Jon Applebaum is running for state representative in the Minnetonka-Plymouth-Woodland community (44B) where highways 494 and 394 intersect.
Jon continued the tradition of his family of entrepreneurs and small business owners by starting a company that provides real estate consultancy services. He is a practicing lawyer as well. He volunteers with Tubman Pro Bono Safety Project to provide pro bono legal service. Jon was also co-president of The Leadership Emergence and Development Project, a non-profit organization that involves young professionals in the charitable and philanthropic communities of the Twin Cities.
Jon is dedicated to reaching to everyone in his district. In addition to knocking on doors, Jon has coffee hours at People’s Organic in Minnetonka every Monday from 7:30 – 9:00 a.m. Jon even publishes his phone number.
Below is the questionnaire that I provided, with the answers from Jon Applebaum. I think there are some fascinating answers. Like Jon’s ideal political hero combines the pragmatism of Bill Clinton, the perseverance of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and determination of Abraham Lincoln.
1) What is your background? How does this background make you the better choice for representative?
I grew up in this district and attended Hopkins Public Schools from kindergarten through high school. Some of my favorite memories include summers spent playing little league baseball at Big Willow (where I am probably in the running for the lowest all-time batting average) and riding my bike along the area’s many trails and through its parks.
I own my own real estate consulting firm, advising property owners on affordable, multi-family housing developments. I also practice law. Most importantly, my fiancée, Kate, and I are getting married next summer and have a 9-year-old rescue dog, Emma.
In my experience as a DFL activist, I have learned many valuable lessons that will help me be an effective legislator: I learned how to organize my thoughts, think on my feet and articulate DFL issues as a co-producer and on-air correspondent for the “Minnesota Matters” radio program on Air America Minnesota (AM 950); I learned how to run a campaign as campaign coordinator for Mary Schrock in Deephaven during the summer of 2006; I learned how to door-knock my district with Rep. John Benson in the summer of 2012; and I learned the dynamics of our local party as a volunteer on SD44’s central committee for years.
My deep community roots and concern for its residents – and all Minnesotans – combined with my background as a lawyer who knows how laws are created, interpreted, enforced and applied, in addition to my experience as a small business owner who understands the challenges faced by small business owners and their employees (approximately 95% of all Minnesota firms and 50% of the private-sector labor force are small businesses), the middle-class and organized labor, provide me with a unique perspective well-suited to represent District 44B and the people of Minnesota.
2) What are the three main issues or values that are key to your campaign?
I have spent my entire life engaging with neighbors, friends and family members in our area – actively listening and learning – and have a keen understanding of Democratic community values and the issues that are most important to Minnetonka, Plymouth and Woodland residents for this election: education, the economy and transportation.
In addition, we have a large senior population in 44B. I am proud to be a member of the DFL Senior Caucus and look forward to advocating for our seniors at the Capitol.
3) Who is your political hero and what qualities would you strive to emulate?
Great question. There are so many prospects that I have to choose three: Bill Clinton, Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln. The pragmatism of Bill Clinton, able to work both sides of the aisle – his greatest successes occurred after the ‘94 midterms when the Republicans took over. Franklin Delano Roosevelt is my hero because of the resolve he demonstrated, implementing the New Deal while leading country through the Great Depression and World War II. Finally, Abraham Lincoln is my hero because of the determination he exuded while holding the Union together. Any person, regardless of their profession, would be successful if they had such qualities.
4) Since the politics involves negotiation of competing interests, please give an example where you successfully negotiated a difficult problem among multiple parties
As an attorney, I was faced with a circumstance with competing business issues amongst two families with a good deal of money at stake. An additional problem was that there was a bitter, contentious marital issue, which, during better times, joined the families but was now driving them apart. I was able to work through very complex issues concerning real estate leases that satisfied both parties. Through no effort of mine, the marital issues resolved themselves. I’ll tell what I can of the whole story in my book one day.
5) Please provide an example where you stood up for people or for rights against a powerful organization.
I’ve given this question a lot of thought. This may not be a perfect answer but, during my time as a volunteer attorney for the Tubman Safety Project, I’ve represented women who have been subjected to unbelievably brutal and ruthless abuse and violence from their significant others. Through my advocacy, I was able to get them Orders For Protection against these abusers and am grateful to have provided for their safety and security. Everyone should be able to live happy, dignified lives.
6) Please tell us why your campaign is better choice (i.e. more organized, works harder, works smarter) with specifics?
My passion for representing my hometown district and serving its residents and all Minnesotans, combined with a considerable GOP competitor, contributed to my decision to run for this seat full-time and put my career on hold. Indeed, I have been campaigning non-stop since entering this race and will continue to do so until elected.
Our campaign is incredibly well organized and off to a great start by knocking on over 2,500 doors already in preparation of the August 12th primary. We have a volunteer team of 35 people and two paid canvass teams of four people knocking on doors for 6 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Unfortunately, this is going to be an expensive race, but we are up to the challenge. Our campaign has raised just shy of $65,000 so far and have only scratched the surface. I believe I am the only candidate that is committed to doing whatever it takes to keep this seat – this means continuing to aggressively hit the doors and executing a strategic targeted mail plan of 9 pieces between now and August 12th.
Finally, I am the only labor endorsed candidate (Minnesota Association of Professional Employees) and have also built a strong coalition of folks who typically vote Republican that will be supporting me and helping our campaign after the primary. We have a purple district and the DFL candidate must be able to win over swing voters and leaning Republicans. I will do that.
Once we win the primary, we will begin on the general on August 13th.
My campaign team and I will not let us lose this seat.
7) Please tell us how you as an elected official or your campaign would help other DFL endorsed candidates get into office?
Our campaign team will work hand-in-hand with the DFL Coordinated Campaign to assist any and all DFL-endorsed candidates win in November.
Audrey Britton is my friend and I look forward to helping her get elected in our neighboring district, 44A. Our campaign teams have many friends in common and I’ve worked with several of them on the SD 44 central committee for years. We look forward to working with them on the trail this fall.
In addition, I have personally supported many DFL candidates, including, most recently, Governor Dayton, Senator Franken and Mike Obermueller, amongst several others. As a elected official, I will have a better platform in which to ensure we keep great DFL leaders in St. Paul and in D.C.
8) How would you keep your constituents informed about issues and what you are doing?
One thing many folks yearn for is increased access to both their elected officials and candidates. Consequently, when I am not door-knocking or making calls, I make myself available to visit with groups of any size. Our campaign holds regular coffee hours at People’s Organic in Minnetonka every Monday from 7:30 – 9:00 a.m. We have over 250 sign-ups for our bi-weekly newsletter, which will debut next week and continue throughout the campaign (and increase to weekly later this Fall).
Finally, my doors have been and always will be open to meet with anyone or to answer any questions. My cell phone is 612-770-3916. (Now I am going to Verizon to upgrade my plan!)