Caryn Sullivan: The only way forward

Those who object to the DFL’s vision of a “better Minnesota” must get engaged. We must heed the call to press forward with a fight for freedom. It’s the better way. It’s the only way. 

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at a Turning Point USA event.

Last week, governors, legislators, and other elected officials around the country took an oath to serve their electorates. As I watched Gov. Ron DeSantis launch his second term as governor of the now ruby red state of Florida, I had a good dose of governor envy, for hopes of Minnesota’s elected leadership going red (or staying purple) were shattered last November.

Many Minnesota voters who favor traditional values and a hands-off approach to governance went from feeling we had the wind at our backs to facing a robust headwind. The DFL trifecta, comprised of a Democrat-controlled legislature and Democrat governor, has a lot of momentum and little to stop it — for now.

In his inaugural address, Gov. Tim Walz repeated the campaign slogan that served him well.

“This is our opportunity to truly build one Minnesota and to make our state the best place in the country to live, to work and to raise a family. This is our opportunity. Let’s get to work.”

But we aren’t one Minnesota. The goals, values, and vision of metro-area residents who voted for the status quo, including Walz, are much different than those of voters in other parts of the state. We are two Minnesotas.

Caryn Sullivan/Alpha News

And yet, emboldened by their power, Democrats plan to aggressively advance their agenda — their opportunity — while they can.

What does that look like?

Abortion: Of all the issues facing the state, Democrats made abortion its priority. Last Thursday, a House committee approved the Protect Reproductive Options (PRO) Act, which would guarantee a woman’s right to have an abortion up until the moment of birth.

Marijuana: Legalize marijuana for adults.

Handouts: Offer all students free lunch and parents child-care credits. In other words, make citizens more dependent on government.

Education: Fund education to the tune of an extra $5 billion? That’s the request of the DFL’s largest donor, the teacher’s union.

What doesn’t it look like?

Despite promises of issuing “Walz checks” when he was running for re-election, the governor hasn’t mentioned them lately. He clearly doesn’t plan to return the $17 billion surplus to all taxpayers who contributed to it. To the contrary. The DFL has all sorts of plans to spend it.

Nearly 20,000 Minnesotans headed to red states in the past couple of years. Some suggest the weather is the primary motivator. As one who has contemplated making the move, I’d argue it’s much more about the political climate than the sun or snow. It’s about living in a state where most people share a common philosophy about the role and reach of government.

Despite the appeal of living in a red state, most of us can’t or won’t move. Therefore, those who remain in Minnesota need to use our voices. We need to become advocates.

We need to pay attention to what is happening at the legislature, city councils, school boards, and other governing bodies. We need to ask questions, raise concerns, and remind our legislators that the DFL trifecta hangs onto its majority by a thread.

We need to align ourselves with people with shared values and concerns. It’s already happening. People from around the state are joining forces to share their concerns about education, medical freedom, parental rights, abortion, and more. They’re gaining traction and attention.

DeSantis acknowledged freedom is under attack; that fighting for it isn’t easy. But fight we must.

Florida wasn’t always a ruby red state. Drawn by what they perceived to be a better way of life, Floridians responded to the vision and leadership DeSantis offered.

To Minnesotans who are discouraged, dismayed — even alarmed — by the direction in which our state is moving, DeSantis’ words remind us we need not surrender to a relatively small majority, even if it is a trifecta.

Those who object to the DFL’s vision of a “better Minnesota” must get engaged. We must heed the call to press forward with a fight for freedom. It’s the better way. It’s the only way.

The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not represent an official position of Alpha News. 


Caryn Sullivan

A retired attorney and author of the award-winning memoir, "Bitter or Better: Grappling With Life on the Op-Ed Page," Caryn Sullivan has inspired readers with her thoughtful commentary for the past two decades. To learn more about Caryn’s work or to connect, visit