Welcome to my personal website/blog, which I started nearly a decade ago — my campaign website (which is still under construction) can be accessed here.
My name is Joshua Preston, and I am running to serve in the Minnesota State House of Representatives in District 60B, which covers the University of Minnesota, Cedar-Riverside, Marcy Homes, and Prospect Park neighborhoods. As you may know, our current state representative, Ilhan Omar, is running for the U.S. Congress, which means that for the first time in nearly half a century there will not be an incumbent on the primary ballot. Because of this, now is the perfect time to come together and discuss the priorities of our shared community and the continued need for progressive, next generation leadership.
Currently, I am a student at the University of Minnesota Law School, where I am studying consumer protection and the intersection of law and science. I am also an infantryman in the Minnesota National Guard and a clerk in the special litigation division of the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office. (I am also a published writer/historian with years of experience within the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party and system-wide university governance).
Here’s the reason why I am running, and why I would like your support: I am not the “typical” law student, let alone candidate for public office. When I was six years old, I lost my father to suicide, and no single event has so shaped the trajectory of my life. My mother — a widow at thirty with two young children to raise — did the best she could for us, but despite this, I saw firsthand the ways trauma, illness, and addiction can affect one’s life. I also saw how a little trouble with the law can impact one’s access to stable housing and employment. But despite these circumstances, I was lucky to grow up in a state that gave me a pathway to a better life.
I grew up in a state that made sure the heat was never turned off in the winter, that provided food for my family when we needed it, and gave me access to a strong public education. Because of this, I was given a solid foundation and a fair shot at life. I am an example of what these public service programs can do to lift people up — an example of how a little compassion and opportunity can go a long way in changing someone’s life.
Here is the big picture as I see it. No pressing issue of public policy can be disentangled from the others — if me and my team of awesome volunteers come knocking on your door in the coming weeks, I’ll be upfront and tell you there is no such thing as an easy answer to society’s problems. We cannot talk about the criminal justice system without talking about race and gender, access to health care (especially mental health care services), public support for public education (both k-12 and higher ed). And frankly, we can’t talk about any of these without also talking about the shortage of affordable housing and low wages. All of these issues are connected, and until we recognize this and address these issues holistically, we are not addressing the real issues but ignoring them.
As a community, we cannot forget that each of us are free insofar as we have opportunities ahead of us—and no one is free who is led along by the chains of prejudice, poverty, or illness. Advocating for a politics of compassion and opportunity means increasing access to health care, funding our schools and relieving the debt burden on students, and reforming our racist criminal justice system. It means doing everything we can to provide the foundation a person needs to make the most of their life—just like it did for me.
Thank you for your support, and I hope to count on your vote in the primary! Early-voting started on June 29, which means you can vote any time between now and August 14. If you would like to vote absentee, you may request your ballot from the Minnesota Secretary of State’s Office here.