After being shunned from the Amish community in Harmony, Minnesota, Mary Hershberger, 66, spoke with students about her experiences. She gave the students the home address to Jake Hershberger who was also shunned by the Amish.
As students pulled up to the Jake’s home, colorful chairs were scattered in his front lawn. With no cars in the driveway, the house looked empty. Knocks at the door were left unanswered.
In the bright green grass, students found more vibrant Crayola-colored chairs and tables near a warehouse building next to Jake’s home. The RJ Amish Furniture truck parked next to the building made students believe the initials stood for brothers Jake and Reuben Hershberger.
Entering one of the two furniture stores, the smell of fresh wood breezes through the air. Walking through the 13,000 square-foot showroom, students searched for the brothers throughout the two-story building while discovering hidden treasures such as a long mirror that hides a giant jewelry box inside it.
Cleaning his hands off with a nearby rag, they found him: Reuben Hershberger, 51, takes time out of his day at work to talk with students about his Amish upbringing and thoughts on the election. He voted for Donald Trump after previously voting for Barack Obama.
According to the Amish America website, the Harmony area of Fillmore County is Minnesota’s largest Amish settlement with seven church districts approximately 1,000 people. This Amish community was founded by Swartzentruber Amish from Wayne County, Ohio, who began settling in the Harmony area in 1974.
Reuben grew up Amish but left the community when he was 18. Despite his father being the bishop, Reuben expressed that religion in the Amish community was unappealing. The church is in charge of telling you how to live and what you can and can’t do.
Amish are also required to pray eight times a day, not wear bright clothing, wear hair a certain way and have clothing be a certain length. In the Amish community, the church takes the role of the government.
With a total population of 388 people, the town’s race is 100 percent white, according to the 2014 U.S. Census Bureau. Harmony has a rich Amish community and also has a strong farming community. Reuben said that while finding a job isn’t an issue in Harmony, voting for Trump is voting for more jobs in The United States.
Wearing a beige colored jacket with his name embroidered into it with navy blue thread, Reuben stepped out of his small office that was filled with papers of furniture orders hanging on the walls.
Standing in front of the furniture products that are made by his Amish friends, Reuben told the students that he voted for Obama in 2008. Reuben voted Obama for the change that he promised. After not seeing the change that he wanted, Reuben voted for Romney in 2012.
Living in Fillmore county, which flipped Obama to Trump, Reuben said he and a lot of his friends voted Trump. While Reuben said he has no problem with a woman being president, he has a hard time believing Hillary Clinton would commit to her promises. A trust issue that could be stemmed back to his trust in Obama for change and not seeing any change.
Still wanting to see a change, Reuben voted for Trump because he wanted to see something different since Trump is a businessman. Clinton has seen her time in power already and Reuben does not want to be so dependent on the government.
According to the Twin Cities Pioneer Press website, Minnesota has the fourth-highest premium increase on its individual health insurance market at 59 percent. Minnesota is suffering the most due to its small individual market and large number of sick people.
Reuben is a part of the five percent of the state’s population that this increase applies to as he uses the government program, MinnesotaCare. His premium increased from $300 to a horrific $900 per month.
When asked about Muslims coming into Minnesota, Reuben didn’t seem to mind.
“As long as they abide to the law and pay taxes,” said Reuben.
While Reuben did say that he wants the government to be stricter on letting people into the United States, he isn’t opposed to letting immigrants in. He thinks deporting so many people wouldn’t be a good thing for the country.
“We’re all from different nations, I don’t think we should keep them out,” said Reuben. “If we send them back, who would take their jobs?”
Wearing a fading navy blue hat with a bass fish on it, Reuben was asked about the slogan of “Make America Great Again” on the red Trump hats. He couldn’t think of a specific time when America wasn’t great but thinks inviting people into the country who lead to terrorist problems is what is leading America to not be great.