About my friend Tom Anzelc

My friend State Rep. Tom Anzelc, who I helped get elected as his campaign manager and strategist in 2006 and who, like me, lives out in Balsam Township, has been in the news these last two days. An ex-girlfriend slapped Anzelc with a restraining order full of salacious charges, pretty much the widest gamut of awful things you can imagine. He is in the process of responding to these charges, all of which were presented without evidence, and ultimately these charges will be dismissed. It’s easy for me, a clear political ally and friend of Tom’s, to say this. You may well doubt this statement as a result. But I really don’t care. I used to have political ambitions, a desire to play the game the way you might expect, but those days are long gone. I’m not going to run for office in the foreseeable future, I might never run another campaign and I’m also telling what I know to be the truth. At this point I’m just trying to make sense of the world as a man more of letters than of politics, so much as anyone can ever be free of politics once it’s seeped into the blood.

There will be a protracted legal process to follow in which I and others will describe Tom as a gentleman who did not and would never do these things and the complainant will say otherwise. Ample evidence will be provided showing that Tom is, in fact, innocent of the accusations. I suggest there is more to this story than just a he-said/she-said argument, but rather that the timing of the charges — some 18 months after the ending of this previous relationship during a re-election campaign — is notably suspicious and probably all you need to know about the truth of the matter. The rest will be in the papers. Believe me, it will. And I suppose that’s what I’m getting at. I’m just plain sad that a guy like Tom gets sent up in the court of public opinion as another Iron Range cad when he’s, in fact, a good deal more progressive and deferential to gender relations than 90 percent of the political structure here. Most people who truly know the Iron Range know what I’m talking about: the off-color remarks, subtle chauvinism, and old boys network that come to characterize the aging political structures of such locales. Tom has always been different to me, at least since I’ve known him when we began a friendship that spans two and a half generations of the Iron Range experience. And the forces that win if Tom goes down on false charges, forces that know no political affiliation, are not the forces that bring the Iron Range forward, upward or anywhere close to where it needs to go to survive beyond the next bust, which looms with a Cheshire cat grin on the horizon.

Tom Anzelc and I have talked almost every day since 2006. When the phone rings, my 3-year-old twin boys reflexively say “It’s Tom.” We’ve talked for hundreds of hours, hundreds, mostly about politics, but also sometimes about other things. At no point has Tom ever used a disparaging word about women. At no point has he blared with the “big man” bravado I hear sometimes from others I know. That’s just not Tom. A couple times he’s remarked he should have broken off this past relationship sooner than he did. I think that is now a well established fact. The rest of the facts, including the ultimate truth, will emerge soon enough. You know, we do have more important business ahead — all of us, of all ideologies. I am sticking with my friend Tom Anzelc. The rest of it will be corrected by the long arm of time and history, which will fix us all in our rightful places.


  1. Truer words could not have been said about my father, Tom Anzelc, a kind and gentle man. As the father of 3 daughters and the grandfather of 3 granddaughters and one grandson, he is honored by all of the women in his life, including our mom who is in our hearts, as he treats us as if we walk on water.

    Tracy Nielsen

  2. Thank you for supporting my father – he thinks the world of you. It is so frustrating to see him have to deal with such absurd accusations. As the father of three daughters he has spent his years in public service fighting for womens rights and protection. He raised my sisters and I to believe we could do and be anything and everything. The truth will prevail.

    Erin Anzelc Stepanek

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