Jeff grew up in Lewiston, Minnesota – a small town in the south-east corner of the state – along with family. His mother took care of Jeff and his siblings after taking care of kids in the community, working as a daycare provider. His father worked at Bay State Milling, where his quality work and dedication got him promoted to Head Packer. These were working class jobs, in a time where these jobs led to middle-class living.
Growing up in that scenario, Jeff learned that hard work, dedication and how the importance of a community coming together could achieve a better life. Together, Jeff took away one important lesson that shapes his daily life, everyone has value and should be treated with respect.
Taking his values to heart, Jeff graduated from Gustavus ready to teach Social Studies and American government. When Jeff was in college, he spent his summers working full time in the same mill as his father. This allowed him to pay for his education and leave college with very little debt. Something his children and most college grads today don’t have the opportunity to do.
While in college he met the love of his life, Ruth. They have three kids together. Jeff and Ruth’s journey has taken them from NRHEG to Cannon Falls, through Winona, and then finally settling in Rosemount. Ruth is a speech-language pathologist, who graduated from University of Wisconsin Steven’s Point with her master’s in Communication Disorders.
Working hard and building a culture of success
In the past eleven years, Jeff and the RHS football staff have taken Rosemount to the state tournament seven times. Jeff knows this is a direct correlation to working hard and building a culture of success. The value placed on each participant is an important component of the culture that Jeff’s known for establishing the programs he leads.
Jeff knows the greatest compliment anyone can attribute to a coaching staff is that they are genuine, can create a culture of respect and sustain success over a period of time. This is one of the reasons why Jeff has been awarded high school football coach of the year by the Minnesota Vikings in 2010, and Semper Fi Coach of the Year for Minnesota by the Marines in 2015.
Jeff has also been teaching American government for 27 years, making sure our future generations are prepared to participate in our democratic processes. Being a teacher and someone that represents the community, making sure each student gets a non-partisan perspective on government is extremely important to Jeff. He’s seen how each perspective has more in common that can unite instead of divide. If our country is to truly move forward, then teaching all citizens regardless of party affiliation to get civically active and respectfully talk about issues is crucial.
Now, Jeff’s ready to take these lessons to Washington and make sure Congress values, as well as respects the hard work of each Minnesotan in the second congressional district. A place Jeff has called home for the past 20 years.