By Paige Kieffer
Tonka Bay’s newly elected Councilmember Adam Jennings is putting his name in the race and has officially announced his campaign as a DFL candidate for Minnesota’s Third Congressional District.
Jennings, 41, is new to the political arena, having just started his term as a Tonka Bay City Council member. He launched his campaign after President Donald J. Trump’s administration came into office, and also citing the lack of response from Third District Congressman Erik Paulsen.
“I had no plans on running prior to February,” Jennings said. “It was the Trump Administration that made me want to jump in. I thought he would settle down, but he didn’t seem to understand the scope of his own office. The way he’s handled things made me want to run. I was in mass one day at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Minneapolis and I was listening to the sermon and it inspired me to run.”
Jennings has added his name to the DFL list that also includes businessman Dean Phillips from Deephaven, who’s the former CEO of Phillips Distilling Co. and founder of Talenti Gelato; Brian Santa Maria from Eden Prairie, a former writer for The Onion and a digital advertising professional; and Alicia Donahue from Plymouth who’s a lifelong advocate for those with disabilities, clinical social worker and co-founder of Women’s March Minnesota.
Jennings describes himself as a, “fiscally moderate, socially progressive.” He said that him being a moderate, he’ll be able to represent the vast economic range that occurs across the district.
“There’s a lot of partisan politics in Washington D.C., but what I like about this district is it’s a moderate district,” Jennings said. “I don’t think people are necessarily dedicated to one party. The district has such a huge economic range from blue collared to the highest powered executives in the U.S. What I think I bring to the table is I’ve been in both worlds.”
Jennings grew up in Oklahoma. In high school his family went through a bankruptcy and lost their home and car. “The bankruptcy has made me extremely sensitive to debt and it’s a horrible painful think that still haunts me to this day,” Jennings said.
He then followed his brother to the Twin Cities and attended school part-time at the University of Minnesota where he got his bachelor of arts degree in English literature. To pay for school, Jennings worked full-time at the Twin Cities Ford Motor Company assembly line, building pickup trucks.
While he was still in college, Sept. 11 occurred and Jennings became inspired to serve his country and decided to join the Minnesota Army National Guard. “When Sept. 11 happened I was gung-ho and I really wanted to get involved,” he said.
Jennings wanted to go into the artillery but when he went in for the medical exam, they uncovered that he was color blind, much to his dismay. This limited his options and he was given three choices which included administrative assistant, legal assistant, chaplain’s assistance or finance.
“I thought finance sounded the most interesting so went into that,” he said.
Jennings was active in the National Guard from 2002-2008. In 2003-2004, he was deployed with the 34th Infantry Division for seven months to Kosovo. He worked as a cashier converting service members pay into euros, because the U.S. dollar wasn’t being used due to the local Russian mafia using it for black market dealings.
Jennings was also detailed out to other jobs, including guarding a communications base and a train to keep the peace between different ethnic groups.
When Jennings returned, he graduated from the University of Minnesota and was accepted to the University’s Carlson School of Management where he got his masters of business administration in finance. At the same time, the National Guard promoted him to a lieutenant and he was promoted to a production supervisor at the Ford Motor Company.
Jennings continued to serve as a lieutenant for the 247th Rear-Finance Detachment until 2008.
“My time with the National Guard it was invaluable,” he said. “It taught me a lot about leadership and how to make decisions under pressure. Probably the biggest impact it had on my life was I was able to take those skills and then apply it to the marketplace and opened up doors for me.”
Jennings is married to pediatrician Dr. Megan Jennings and they have two children, Dorothy, 5, and Atticus, 2. They lived in Robbinsdale for many years before moving to Tonka Bay two years ago.
Jennings worked in finance as a principal for Allianz Investment Management and an asset manager for Mortenson, a position that he left recently to focus on the campaign full-time.
Jennings said that one of his best jobs was being a stay-at-home dad for three years taking care of his daughter.
“It was amazing and I would do it all over again,” he said. “Being a dad is amazing. I have a whole new respect for stay-at-home moms, because it’s hard work. For single working moms, I don’t know how they do it? They’re incredible.”
Jennings said he’s ready to take this next step and hopes to represent the district that includes Bloomington, Brooklyn Park, Champlin, Chanhassen, Chaska, Coon Rapids, Corcoran, Dahlgren, Dayton, Deephaven, Excelsior, Eden Prairie, Edina, Greenfield, Greenwood, Independence, Laketown, Long Lake, Loretto, Maple Grove, Maple Plain, Medina, Medicine Lake, Minnetonka, Minnetonka Beach, Minnetrista, Mound, Orono, Osseo, Plymouth, Rogers, Shorewood, Spring Park, St. Bonifacius, Tonka Bay, Victoria, Wayzata and Woodland.
“I know what it means to work hard when there is no safety net and to lie awake wondering how to make ends meet before the next paycheck,” Jennings said. “I also know what it means to move up through a system that rewards hard work and sacrifice. With the current administration, upward mobility and economic freedom are under attack, and our priorities are not being represented in Congress. I’m here to change that.”
For more information, visit jenningsforcongress.com.
Follow Paige Kieffer on Facebook at facebook.com/mnsunsailor.