Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Why I Cannot Run for Public Office

There are many reasons why I would enjoy a run at the school board, a county commissioner seat or city council. Most days I'm certain I would be a better Governor than Pawlenty, especially concerning decisions affecting the poor, civil rights, the critical separation of church and state and of course, reproductive freedom.

And I've been asked. When I lived in Rice County, the local DFL leadership frequently sought me as a candidate against the notorious John Tuma, anti-choice, pro-gun legislator turned lobbyist .

But I had a real life in those days. I had children to raise, sermons to write, a man who was always in the way. There was no time for political posturing.

Now, my children are grown, my church turned Republican, and my former husband is working on his fourth marriage. My real life disappeared long ago. Even so, I cannot run.

The reasons are simple. After almost sixty years of speaking, writing, working for the poor and advocating for women, I have something my mother warned me to never have.

I have a reputation.

I'm known as an outspoken advocate. Google my name, if you don't believe me. I'm flattered that some of my essays have been identified as the "best" on the internet and the "most progressive" of printed media.

My name is not at all "household," and yet, I've been called a "dangerous American" by people who have never met me.

Last week, an executive head-hunter phoned.  He had a client, he said.  A Twin Cities corporation, seeking an experienced writer, editor, copywriter and communications professional.  He asked if I was interested.

I was.  I am.  And so I forwarded my latest work.  The headhunter, bless his heart, is a young, young man.  He looked at my material and gushed with approval.  National Public Radio.  Column in the Star Tribune - surely, he said, the client would be interested.

Seriously?  Interested in a woman who's name makes a conservative corporate officer turn to salt?  I don't think so. 

But last week, once again, I nurtured a vague and rather adorable hope.  This morning the recruiter called me, baffled.  I am, he said, the obvious candidate for this position.  Still, the hiring manager asked for a second person - the next on the list.  He didn't give a reason, the recruiter said, confused and irritated.

I comforted him.  "I don't mind," I said.  It's the truth. I don't. 

But I don't put myself in front of firing squads either.

That's why I'm not running for office.  Momma was right - the only thing a girl has is her reputation.  Me?  In cahoots with the likes of Klobuchar, Pawlenty and the other hooigans who promise one thing and deliver nothing?  Not on your life.


I have a reputation to maintain. 

Who is Kristine and what can she do for me?


Kristine Holmgren is an award-winning communications executive running a sole proprietorship.

She specializes in senior nonprofit administrative leadership, media relations, training for online and face-to-face media engagement, institutional advancement, board development, union negotiations, diversity training and corporate board leadership.

Her former clients include Mayo Clinic and Foundation, Public Radio International, The Center for Victims of Torture, Chrysalis: A Center for Women, Children’s Home Society and Family Services and faith-based communities in places as divergent as Minnesota, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, California and New Jersey.


Kristine's practice is client centered. On their behalf she writes speeches, news releases, video programs, political commentary and articles for magazines, newspapers and websites. She is a public spokesperson for a variety of Minnesota nonprofits.

Kristine Holmgren seeks to work with ethical people, dedicated to creating a better world.
She is a Presbyterian pastor and an outspoken, public advocate for Minnesota children and families, and the under served communities where they live. On their behalf, she is a popular keynote speaker throughout the Midwest.

Kristine is a frequent commentator for National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered.” Her essays, short stories and columns have appeared in the Star Tribune (where her column was published from 1995 – 2005), Chicago Tribune, Baltimore Sun, Boston Globe and Washington Post.

Her fiction is anthologized in two volumes, T
he Magic of Christmas Miracles (William and Morrow Press), Sacred Strands, (Lone Oak Press) and her biography is featured in the award-winning anthology, ln the Company of Women, Voices from the Women’s Movement, (MHS Press).

Her new work, The Uppity Woman's Guide to Dating After Fifty is in development for publication in 2010.

Kristine's new play PAPER DADDY is available for theatrical production on a stage near you. Click here for more information about PAPER DADDY


A single mother, Kristine raised two successful women into happy, successful, professional lives. Today, she lives in a garden cottage in St. Paul, Minnesota with an opinionated Scottish terrier, Eleanor Roosevelt
.