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Park Rapids Enterprise - Sen. Coleman Visits Park Rapids on Whirlwind Tour

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Location: Park Rapids, MN

Park Rapids Enterprise - Sen. Coleman Visits Park Rapids on Whirlwind Tour

Jean Ruzicka

Sen. Norm Coleman reminded Park Rapids residents there are changes yet to be made in Washington.

Coleman, arriving at Jackpine Java on Main early Wednesday morning, was on a whirlwind tour of the area, seeking support in the November election.

Meanwhile, outside the coffee shop, a male wearing a smiling George W. Bush mask was greeting those who arrived for the event - satirically.

Sen. Norm Coleman greeted young voter-in-training Lydia Hawn, the 7-month-old arriving with mom Amy and brother Caleb, 4. "Everything I do is in respect for the generation before us," he told the group that gathered Wednesday, underscoring the importance of "passing on the American dream."

The initiative was geared to make people aware of "Senator Coleman's record of supporting the president," explained Kelly Bjorklund, who accompanied the Bush character. "He (Coleman) is advancing the Bush agenda at the expense of the working people of Minnesota."

Supporters of the Republican candidate expressed anger at the demonstration.

Bjorklund explained this was not supported by Coleman's opponent, Al Franken, but is a DFL initiative. The duo was apparently making the rounds with the Coleman faction, which was scheduled to make stops in Detroit Lakes, Wadena, Brainerd and Little Falls.

Coleman told constituents he takes the responsibility of public office seriously. "These are challenging times," he said, noting he's aware politicians are "held accountable."

Coleman said the choice and contrast between himself and Franken "is greater than any other race.

"The voting booth is about the future," he said, having just become acquainted with a young constituent, 7-month-old Lydia Hawn, who gave him a grin of support.

"We need leaders who appeal to a sense of hope," he said.

"People who signed the Declaration of Independence didn't all agree," he said of the nation's forefathers. Some of the issues were divisive.

"But they had the courage to come together as Americans," he said, citing the current energy and health care issues.

"We can't let the falling price of gas undermine our mission to lessen dependence on foreign oil," he stressed. "We have got to make the change by finding alternative energy sources," to create "energy independence."

"I appeal to you as patriots," he said of engaging the country's entrepreneurial spirit. "Hope always overcomes fear. The slightest ray of light overcomes darkness.

"We need to create the right kind of change."

Coleman cited his "respect for the generation before us," including his father and the World War II citizenry, as an impetus in his decision-making.

"We must maintain the fundamental capacity to pass on the American dream."

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