I believe that change starts with passionate, organized voices — and leaders who aren’t afraid to seize opportunities for progress. That’s why I’ve spent my career building coalitions and putting in the hard work it takes to drive us all forward. I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished together.

  • As legislative director for the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), I rallied thousands of workers statewide to successfully raise the minimum wage for all workers in Illinois.

  • With the support of our unionized businesses, I wrote and passed legislation that provided healthcare coverage to in-home caregivers.

  • I built and led the coalition of community, labor, and faith organizations that made Illinois the fourth state since 1976 to abolish the death penalty.

  • Along with a diverse group of educators, human rights attorneys, and international community advocates, I managed a $36 million budget as part of the Amnesty International USA Board of Directors.

Convening people to tackle a problem is never easy, but I’m not one to back away from a challenge. I take an empirical approach, building strategies firmly grounded in reality while appreciating that time is always of the essence. We need real solutions that work for real people, and we need them as soon as possible.

  • As executive director of Common Cause Minnesota, I fought alongside advocacy groups to restore the voting rights of ex-felons living in our community.

  • At Common Cause I also worked to pass a measure allowing no-excuse absentee voting in Minnesota.

  • I led a team at the Minnesota Housing Partnership to pass legislation this year that lays the groundwork for badly needed affordable housing throughout the state.  

In the 20 years that I’ve been doing this work, I’ve learned a few key lessons about bringing people together to stir change. The most important one? Listen. Listening to allies — and to opponents — helps us learn, avoid making hurtful assumptions, and forge relationships essential to addressing real, pressing challenges in our community.

When I set out to abolish the death penalty in Illinois, the most significant obstacle was convincing people it was possible. As the leader of that effort, I had to believe more than anybody else. Today, I believe Minneapolis is a world-class city that can innovate progressive policies that work for everyone.  

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© 2016 by  Jeremy for Minneapolis