The Reporters

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Ethan Davenport: Paul was a real person and not a big showy man who would walk around and say things that were not going to happen…I was especially interested in the interview I did with Mark Anderson for the chapter about mental health legislation…Before Wellstone’s legislation, mental health disorders were still not talked about much because it made people feel uncomfortable. Now it is easier for people to talk about it.

Avinash Patel: What I recall most deeply was from Mark Wellstone’s interview. How he talked about Paul and Sheila not letting their place in politics, and the responsibility that came with it, get in the way of their family time. Side by side they would forget about politics at least one day of every week and dedicate that day to their family…Paul amazes me further with the fact that he treated regular people with so much respect – like being friends with the elevator man. I always thought of politics as high and mighty people looking down on others with haughty expressions — until now.

Siena Milbauer: Paul and Sheila Wellstone were ordinary people, but their actions and — ironically — their normality in the spotlight made them extraordinary… One aspect of our research that I was really affected by was our interview of Connie Lewis. Her description of Sheila’s passion and courage throughout her work against domestic violence really touched me, as did her stories of Paul’s love of speaking with students and young adults.

Sophia Morrissette: I learned that Paul was a committed, energetic spirit who fought for change and didn’t let obstacles block his way. No one thought a college professor could become a senator. I admire the way Paul and his young team won his election. I admire that he stood up for what he believed in, even if it meant he might not get as many votes… Sheila inspires me for being able to step out of the shadows and turn into this strong-hearted woman who changed thousands of lives in her work against domestic violence.

Maya Knudson: Before this project began, I had learned about the plane crash and attended a memorial service when I was young, but that was all that I knew about Paul and Sheila. One thing that changed for me because of this book was learning to recognize the Wellstones because of the work they did and the change they made — not because of the tragic accident they were involved in.​

Xavier Mansfield: Paul had a perfect balance of staying true to what he believed and reaching consensus with others. If everyone in politics had a balance like that, well that would be perfect. However, we do not live in a perfect world, so we must each do our part to live how Paul lived and do our part to Be the Change.

Ora Battle: The interview with Mark Wellstone was my favorite. In that short amount of time, everyone in the room went through a rollercoaster of emotions. There were times when we would all be laughing, and times when we all would be really sad, because no one felt the loss of Paul and Sheila like their son. Mark was raised with their values, and in talking with him, we really understood what that meant.​