history of knowing how important it is for us to be thankful to those who served. I learned this lesson as a young child growing up with a father who served during the Korean War, and he would tell me stories of the sacrifices many have given and continue to give. He would get up early and raise the American flag in our yard and then, upon returning home, would take it down. We would participate in Veterans Day and Memorial Day services every year. However, the one occasion that I have always held close, which includes many fond memories for me, is when my father would take me to buy “Buddy Poppies.” He would tell me to wear the poppy proudly and to always remember the sacrifices that were made in order for us to enjoy our freedoms.

True to form the term "buddy" was also mentioned this past year in the process of getting the Veterans Voices Month bill signed into law. One Veteran said the Humanities Center was his "battle buddy." I believe his words to be true. This past year the Humanities Center was my partner (buddy) as I proudly carried the Senate Bill designating October as Veterans’ Voices Month in Minnesota.

No comments:

Post a Comment