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Carlton County DFL activists honored by state DFL

I always marvel over the magic of potluck dinners. Without comparing notes, everyone brings a homemade dish and, abracadabra, there's a variety of tasty foods representing the main food groups, including my favorite - dessert - with plenty to go around. That magic was on display at Cromwell pavilion last week as area DFLers gathered to celebrate accomplishments and support their friends and neighbors.

The annual summer potluck for Minnesota House District 11A was the perfect opportunity to honor members Terri Thell and Angela Evenson. Minnesota state DFL party vice chairwoman Marge Hoffa traveled from the Twin Cities area July 28 to present Thell and Evenson with 2020 volunteer-of-the-year certificates. The party recognized the time and talents these women bring to the table to help get out the vote, promote party values and grow membership, especially during the last election cycle - a time marked by the Covid pandemic limiting opportunities for face-to-face meetings with voters.

Wrenshall's Terri Thell is the chairwoman of the 11A DFL unit that meets monthly to organize fundraising events and the important endorsement process for political candidates. An active member of the unit, Cloquet's Angela Evenson organized phone banks and volunteers in support of several candidates in the 8th Congressional District as well as statewide during the last election cycle.

State Rep. Mike Sundin from 11A took the opportunity to update members on the latest special session, which tackled the two-year state budget.

Among his many assignments at the capitol, the five-term representative also serves as chair of the Agriculture Finance and Policy committee. Sundin took the opportunity to say a few words to honor and thank past 11A chairwoman Patty Murto, who is undergoing cancer treatment. Sundin said Murto was a precious friend and one of the driving forces in the party in Carlton County and the state.

In addition to her party activism, Murto's past achievements included serving as a Carlton County commissioner and with the Volunteer Attorney program.

As a tribute to Murto, the evening included a raffle for a gift basket of donated items with proceeds to help defray her medical costs. Unit treasurer Vance Anderson presented the basket to Cromwell resident Ann Markuson, who held the winning ticket.

There will be a lot of work ahead as we move toward the midterm elections. But as with any successful potluck dinner, if we all pitch in our time and talents we will be successful come election day. If you are interested in learning more about the Carlton County DFL and how you can get involved to better support your favorite candidate for office, stop by 11A's booth at the Carlton County fair in Barnum this month.

Writer Michelle Lee of Moose Lake is a former candidate for state senate and news anchor at KBJR television in Duluth.