As a data reporter for the Washington Post, Christopher Ingraham writes about numbers and what they tell us. This led to him using a data set from the USDA — which focused on physical characteristics of the landscape and climate — and writing an article listing Red Lake County in Minnesota as the worst place to live in the United States. After hearing an earful, the then-Baltimore resident took up an invitation to visit Red Lake County – and fell in love with it. So much so, that he now resides with his family in Red Lake Falls where his wife sits on the City Council.
Ingraham spoke recently at the University of Minnesota Morris, mostly about gerrymandering, but also told the KMRS Community Connection program that a data set is blind to the social things and the people who live in those places. The people of Red Lake were not what he expected, he said.
“You get the sense that people are not being overcome by their problems,” observed Ingraham. “You feel that people are really rising up to meet their problems and they’re coming together in the face of them and really working to make their communities a better place to live. It was not what I expected, and was certainly very, very different from what our lives were in Baltimore and D.C., where we were living and dealing with the high cost of living, long commutes, and not enough space for our kids. So, the visit out here, I kind of fell in love with the place.”
Ingraham details his unusual journey to Minnesota and his first year of adjustment to the Gopher State in his latest book published by HarperCollins, “If You Lived Here, You’d Be Home By Now.” The full interview with Ingraham can be found on our website, kmrskkok.com, under the News tab in the Community Connection section.