New business and a run for office
Zac Huntley celebrated his 25th birthday on Tuesday, May 24.
And he did so with a whole lot more than cake and candles.
Making a guest appearance at Blue Earth’s Kiwanis Club, the local businessman not only outlined his new self-run company but also his bid for a seat in the Minnesota House of Representatives.
“We need more young people involved in the community,”?Huntley said.
The 2009 Blue Earth Area graduate is certainly doing his part to fulfill such hopes.
After nearly nine years of managing Zac’s Computer Sales, his own repair and maintenance service, Huntley is serving the area as the owner of Freshly Cut Media, his new business at 120 S. Main St.
After registering as a Democratic-Farmer-Labor candidate April 26, Huntley is also aiming to headline unprecedented change in the state legislature by opposing Rep. Bob Gunther (R.-Fairmont), who has not been defeated since taking office in 1995.
On the side, Huntley devotes time to two churches Hope United Methodist as a singer, and First Presbyterian as a council board member.
For him, it’s all about making a difference.
“If you’re not part of the solution,” he recited, “you’re part of the problem.”Huntley has been part of plenty of solutions. As a self-taught media specialist, he has used Freshly Cut Media to cater to smaller school districts without full-time IT help, offering everything from tech assistance and graphic design to DJ?services.
Freshly Cut Media is merely an extension of work that Huntley said he began as early as high school, too.
Zac’s Computer Sales, founded before Huntley earned a bachelor’s degree in both social work and business administration from the University of Sioux Falls, “basically became Freshly Cut, an LLC,”?in 2015.
Of course, with political plans on the horizon, Huntley’s goal is to overcome hurdles that extend well beyond the tech field.
As he compiles a list of tours and parades for summer campaigning, he wants to shake up District 23A’s representation with an energy that empowers progress.
“It’s time for complacency to leave our House seat,”?Huntley said. “What I?want people to know is that there is someone on the other side of the aisle who will listen to them.”
Huntley’s flexible work schedule allows him to dedicate at least 25 hours per week to campaigning, and for all the commitment that goes into a serious run for office, he still knows the odds are stacked against him, noting that “our district is historically more red than blue.”
But he also believes that taking a stand even one that opposes a longtime incumbent in Gunther is a necessary step for the community.
“I?forgot that he was our representative,”?Huntley said, referencing his competition. “And I’m sick of politicians feeling entitled, that it’s okay?to be seat warmers in St. Paul.”
Relating his passion to the anti-establishment wave of this year’s presidential election season, Huntley also distinguished himself as a citizen with a plan.
“I’m fed up,”?he said, “but I’m focused.”
So focused, in fact, that he has used his repertoire of media and business experience to craft an entire marketing strategy for his campaign. With his mother, Ann, on board to assist as treasurer, Huntley said his workings in local business have shaped him as a “fiscally responsible”?candidate.
“And I’m proud to be from Southern Minnesota,” he said. “Reaching out to people in our district isn’t something that should only happen around election time.”
In his effort to do just that, an effort outlined in detail through a self-made campaign website, Huntley, believe it or not, has at least one other plan to stay busy, too.
Amidst what promises to be a busy summer, he intends to visit Pioj, Colombia, where his wife, Natalie, is serving a stint with the Peace?Corps.
Huntley married Natalie, a former BEA Spanish teacher, in July 2015, knowing that his wife would be heading overseas just six months after their wedding.
“She loved her job at the high school,”?he said, “but we both knew she couldn’t pass that up.”
That just seems to be the Huntley way. If hard work and big hopes are involved, they probably are not far behind.
Fittingly, then, Natalie has also been supportive of Zac’s ambitious workload from afar.
“It’s been a few months since I’ve seen her face in live motion,”?Huntley said, “but she’s staying in touch, and I’m so grateful for the technology of today that makes it possible.”
Speaking of technology, Huntley said he would likely continue investing in himself as a media specialist if his political aspirations don’t immediately come to fruition. So his hands, while still full, might have a little less responsibility.
Until, perhaps, it’s time for his 26th birthday.