‘I don’t believe she represents us at all’
Fischbach challenger speaks at Marshall DFL event
MARSHALL — The campaign season hadn’t kicked into high gear yet, but Democratic congressional candidate Jill Abahsain was already out on the trail over the Fourth of July weekend.
“I just want to get the message out to as many constituents as possible, to vote to keep Minnesota a liberal state,” said Abahsain, a Sauk Centre resident challenging Michelle Fischbach in Minnesota’s Congressional District 7.
On Sunday, Abahsain told area residents she wanted to support Minnesotans on issues ranging from child care to broadband infrastructure. Fischbach hasn’t been doing that, she said.
“I don’t believe she represents us at all,” Abahsain said during a speech in Liberty Park.
Abahsain was one of the candidates present at a “Celebrate America” event organized by the Lyon County DFL at Liberty park on Sunday evening. Democratic candidates at the event included Keith VanOverbeke, who is running for Minnesota state representative in District 15A against Rep. Chris Swedzinski, and Anita Gaul, who is running for Minnesota state senate in District 15, which is currently represented by Sen. Gary Dahms.
Abahsain was born in Minneapolis, and lived in the Middle East with her husband for nearly 30 years. After her husband’s death in 2007, Abahsain worked as an editor and columnist for an English-language newspaper in Egypt. She returned to Minnesota after the Egyptian revolution in 2010 and 2011, she said.
Abahsain also ran against Sen. Torrey Westrom in Minnesota’s state Senate District 12 in 2020.
On Sunday, Abahsain said she wasn’t running for Congress because she wanted to be a politician.
“I feel it’s my duty, and I really want to know what people want,” she said.
Abahsain said she wanted to help support education, housing availability, and health care access in rural Minnesota.
“We have to travel so far to get to clinics now, it’s not funny. We have a 10% higher mortality than the same group in an urban setting, because we don’t get to hospitals for chronic conditions. It’s killing us,” she said.
Abahsain also criticized Fischbach, saying the GOP congresswoman voted against measures that would help Minnesotans, from infrastructure spending to lower prescription drug prices.
“We want quality preschool and child care for every Minnesota child. On this, Fischbach has voted no. We need quality high speed broadband for rural Minnesota for jobs and schools, but Fischbach voted no,” Abahsain told area residents.
Abahsain said “the kicker” was Fischbach’s voting against certifying the 2020 election results.
“I think that’s extremely serious,” she said.
Abahsain urged area residents to protect democracy, privacy rights and women’s rights.
“We must fight back, all of us. We have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I want you to fight with me to keep it,” she said.
Abahsain said there will be challenges in running a campaign in CD7. Before Fischbach was elected, the CD7 seat had been held by Democrat Collin Peterson for 30 years. Without Peterson in the running, there wasn’t the same DFL campaign infrastructure in the district.
“We’re reinventing the wheel here,” Abahsain said. “But the wonderful thing about that is we can be creative.”
Abahsain said she didn’t have the same level of campaign resources Fischbach did.
“But I can go to every county and go meet people,” she said.