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Holck seeks DFL endorsement

WORTHINGTON -- The age factor will be an additional challenge for Jacob Holck to overcome as he announced his decision to seek DFL endorsement for District 22B -- a seat currently occupied by Rep. Rod Hamilton, R-Mountain Lake.

"I'm probably the youngest candidate running for State House of Representatives at 20 years old," Holck said. "Law requires you to be 21 at the time of taking office in the State House of Representatives. I (will) turn 21 in February."

While a majority of young adults his age are involved in some form of post-secondary education, Holck explained that his keen interest in politics while attending school in Windom inspired him to get involved.

"I've always been observing politics and I've always thought 'I'm going to try to run for office and see if I can make things better," said Holck, who grew up in Jeffers. "The opportunity has presented itself."

A turning point for Holck was when he was in sixth grade. He had the opportunity to see former U.S. Vice President Walter Mondale speak at an event in Mankato.

"Someone told me that I'd never be able to talk to him," he said. "I made my way through the crowd and someone pushed me up to the podium. I was looking for a way to go down but he said 'come over here' and he put his arms around me. I listened to what he had to say and I realized that this guy was in it for the betterment of the state and the nation."

On Holck's list of priorities is a plan to revive rural communities and conduct listening tours -- a practice he said he would be borrowing from Gov. Mark Dayton -- with farmers in the region.

"It doesn't matter what political philosophy they have," he said. "I just want to take time to listen to these farmers and learn about their struggles and their needs. I want to be an advocate for them because they are what make this district."

Holck also wants to address two specific issues related to education -- funding and testing.

"Instead of the districts having to face cuts, I'd rather try to get them the money that they need," he said. "Education sounds very cliché but children are the future.

"Measuring a student's learning ability isn't always effective. I don't think their ability should be solely based on testing results."

When all is said and done, Holck said he strongly believes in the importance of considering the needs of constituents and his conscience, before his party, when balancing the budget.

With his age in mind, Holck is exuberant about what the prospect of gaining endorsement, or possibly getting elected, could mean.

"I know I have to get past the age stigma but people shouldn't just brush me off," he explained. "I've tried to volunteer whenever there's an opportunity in the community."

Having spent the last two years living in Worthington, Holck said he has completed a few college classes at Minnesota West but he's currently focusing on a religious ministry which he and a group of friends started.

Located at Mick Office Plaza, Philippians 4:13 offers alternative activities -- which include movie nights and bible study -- to at-risk youth.

"Education is not always the most important when serving in politics," Holck said. "Sure, a college education will help but I think if you're able to serve your constituents and be in-tune with their needs then I think you've got a really good shot at doing this."