A Word of Introduction

Synopsis of what I believe, how I got here, and how I believe I can serve

A Word of Introduction

On Tuesday, December 5th, 2023, the Republican Party of Polk County will be holding a meeting of its Executive Board. This meeting is noteworthy for a number of reasons. On the agenda is the discussion and approval of the newly revised Party Constitution and freshly drafted bylaws. It is also the first Executive Board meeting to be open to all current Party members, not just the members of the Executive Board, as has been the policy in the past. This signals a shift toward encouraging more involvement from, and transparency to the grass roots membership. The revised Constitution and related bylaws establishes clear roles and responsibilities for Board members, and defines a range of standing committees to share the load of what is shaping up to be a very tumultuous election cycle.

Another key topic on the agenda, and the impetus for this newsletter, is for the Board to address the currently vacant Chairman position. Alan Walker, who served as Chairman for some 10 years, chose not to caucus for the position again in early 2023, but rather to successfully caucus for the Vice-Chairman seat. In a surprising turn of events, the newly elected Chairman unexpectedly resigned during his first scheduled Executive Board meeting, leaving Vice-Chairman Alan Walker to fill the role as acting Chairman until the Board addresses the vacancy.

Since my name may be advanced to the Board for consideration as a candidate to fill the Chairman role until the next caucus election, I thought it important to provide some background and history of my previous involvement in St. Croix County for those who don’t know me. As I have stated to the Executive Committee at a previous meeting, I am absolutely willing to serve in that capacity if appointed. Regardless of whether or not that occurs, I will continue to do whatever I can to assist the Party and advance the conservative cause in Polk County.

God doesn’t waste a thing.
- Dr. Douglas G. Frank

How I Got Here

In an extremely complicated and unlikely sequence of events, the hand of God relocated my wife and I from our former home in St. Croix County to a small cattle farm in Polk County in January of 2022. This unplanned move marked the closing of the chapter of my direct involvement in the politics of St. Croix County.

My wife and I relocated to St. Croix County in August of 2015 from Southeastern Wisconsin so I could be closer to the corporate offices of my employer in Stillwater, MN. We waited until our youngest went away to college, then moved to the Town of Warren, just east of Hudson in St. Croix County. The following year, I got involved with the Republican Party St. Croix County, made an unsuccessful run for County Supervisor, and was subsequently appointed as Party treasurer by the Executive Committee. Prior to moving to St. Croix County, I had previously served a term on the school board in the Arrowhead Union district of Stone Bank, during the introduction of Act 10. This, combined with my technical skillset and fairly deep experience in corporate financial analytics made the role a good fit.

I’ve been gifted with the drive and ability to stage and execute events, so in the summer of 2018 we booked Dinesh D’Souza to speak in the park in Hudson. That was the first of many during my tenure with the Party.

Dinesh D’Souza speaking to a crowd of about 1500 in the part in Hudson

With Governor Walker’s stunning loss to Tony Evers the following November, our Party Chairman at the time, an attorney, was appointed to the Circuit Court in St. Croix County as a judge by Scott Walker just before his leaving office. When he stepped down, the Executive Committee unanimously appointed me as Chairman, where I served from late 2018 to early 2021.

A Year to Remember

The 2020 Election year was an absolute whirlwind roller coaster on both a personal and political front. As the election cycle picked up steam, Covid hysteria gripped the nation, and draconian lockdown orders swept the State and Country, attempting to isolate people from one another. It was during this time that we opened a Trump Victory Center in Hudson, and staged some of the largest, most successful events ever.

We had our annual Lincoln Day dinner fundraiser just as the media was starting to hype up Covid fears. I knew it was going to be a busy year based on the energy in the room, and our record Lincoln day fundraising proceeds that year.

St. Croix County Republican Party Chairman John Kraft with Supreme Court Justice Daniel Kelly at the 2020 Lincoln Day Dinner

We opened the Trump Victory Center in Hudson in May of 2020, just as Covid lockdowns began, and one month before the BLM / Antifa George Floyd riots broke out and burned much of Minneapolis. One could stand on the 11th Street bridge over I-94 in Hudson and see the sky glowing orange as Minneapolis burned 26 miles away during the George Floyd riots.

The view from the 11th St Bridge over I-94 in Hudson of Minneapolis burning 26 miles away during the George Floy riots

A Few weeks later, I got a call from the Hudson Police Chief, who said: “Hey John, we’ve got a situation down at your office here, you may want to come down.” I arrived at the Victory Center to see the entire parking lot taped off, and a row of dump trucks loaded with sand forming a barrier in front of a suspicious device left in front of our office door, along with local police, Sheriff’s deputies, ATF agents and firemen on the scene. We waited several hours for the bomb squad to arrive from Wausau to inspect the device with a robot. It turned out to be no threat, and was later determined to be an innocent mistake. The story ran non-stop on Minneapolis TV news, and resulted in hundreds of patriots flocking to the Victory Center that afternoon to show support. We couldn’t have bought that advertising at any price.

