Photo credit: Minnesota State Fair

By Marie Huey, Public Policy and Advocacy Coordinator

The Minnesota State Fair is a great time to put your advocacy skills to work!

With so many organizations and resources, you don’t have to look far to find a political discussion. In between the rides, food checklist, and people-watching, take a little time to learn about candidates and the offices they seek. Be an advocate for early learning by asking questions. Below are a few examples.

If elected, what will you do to…

  • Support parents to be their children’s first and best teacher?
  • Increase the number of infants and toddlers receiving the resources needed for a secure and healthy start?
  • Increase the number of children receiving high quality early learning experiences that meet their families’ needs?
  • Support increased professional development and wages for early childhood professionals?

The Fair Finder tool allows you to search by category to find vendors. Apply the “Political” filter to see the most updated list of vendors. Also search “Schools, Government, Public Service” for related results.

Connect with Candidates
Many candidates spend time at the fair, spreading their message and connecting with constituents. While some candidates have a separate booth, many others are represented at their party booths. Below are the parties, candidates, and their locations.

Green Party of Minnesota
In the Education Building, south aisle

Independence Party of Minnesota
South side of Dan Patch Ave, between Nelson & Underwood Streets

Libertarian Party of Minnesota
West side of Nelson St between Carnes & Judson avenues

Minnesota Democratic Farmer Labor (DFL)
Northeast corner of Dan Patch Ave & Cooper St

Republican Party of Minnesota
South side of Carnes Ave. between Nelson & Underwood streets

Dean Phillips for Congress
East side of Cooper St. between Wright & Dan Patch avenues

Doug Wardlow for MN Attorney General
East side of Nelson St. between Carnes & Judson avenues

Housley for U.S. Senate
West side of Cosgrove St. between Wright & Dan Patch avenues

Jerry Trooien for U.S. Senate
West side of Underwood St. between Wright & Dan Patch avenues

Johnson for Governor
West side of Underwood St. between Carnes & Judson avenues

Senator Amy Klobuchar
North side of Judson Ave between Nelson & Underwood Streets

Senator Tina Smith
West side of Underwood St. between Dan Patch & Carnes avenues

What can you do at these booths?

  • If you’re interested in what the party stands for, ask them about their values.
  • Find out which candidates from the party are running in your area.
  • Ask why you should vote for those candidates.
  • Ask them where they stand on issues that matter to you. Share your story and  use the voter card to communicate your priorities.
  • Sign up for a mailing list or to volunteer.
  • Make a donation or purchase items to advertise for candidates you support.

Learn About Minnesota Offices and Officials

Several state offices have booths at the fair. They have resources about what their offices do and how to engage with themt. Stop in for a moment as you make your way through the Education Building and Grandstand.

Minnesota State Senate
In the Education Building, east wall

Minnesota House of Representatives
In the Education Building, east wall

Minnesota Judicial Branch
In the Education Building, southeast corner

What an you do at these booths?

  • Fill out the opinion poll. Both the House and Senate have a survey with timely policy questions.
  • Ask questions about the legislative or judicial process.
  • Get your very own Capitol Dome Hat
  • Learn how to stay informed about what is happening at the Capitol.
  • Talk with a legislator. They volunteer at the booths during the fair.

Senate Schedule

House Schedule

Photo Credit: Minnesota State Fair

State Auditor, Attorney General, and Secretary of State will all be on the ballot in November. Find out more about two of the offices by visiting their stations at the fair.

Minnesota Attorney General’s Office
In the Education Building, southeast section

Minnesota Secretary of State
In the Grandstand, lower level, north center section

What can you do at these booths?

  • Find information about voting and elections. Register to vote.  (Secretary of State)
  • Take copies of consumer guides on a variety of topics. (Attorney General)
  • Ask about the roles of these offices.

Explore Issues that Matter to You

If you see a cause that catches your interest, make sure to stop and ask for more information. The fair is an excellent opportunity to learn more about what is going on in your community and around the state. Check out the Fair Finder for more information about causes by category.

Make your Plan
Candidates often appear on radio and television shows during the State Fair run. Keep your eyes and ears open for information about where and when to see them.  For instance, MPR has several live political discussions and debates scheduled. And while many exhibits run for all 12 days of the fair, some are more fleeting. Check the daily schedule before you go to find out if there are any special appearances you want to see.

There will still be plenty of time for eating, riding, and biggest-boar viewing. But on this visit to the fair, make a little time to learn about the many people in government who represent you, and help spread that word that high-quality early care and education is important.