Sen. Branden Petersen will explain all his votes on Facebook
Sen. Branden Petersen, R-Andover, was the only Republican to co-sponsor last session's marriage equality bill, and as a result he was recognized by us as 2013's Best Politician.
So perhaps it shouldn't come as a surprise that on the first day of this year's session, Petersen is again generating headlines for doing something that sets him apart from his colleagues.
Namely, Petersen, inspired by Michigan Congressman Justin Amash, vows to explain each of the hundreds of floor votes he casts this session on his Facebook page.
"You can't get that information on the House or Senate website, and I just think it's a cool way to reach out to people and communicate about their business," Petersen told us this morning.
"I mean, it's hard enough for me to remember the rationale and circumstances around every vote I take even a month later, and it's impossible for somebody at home," Petersen continued. "So why not use a medium that connects you to 'regular people' in the district to communicate those things?"
Petersen thinks there are also political benefits to his social media approach, which he doesn't think any other Minnesota legislators are taking.
"Frankly, if you can speak to people directly about what you're doing, I think you have a better chance of your position resonating, and if not they'll at least respect the fact you put some thought into it," he said. "I'm surprised there aren't more people doing it, to be honest."
Petersen said he plans to include his daily explanations in one single post so as to "not block peoples' feeds."
"There are gonna be days where it's tough and time consuming, in particular if you have large bills or controversial bills with a number of amendments," he acknowledged.
If you'd like to follow along, you can "friend" Petersen here, but be nice -- he said he doesn't reject friend requests and won't unfriend people "unless they start abusing me on my personal page." No further explanation needed!
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