Bomb scare at the Victory Center in June of 2020 closed much of downtown Hudson

My way of protesting all the “Defund the Police” rhetoric demonizing law enforcement after the Georg Floyd riots was to organize a “Back the Badge” event featuring former Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke. The goal was to show our Sheriff how much support he had in our County, and raise money to outfit as many squads as possible with cutting edge whole-house fire suppressors. The event was a major success, and we recruited a significant number of new members.

Former Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke speaking to a packed crowd at a “Back the Badge” fundraiser for the Sheriff’s Dept. in Hudson in September 2020.

The final event before the election that I participated in organizing, “Totally Trump 2020”, was the biggest one ever in the history of the County. It was held on the grounds of a construction company in River Falls, and featured a great lineup of speakers including Mike Lindell, and Mick Mulvaney, President Trump’s Chief of Staff, bands and food. A 1200+ Trump vehicle convoy was organized to wind its way through St. Paul and across the river to the event. This was the culminating event just prior to the November 2020 election, and my last campaign related event as Chairman of the St. Croix County Republican Party.

Mike Lindell speaking to a crowd of about 5000 at the Totally Trump 2020 event in River Falls in October

In November 2020, I got involved as a plaintiff in a lawsuit against Gov. Tony Evers to overturn his illegal third emergency declaration. We eventually conjoined it with an original action petitioned to the State Supreme Court, which was successful in liberating the State from Tony Evers’ lockdown orders.

Supreme Court Overturns Evers’ Illegal 3rd Emergency Order

The Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL), on behalf of three Wisconsin residents and taxpayers, filed a lawsuit in Polk County Circuit Court against Governor Tony Evers for violating state law by declaring a second public health emergency on July 30. State law forbids a governor from unilaterally extending a public health emergency beyond 60 days or skirting the law by declaring multiple 60-day emergencies for the same crisis.

— Wisconsin Law and Liberty web site post

After Trumps shocking election loss in November of 2020, I rebranded the Party web site with apparently a bit too much truth, and became the target of a widespread cancellation effort on the part of the National media shortly after the January 6th events at the Capitol. My sin was not backing down, and recruiting too many patriots as members of the Republican Party.

If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.

— Jesus Christ, John 15:18-19 NIV

I chose to resign as Chairman a few weeks later and continued my mission of working to strengthen the Party for the long term. Ultimately, the membership agreed with me, and a significant shift in the Executive Committee was made at the 2021 caucus. Details can be found in a previous post: For Just Such a Time as This.

Post Republican Party

Following my departure from the Republican Party of St. Croix County, I continued organizing and promoting conservative events, mostly in the context of our church, Calvary Assembly of God, in Wilson, WI. I’m a pretty big fan of Dennis Prager, so was pleased to help organize and promote a visit from him to Hudson in March of 2021. This was his first live audience speaking engagement since the beginning of Covid pandemic hysteria, and we apparently made quite an impression on him. He talked about it in quite a bit of detail on his radio show the following day. It’s well worth the listen.

Dennis Prager came and spoke to a full house at White Eagle Golf Club in Hudson in March of 2021

The final event I organized before moving to Polk County and focusing on the development of our homestead, was a day long educational conference with breakout sessions on multiple topics held in Hudson. It was very well attended, and featured almost all of our State and Federal elected officials including Congressman Tom Tiffany and keynote speaker, Senator Ron Johnson.

John Kraft speaking to the audience at CPEC Conference about the fact we are in a cultural civil war with the left

What I Believe

As we head into what is shaping up to be the most contentious election cycle of our lifetime, it’s more important than ever to stay engaged, not give up, and to always remember that it’s our duty to fight the battle, but God’s outcome. We have to recognize that the events unfolding in front of us in this world are a physical manifestation of a spiritual battle, and we need to be prepared for that war in order to have peace.

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

—Ephesians 6:12

Or more simply put, in my own words:

It’s no longer left versus right, Democrat versus Republican, It’s straight up good versus evil.

— John Kraft, Quote from Associated Press syndicated article “No Longer Fringe: Small Town Voters Fear for America” November 2022

True Priorities

It is very clear to me that in order to save our Country, we need to have our priorities straight. It’s critical to remember that it’s not enough to fight political battles simply to reclaim and restore adherence to the Constitution on the part of our elected representatives, but to always remember that our inalienable rights originate with the almighty God.

If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

— 2 Chronicles 7:14

It is in this context that, if asked, I will serve as Chairman of the Republican Party of Polk County. Please feel free to leave your comments, I welcome all feedback, positive or negative.