Behind politics at the Capitol, humanity

The Mankato Free Press this week provided an unusual glimpse of the sacrifice some Minnesota lawmakers — primarily those outside of the Twin Cities — have to make to be legislators.

Rep. Jack Considine’s parents died within days of each other, just as the session started, reporter Dan Linehan writes in his profile.

His colleagues suggested he take some time off.

“I look at them and say ‘How?’” he said. “That’s not possible at this point to do the job I was elected to do.”

Seen that way, the job might seem to be something of an emotional straitjacket, preventing a man from grieving. But the hugs and kind words he’s received show the opposite to be true.

“They seem to rally around each other when there’s a tragedy,” he said.

Amid the politics we see at the Capitol, the story says, is a humanity we don’t.

“I was telling somebody the other day that the first day I got back I had more hugs from Republicans than I had from Democrats,” Considine said. “A lot of people gave an effort to walk over and give me a hug. I appreciated that.”

Considine, who stays in a downtown St. Paul apartment during the week, says he feels guilty some legislation he was working on got delayed by his parents’ deaths.

(h/t: Brian Bakst)