It’s been a dysfunctional few months in Washington D.C. and at our own State Capitol. In times like these, it is important to remember how much power we have at the local level to shape policies that proactively improve our city, its communities, and our shared future. Unfortunately, our ability to lead on those issues is under threat -- and we need vocal city leaders willing to stand up for local control.
During this year’s legislative session, many state lawmakers fought hard to pass bills that would block Minneapolis from enacting ordinances that reflect its residents’ progressive values. Legislators most notably took aim at the city’s plan to take better care of Minneapolis workers, by increasing the minimum wage and ensuring fair and equitable working conditions that particularly protect low-wage workers. These are policies we need, and that Minneapolitans want. And when state lawmakers try to stop them, we need our city’s leaders to call them out.
Though Gov. Dayton vetoed bills that would have effectively dismantled Minneapolis’ ongoing work to increase its minimum wage to $15 an hour and beef up sick and safe time benefits, local control did take a hit at the Capitol. Legislators from outside Minneapolis, targeting our progressive policies, managed to pass legislation that blocks our city from implementing a plastic bag ban that was set to take effect this month. This is an unsustainable choice, and one that deprives our communities of seeing their values reflected in city policy. Losing local control is a disaster for democracy.
As part of the City Council, I promise to fight loudly and proudly against any measures that threaten Minneapolis’ ability to lead on important issues, including workers’ rights and sustainability. Having spent much of my career shaping policy, I understand the factors at play. In fact, as Policy Director of the Minnesota Housing Partnership, I spent the contentious 2017 session advocating for affordable housing across the state. I believe in standing up for all people, even when it’s a political challenge. I promise to continue to take on this fight proudly -- at the State Capitol, in City Hall, wherever.
It’s critical that Minneapolis affirms its status as a progressive leader, and resists harmful policies enacted at the state and federal levels -- and that work demands our vigilance. Our city needs to be ready to defend against these misguided policy plays. I’m prepared and eager to stand up for our communities, to lead that charge.