February 24, 2023 at 4:53 p.m.

Unexpected invitation

Molitor attends State of the Union
Hannah Molitor stands with U.S. Rep. Tom Emmer Feb. 7 at Emmer’s office in Washington, D.C. Molitor was there as one of Emmer’s guests for the State of the Union and helps on her family’s dairy farm near Rockville, Minnesota.  PHOTO SUBMITTED
Hannah Molitor stands with U.S. Rep. Tom Emmer Feb. 7 at Emmer’s office in Washington, D.C. Molitor was there as one of Emmer’s guests for the State of the Union and helps on her family’s dairy farm near Rockville, Minnesota. PHOTO SUBMITTED

By Jan Lefebvre- | Comments: 0 | Leave a comment

ROCKVILLE, Minn. – Before Hannah Molitor could accept an invitation to attend the State of the Union Feb. 7 in Washington, D.C., she needed to reschedule with area farmers.

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“I had to do some checking around,” Molitor said. “I had some herds that I was already scheduled to test. I had to call all those guys.”
Molitor is a field representative for Dairy Herd Improvement Association. She also helps at her family’s dairy farm, owned by her dad, Joe Molitor, and uncle, Tom Molitor. They milk 300 Holsteins near Rockville.
On the morning of Feb. 2, Molitor was in her coveralls and barn boots, doing some milk testing in a tiestall barn, when her cell phone rang.
“I received a call from U.S. Rep. Tom Emmer’s office, inviting me to the State of the Union,” Molitor said.
Molitor was expected to depart at 7 a.m. the following Tuesday. She said all of her clients were willing to reschedule their milk tests when they heard about Molitor’s unexpected invitation.
Emmer sponsored the Agriculture Skills Preparation for Industry Recruitment Efforts Act with Sen. Tina Smith, which was introduced this summer. The act would support workforce development in the agricultural sector by establishing a work-based agricultural training program within the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program to fund apprenticeship and internship programs with local farms and agricultural businesses.
Molitor said the bill may be one of the reasons Emmer invited a young person in agriculture to attend the president’s speech. In a press release introducing his State of the Union guests, Emmer mentioned the bill. He also gave high praise to Molitor and his other guest, Blair Anderson, who retired as police chief of St. Cloud.
“Hannah and Blair have both dedicated their lives to service,” Emmer said. “They represent the best of the 6th District.”
As majority whip for the House of Representatives, Emmer was allowed three guests for the State of the Union. Other Congress members could invite only one guest. Besides Molitor and Anderson, Emmer invited his wife, Jacquie.
When Molitor arrived at Emmer’s office Feb. 7, she had the chance to visit with him in a small group.
“Emmer is a big advocate for young farmers, so he was really interested in hearing what is going on,” Molitor said.
After the meeting, Molitor and other guests were invited to attend the Speaker of the House Reception in the speaker’s office.
“That was really cool because I got to meet Kevin McCarthy,” Molitor said. “The reception was fun because I was rubbing shoulders with all of these Congress people and their guests. Being a guest at something like that really leveled the playing field. Everyone was there for a reason, and everyone was interested in what that reason was.”
Molitor said she was impressed with how authentic and down-to-earth everyone seemed there.
When it was time to assemble for the president’s speech, Molitor and other guests gathered in the gallery, located in the upper level of the House of Representatives. From there, they could observe the event.
“Being in the House chamber itself was an honor,” Molitor said. “It’s not anywhere I ever expected to be. To be in the same room with all of the leaders of our nation, it was a really neat experience.”
The gallery’s design allowed for close viewing.
“The House chamber is smaller than one might think,” Molitor said. “Looking down onto the senators and the representatives, you could see their facial expressions. You could definitely see people that you know about.”
Being there allowed her to experience the emotions of the atmosphere.
“You could tell there was energy in the room,” Molitor said. “People were excited to be there.”
Although Molitor enjoyed being in the heart of the political arena, she said it does not make her want to pivot to a career in politics. However, she does see value in knowing one’s representatives in government.
“It does make me realize that your relationship with your elected officials does make an impact,” Molitor said. “For example, being on the Stearns County Farm Bureau Board, we host events on dairy farms called Farm Bureau Friends on the Farm, where we ask local officials to attend, and they meet with farmers for one-on-one conversations. I think events like these are important.”
Right after Molitor received the call from Emmer’s office, she called Dan Glessing, the president of Minnesota Farm Bureau.
“He told me I should do it, to not pass it up,” Molitor said. “I’m so glad I did it.”
Farm Bureau stepped in to help make Molitor’s trip easier. They sent someone to help Molitor navigate Washington D.C. and get to Emmer’s office.
“They were really generous,” Molitor said.
Back in Minnesota, Molitor said she is still processing her experience.
“It was a once in a lifetime opportunity,” Molitor said. “When would I ever get the chance to do something like this again?”


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