Sep 1, 2020 

To the Editor:

We call our politicians a lot of names. Some good, some bad. Some true, some hyperbolic. But it’s not often that we get to call them our friends.

I do.

Representative Acomb of House District 44B is first and foremost my friend, Patty.

I first met Patty in April 2018 during my junior year at Hopkins High School. Some students and I were getting ready to present to the Minnetonka City Council to ask them to create a community-wide climate action plan. As I stood outside the council chambers, anxiously waiting for the meeting to begin, I saw the council members walk from a back room to go take their seats. They all looked straight ahead with an air of austere professionalism. Then one of them, Patty, broke rank and glanced at me. She gave me a reassuring wink and a waist-level thumbs up. I smiled back. She was rooting for me.

Patty continued to be a champion for our climate work as she began her campaign for state representative. Given all she’d done to support me, now it was my turn to support her. During the summer before the 2018 election, I went door-knocking with her twice a week. Knocking on hundreds of strangers’ doors was not an appealing activity for a shy person like me, and I became easily flustered when I was challenged with strong opposing viewpoints. On one occasion, I left someone’s doorstep in tears. When Patty saw me, her immediate concern was not about whether I could keep door-knocking; it was whether I was OK. My well-being was more important to her than a campaign.

Though she won her election and got a fancy official title, nothing changed in our friendship. I wasn’t “Constituent X”. I was – and still am – her friend, Lia. It’s a rare thing to genuinely call a politician your friend. I hope you get a chance to call her your friend someday, too. We could all benefit from some more personal connection with the people who influence our lives. That’s what holds them accountable.

Lia Harel

Minnetonka

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LETTER: Representative Acomb is my friend and politician