Albert Lea woman runs for state senate following conviction for defying the governor’s pandemic orders

Published: Feb. 17, 2022 at 11:22 PM CST
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ALBERT LEA, Minn. (KTTC) – Lisa Hanson who’s known to many as the owner of the Interchange Wine & Coffee Bistro.

She had the business for 8 years in downtown Albert Lea. When Gov. Tim Walz ordered bars and restaurants to close indoor dining during the pandemic, Hanson closed her business. However, the second time Walz ordered businesses to close, Hanson refused. She was fined for the defiance.

After not paying the fine this past December, a jury found her guilty of violating emergency powers and she was sentenced to 90 days.

She was incarcerated on Dec. 9 and was released from the Freeborn County Jail on Feb. 5. She served 60 days in jail for good behavior.

“This is the little one that was actually born in December while I was incarcerated,” said Hanson, while holding her newest granddaughter, named Anaya.

Hanson said Anaya is the first local grandchild’s birth that she’s ever missed because she served time refusing the governor’s rules.

“I said we’re either shutting down permanently because we can’t afford it or we’re opening them fully,” Hanson said. “It was the right thing to do for our freedoms and for our liberties for all Minnesotans.”

KTTC asked her if it was worth it?

“Well you know, ask me in a couple of years from now or maybe six months from now. But I would say absolutely it is worth it. It’s worth it for our constitutional freedoms. If we lose our freedoms and liberties like we are on the verge of losing right now in our state, where is that going to leave us as the people?” Hanson said.

During the pandemic, many others in the community supported her move.

“We’ve been supporting her for quite a while with the stand for liberty,” said Ken Southwick, a supporter.

It’s now motivated her to become an elected leader:

“As your senator, I will boldly advocate to restore the rule of law. And to return our government to the people. Where it rightfully belongs,” she said.

“She is fighting for liberties and freedoms and that really doesn’t know boundaries,” said Keith Haskell, Hanson’s campaign manager.

Hanson and her team had to close her business and vacate the building by Jan 1. However, she is considering opening a new spot in the future.

“I’ve often thought that if we open a restaurant maybe we’ll call it a Constitutional Cafe or Common Law Cafe,” she said.

She hopes her actions show her commitment to the rights of Minnesotans.

“I’ve become a political prisoner because I made a statement. That’s the sacrifice that was required at least at this point. If it’s required a second time I will go to jail a second time,” she said.

Now, Hanson is focused on her campaign and making up for lost time with her family.

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