Mr. Falk Heads to St. Paul
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
By Kevin Moe
Many people felt a personal stake in last fall’s election cycle. For Andrew Falk, ’05 BSB, the feeling was much more literal, as he was the DFL candidate for the Minnesota House of
Representatives’ District 20A seat. “When your name is on the ballot, it puts on a whole other level of realism and stress,” he says, adding that he knocked on more doors and made more phone calls than he can remember. “The process of campaigning and running for office really tests you.”
In the end, Falk defeated Republican challenger Mike Bredeck by 51 percent to 49 percent, making him, at age 25, the second youngest (by two months) current Minnesota State Representative.
Falk, who completed a double major in entrepreneurial management and finance, has been involved politically at the state capital for several years. After graduating from the Carlson School, he returned home to Swift County, Minn., to farm with his father and start a career in renewable energy development. He testified before the state senate about renewable energy in 2006, and has since worked continuously as a citizen advocate focusing on community-owned renewable energy.
In 2007, Falk helped Rep. Aaron Peterson pass into law the state’s renewable energy standard, which is the most aggressive such mandate in the country. He also co-wrote Rep. Peterson’s community-based energy development law as part of the Next Generation Energy Act of 2007, which allows local people and communities to own and reap the benefits of renewable energy projects such as wind turbines.
With Rep. Peterson retiring at the end of his term, Falk stepped into his friend and colleague’s place and secured the DFL endorsement for the District 20A seat. District 20A is a rural part of the southwest portion of the state and contains the counties of Big Stone, Lac qui Parle, Lincoln, Swift, and Yellow Medicine.
Besides his interest in renewable energy, Falk ranks several other areas as top priorities, including infrastructure improvements and education. “Another focus for the state is investing in education and making sure we provide opportunities for our young people, no matter where they are from,” he says. “We need to have a fair and equitable education system.”
Falk gives high praise to his educational background. “The Carlson School taught me that whatever you do, be passionate about it,” he says. “Successful people are passionate about what they’re doing. Go at it with a hunger and keep fighting until you reach your goal.”
His goal last fall, obviously, was getting elected. “Campaigns require a team effort. However, when it gets down to making it happen and making everything come together, it’s your name on the ballot and you’re the first one there and the last one to leave,” he says. “You’re out there knocking on doors and making phone calls.”
Falk’s years at the Carlson School helped out a lot in reaching his goal. “A Carlson education is priceless. I was fortunate to attend this program and establish many great friendships and relationships,” he says. “This school teaches you a lot about the value of networking. I learned that each and every person you interact with can be a potential ally or a person you work with. And the quality of education is definitely first-rate. I’m proud to be an alumnus of the Carlson School.”