young lady democrat of spring grove, Minn. by stories: YES houston
about Spring Grove, Minn. >> pretty. neat. small town.
Spring Grove is the first Norwegian settlement in Minnesota, surrounded by rolling fields and breathtaking views. Its Norwegian heritage is embraced and celebrated today with numerous Norwegian-American festivals, a Norwegian language camp, birding trail, and an active geneology organization, Giants of the Earth Hertitage Center. Visual and performing arts are also loved and nurtured in the community through theater, music, and other art programs. Cultural institutions such as Ye Olde Opera House, Fine and Folk Arts School and the Bluff Country Artists Gallery serve residents and visitors.
mayor of spring grove >> Sarah Schroeder
"They elected a hooded-sweatshirt mayor, they're getting a hooded- sweatshirt mayor!" - Sarah Schroeder
Transparency and authenticity come at a premium when interviewing politicians. That’s why students found the voice of Minnesota's small-town mayor, Sarah Schroeder, of Spring Grove so refreshing.
Sarah Schroeder’s interview is required watching for anyone interested in modern rural American politics. In a conversation with some of her youngest constituents, Schroeder reflects openly on her experiences as a young woman in local rural politics, both before and after the 2016 presidential election. She tells her personal story of becoming the unlikely “Young Lady Democrat” Mayor of Spring Grove in a self-deprecating fashion.
Schroeder's political identity developed in her youth as she claims to have “raised two Democratic parents." In her twenties, Schroeder instinctively navigated her way through Spring Grove's city council and believes she achieved her mayoral victory by listening to her constituents--to the degree that she freely admits to being wrong about certain local issues along the way.
Because of Schroeder's openness, she’s successfully made many community allies across the Republican-Democrat divide in her non-partisan role of Mayor of Spring Grove. She also reaches across geographical boundaries. Her remark, “We share the same downtown” reverberates with residents of the surrounding townships and those whom live in town. Historically, they've felt divided by their everyday work and travel needs. This historic photo of downtown Spring Grove highlights the continued tension between agricultural workers and town laborers.
Main Street, Spring Grove, 1900 | Image courtesy of the Giants of the Earth Heritage Center & Glenn Kinneburg
watch her story in parts i & II
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