By Kay Fate, Faribault Daily News
â€œCan you imagine?â€ he asks. â€œAn anti-war GOP candidate who is an immigrant from Somalia, an African-American, too, and Muslim.â€
Wardere describes his candidacy as one that will be â€œdifferent, with fresh ideas and a world class of understanding.â€
He plans to run for U.S. Congress in Minnesotaâ€™s Second District, a seat held by Republican John Kline.
The six years he spent working as a community liaison for former U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman were invaluable, Wardere, 42, said.
â€œOne thing I learned is how the system works, and at what level,â€ he said. â€œYou have to know what Congress can do and what it canâ€™t do. You have to know what your constituents expect from you.â€
His goal is to develop long-term ideas.
â€œThere are things that today may be politically helpful, but in the long run may not help,â€ Wardere said.
His campaign slogan sums it up, he added: Uniting the country and passing peace and prosperity to our children and grandchildren.
â€œIâ€™m running because Iâ€™m very much aware of the challenges the residents of the Second District face every day,â€ he said, â€œand I believe I can do a better job.â€
Wardereâ€™s four priorities for the Second District are to tackle a poverty level that has risen 7 percent in one year; unemployment; the suffering of small businesses; and more benefits for the men and women in uniform, as well as their caregivers.
He is just as determined to make change at the national level.
Heâ€™d like to see GOP Chairman Michael Steele resign.
â€œHe failed miserably to lead our party and explain who the GOP leaders are,â€ Wardere said. â€œHe failed to reach out to Latinos and even African Americans. He must resign.â€
Wardere is hardly alone in his desire to make change within the GOP.
Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, who is considered by some to be the father of the Tea Party movement, faces three opponents in the March Republican primary.
Former GOP presidential candidate John McCain, too, will have a challenger in J.D. Hayworth, a conservative talk radio host.
Closer to home, Kline has yet to formally announce he will seek a fifth term.
Still, said Troy Young, his communications director, â€œCongressman Kline fully intends to run for re-election.â€
DFLer Dan Powers will also seek Klineâ€™s seat, said Mary Breitenstein, Powersâ€™ campaign manager.
She had no comment on Wardereâ€™s decision to run, but believes itâ€™s time for Kline to go.
â€œAs we say, weâ€™re focused like a laser beam on winning the DFL endorsement,â€ Breitenstein said. â€œWe do know that Klineâ€™s been in Congress for a while, and has not been listening to his constituents. Dan wants to listen.â€
Also in the DFL Congressional race is Shelley Madore, a former state representative from District 37A.
â€œI wonâ€™t shy away from criticizing the establishment,â€ Wardere said. â€œI believe our Congress has a constitutional responsibility to oversee federal agencies and must take part in the checks and balances… We need to elect competent Congressmen and women who can understand world issues. Itâ€™s the responsibility of our congressional delegates to understand the world issues and keep America safe.â€
Diversity is power, Wardere said.
â€œWhen we were fighting against Germany and Hitler, what language did we use?â€ he asked. â€œWe used the language of the Native Americans. That worked.â€
Of his 12 national priorities, nearly half of them include passing resolutions to recognize those who work for peace.
â€œAnybody who brings peace, you have to praise,â€ Wardere said. â€œWe must worry about passing insecurity to our children and grandchildren the same way we worry about passing the deficit to them. We must pass them many friends, not many enemies.â€
He would also work on legislation that defines the goal of the war on terror, clarifies the U.S.â€™s position and expedites ending wars.
â€œWashington has sent many conflicting broad and vague messages to the world, and some of them are self-defeating,â€ he said. â€œOur message should be simple and clear: we have been attacked, and we will attack anyone who wants to harm us and we will defend our people, period.â€
So, has Wardere discussed his plans with Coleman, his former boss?
â€œNo,â€ he smiled. â€œThis is my decision. I donâ€™t know what heâ€™d say.â€