This morning, Minnesota woke to the news of former Minnesota House Speaker Rod Searle’s passing. For those in the Independence Party who did not have the honor to meet Rod, he epitomized true Minnesota leadership. Throughout Rod’s life, he was actively involved with the local PTA, his church, fraternal organizations as well as many civic and industry associations. Rod was not only widely respected as a government leader, he was a devoted public servant to his community.
From the few times I met Rod, and the many accounts of his activism I’ve read this morning, it is clear that he rose to leadership in many organizations because of a profound respect for all members. That respect was most evident in his term as Speaker of the Minnesota House of Representatives during a deeply divided political time. Rod was the strong leader Minnesota needs more of today, someone who always put the needs and opportunities of his neighbors, colleagues and fellow Minnesotans first.
In February of 2011, Rod and I shared a laugh over his recent “banishment” from the Republican Party for his support of Tom Horner’s gubernatorial bid considering that Rod had been active with the IP since 2006. As Rod put it, “they (the Republican Party) left me long before they kicked me out.”
Rod was a loyal and active delegate for the Independence Party, and the ideals and wisdom he brought to the party benefited many of our candidates and has helped shape our principles on behalf of all Minnesotans. But Rod’s political legacy extended beyond party politics and embodied a responsible vision of not only his congressional district, but the entire state.
Minnesota worked through some very difficult times because of Rod’s leadership, dedication and hard work. Minnesota will be made even better by those people who follow Rod’s example of civil and respectful public service.
Independence Party of Minnesota